Cost Comparison – Xeriscaping

In this post we take a look at a cost comparison between xeriscaping and artificial turf.  Many homeowners and businesses in drought stricken areas are considering installing one of the two options.  Ultimately cost will be the make or break metric on which direction consumers want to take.

The cost of xeriscaping depends entirely on the vision you and your designer come up with, and doesn’t need to cost any more than a traditional landscape if you don’t want it to. In general, the elements that drive up the cost of a xeriscape are the same elements that drive up the cost of any other style of landscaping.

Elements that affect cost:

  • More hardscape.
    Anything made of stone, pavers, or concrete will cost more. Hard surfaces take very little maintenance in comparison to lawn or plantings, so you’ll save on time and water in the end.
  • Less lawn.
    A landscape with less lawn will be more expensive to start with because lawn is cheap to install. However, he points out that the ongoing costs for lawn are much higher. “Look at the cost for irrigating a lawn, mowing, fertilizing – all of that maintenance never ends. Planting beds take a smaller amount of maintenance, and that type of gardening is much more fun.
  • Drip irrigation.
    A drip irrigation system, as is used to establish a xeriscape and help the plants through the hottest days of summer, is either the same price or less money to install than a sprinkler system for lawn. It’s also cheaper to run over time, because it provides water exactly where the plants need it, with no waste.
  • Larger plants.
    Plants in a 5-gallon pot can cost 3 to 5 times more than a plant in a 1-gallon pot, and the cost goes up exponentially from there. Plants which started in a larger pot also cost more to plant and establish, since you’ll need to dig a bigger hole and provide more water during those critical first years.
  • Rainwater harvesting.
    Many people choose to collect seasonal rainfall, and use rain barrels or tanks to store it so this free water can be used throughout the growing season. The initial cost varies from less than $100 for a tiny DIY solution, to $8000 or more for large, professionally installed underground storage tanks that are hooked into your drip irrigation system.

To spend or not to spend?

In a sea of landscaping decisions, how do you know what’s worth spending money on and which splurges you should skip? These are personal decisions and will be guided both by your budget and by how you plan to use the space, however some areas of the landscape will give you more bang for your buck than others.

When you’re using less lawn, it becomes even more important to provide a place for you and your family to relax and spend time together. Even if your budget only stretches to a small stamped concrete or crushed gravel patio and pathway, this is absolutely a place to spend because you’ll notice and reap the benefits of the space every day during good weather.

Less lawn.
Using less lawn may cost more in upfront installation costs, but you’ll save money every day on water, fertilizer, gasoline and lawn care services. In addition, many municipalities actually provide a rebate for every square foot of lawn you remove, which reduces the sting of that upfront cost. The verdict? Get rid of as much as you can.  If you prefer the green open space consider b,ending artificial turf with your xeriscaping plans.

Drip irrigation.
Drip system a must for developing the deep root systems that will eventually allow your plants to fend for themselves. Drip systems are more water-efficient than hand watering, too. When hand watering, there’s a lot of runoff and waste, but a drip system delivers the exact amount of water in the exact right spot.

Larger plants.
For plants that grow taller than 5 feet at maturity, starting with larger specimens is worth it so you don’t have to wait 10 years for your landscaping to start taking shape. However, for groundcovers, perennial flowers, and small shrubs, buying larger specimens is usually a waste of money.