Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Drought Tolerant Landscapes, Austin

What Is A Low Water Landscape?

Xeriscape is a word that’s become quite popular but it is widely misunderstood as a rock and cactus solution like this…

Xeriscape by definition means low water plants, which means you use what grows naturally in your hardiness zone, for the sun you have in the environment that is sustainable.

So, by definition, this is also xeriscape…


With this in mind, we need to explore the use, needs and maintenance of a fully landscaped space versus rock and space planting. Rock increases heat, and we already know Central Texas is hot enough. River rock and gravel are also prone to weeds but it doesn’t require water, so rock should be used with intention and functionality.

Rock Versus Mulch

By using rock for drainage, paths and borders, we define the space, eat up lawn and create a cohesive design with purpose. 

Another great use of rock is for a color pop against the grass, bed and alongside native and adapted plants. Always use plastic lined landscape fabric beneath rock but never use it in your beds. 

Xeriscape is the creation of a low water garden with rock, mulch, drought tolerant plants in a low maintenance layouts.


Above and below are meditation spaces and the balance of hardscapes such as rock, stone, wood and plants warm the space and create intention.

Another approach to low water gardening is native and adapted plants in soil and mulch, and while cooler and less weed issues than rock, it has to be reapplied each season. 



It Really Comes Down To Plant Choice

Ultimately, a low water garden comes down to plant selection. Study the sunlight your whole space gets and find native and adapted plants for shade, sun or both when necessary. Below are some of the many options you have besides cactus. 

Make a Plan
Fact is, there are books, websites and nurseries you can find to do homework on the plants that work best for you. However, an educational Landscape Consultation could be a great fit for you if you’d like to have help with selections. 

If you’re planning a low water, xerophytic garden in the Central Texas or hardiness zone 8 planting area, stay with zone 8 plants and trees for their wildlife, low maintenance and non invasive features. 

If you need help narrowing down your choices, contact me for a landscape consultation or design.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape and Design 

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    I wanted to like this, but don’t want an account. Please post more often!

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