The Albuquerque metro area has a wide variety of landscape types, which include desert-friendly landscapes, lush pollinator-friendly xeriscapes and wildscapes or prairie plantings where native grasses and wildflowers bring the feel of a prairie to a yard. Rain gardens are specifically designed to make the most of natural precipitation, while edible landscapes have garden beds or edible plants interspersed throughout them. Efficient turfscapes have smaller areas of turfgrass and diverse plantings. Conventional turfscapes, with large areas of cool-season grasses and high-water foundation shrub plantings, are no longer considered desert-friendly landscapes. The term “desert-friendly” now describes a variety of landscapes that include beautiful, diverse plantings with increased resiliency achieved through efficient watering.
Rain gardens, a subset of xeriscapes, maximize the benefits of active and passive rainwater harvesting. Plant choices become more critical, particularly if the intent is to use little supplemental irrigation.
Pro Tips for Rain Gardens:
* Direct any overflow from a rain barrel or cistern into a passive water harvesting system.
* Prioritize trees for passive rainwater harvesting.
* Choose low-water and rainwater-only plants for the best results.
* Contour the soil to create gentle berms that drain better. Put water-loving plants in the low spots (swales) where rainwater and irrigation water collect.
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