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  • Writer's pictureLissa Farrington

"WaterWise" Landscapes

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

First of all lets just get rid of "xeriscape". It sounds too much like zeroscape, which must be why some landscapers are getting rid of all the plants and replacing them with rocks. Rocks don't grow, they don't feed the birds, fix carbon, nourish the soil, radiate cool, moist air, and bloom flowers. Not to hate on rocks too much but they are... hot!

So how do you move towards a landscape that is still green, attractive, interesting, and sustainable? How do you use plants in combination with sandstone moss rocks to recreate the beauty you see out on the trail? You team up with native and adapted plants!

Ever hear the saying "right tree, right place". The idea is there is no such things as a wrong tree, just uninformed people. By understanding our native plants and plants from similar areas across the world we can harness their natural strengths like; drought tolerance, tolerance to our alkaline soils, hardiness to our harsh winters, and some resistance to pests and diseases.

Did you know that some of our native plants can actually change the pH of the soil directly surrounding their roots? This area, millimeters wide, is called the rhizosphere. It will get inundated with hydrogen atoms, lowering the pH of the otherwise very alkaline soils. They do this to dislodge cationic molecules that are glued to the parent soil due to their polar charge.

Plants that aren't adapted to our alkaline soils can't do this. That is why some trees become yellow or "chlorotic". They can't extract the molecules in the soil necessary to make chlorophyll. They look yellow because they are not properly harnessing the suns radiation.

Adapted species from other regions of the world such as South Africa may also work well here. They may be use to similar soils and similar climates. They also have the advantage of being resistant to our native pests and diseases. Less of their energy is being used for defense, making them very successful in our environment. As we know, sometimes they are too successful. That's why organizations like "Rocky Mountain Plant Select" thoroughly vet all their plants to make sure they do not escape the garden.

Team up with a professional at Legacy Tree Solution and we will assess your planting site to understand soil type, drainage, exposure, winds, vistas, and your dreams. We will find plants that fit your sites' specific needs.

We are passionate about nature. We want to bring the magic of the natural world to your home. The good news is native plants are also the best thing you can do for wildlife, birds, pollinators, and beneficial insects! You will give them food they can eat, pollen they can drink, shelter they recognize. We call this "urban ecosystems". An ecosystem that is in balance will have less issues with pests and diseases. Plants that accommodate each stage in an insects life will keep that insect around.

It is commonly understood that lady bugs (they are actually beetles not bugs) are good to have in the garden because they fend off other pests. It is actually their larvae that are the most predatory. Pollen is an important food source for adult lady beetles. Keep the good guys (and ladies) around by giving them the food they need in each phase of their small lives.

Getting back to the rocks. They are what make the desert so special. They are an art piece unto themselves.

So, harness the magic of our native plants and our local sandstone rocks to bring beauty and wildlife to your home.

If you would like to have Legacy Tree Solution design or consult on your landscape please reach out by clicking on our contact tab or email Roman at

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