Before Xeriscape

Are you ready to remove your lawn and create a desert-friendly landscape but worried about the cost? Below are cost-savings tips for transforming your yard.

Plant price tags: For homeowners wanting to transform their yards, it’s easy to feel sticker shock when adding up the cost of buying new plants. Keep in mind that the plants you buy from nurseries started as seedlings and have been nurtured for years before they are ready to sell. Most trees have been growing for 10 years before reaching stores. And remember that these same plants will enhance your yard for decades to come. To save money, buy plants in smaller pot sizes. For example, instead of buying a 5-gallon plant, buy a 1-gallon or 4” pot. Instead of buying a 2” caliper tree, buy a 24” box tree or a 15-gallon tree. Reducing the size of the plant you purchase will save money.

Irrigation woes: Fear of the unknown cost is what usually worries homeowners about installing an irrigation system. No need to worry if you are transitioning from a grass lawn with spray irrigation to drip irrigation when you already have valves in the ground. We recommend spending the money to hire a local irrigation professional to check your valves and convert your valve from spray to drip. Once you’ve done that you can save money by installing the drip polyline yourself.

Mulch madness: Choose organic shredded wood chip mulch over gravel to save money, enrich the health of your soil, eliminate weeds and greatly reduce maintenance. Shredded wood chip mulch can be up to $1 a square foot less expensive than installing gravel. Tree maintenance companies, like Baca’s Trees on Edith Blvd NE, offer mulch free to the local community. You can also visit the East Mountain Transfer station to buy inexpensive loads of mixed-sized organic mulch. This material is perfect to put over bare dirt areas of your yard that need to be covered to eliminate weed growth.

Materials stockpiled: Think outside the box and get creative when sourcing materials so you can save money and resources. Check out re-stores, thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and even your neighbors, who are a valuable resource. They may have landscaping materials available for free or at a small cost. Your neighbors’ properties may have stockpiles of materials sitting around that may not be useful to them but could be put to great use in your yard. When in doubt, ask for what you are looking for. Pop onto your neighborhood’s text thread, knock on doors or even utilize the app Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Water Authority’s Rebates: Did you know you get $2.00 back for every square foot of lawn you convert? Water Authority residential customers who convert their landscapes to desert-friendly xeriscapes and use drip irrigation can qualify for a $2.00 per square foot rebate. The rebate area of your new landscape must have 50 percent coverage (at maturity) of qualifying low to medium water use plants, and the soil between and beneath all plants must be covered with at least three inches of mulch (organic mulch, gravel, etc.). If you are interested in participating in the Desert Friendly Xeriscape Conversion Rebate, be sure you don’t start your turf removal project until you have applied online to the program and received an official notice to proceed. Several conditions must be met in order to qualify for the desert-friendly xeriscape rebate.

Learn more here:

How to convert your existing spray irrigation system to drip!

Yes, you can afford an irrigation system

Best Practices for Watering with a Drip Irrigation System

Types of Mulches

Mulch Myths

Plant Nurseries in Albuquerque

Author:  Jill Brown, ASLA. Landscape Architect and Owner of My Landscape Coach  Have a question about the article?