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More communities are realizing that Xeriscape (low water use landscaping) makes sense, and are actively promoting it.

low water use xeriscape

photo of a converted xeriscape that was previously a lawn area

The City of Aurora, Colorado and Aurora Water have been pioneers in water conservation through supporting regionally appropriate landscape design.  Outdoor Design Group has been actively involved with the program for the last couple of years.  For 2010, the Xeriscape Rebate program has been allocated $250,000 dollars for rebates to convert high water use landscapes (sod, turf, or lawn) to Xeriscape.

In past posts on this blog, I have documented the money and water savings and given examples of the beauty of these landscapes.  Each site is different, but in general you can expect a reduction in irrigation water use of 30-70%, and a 20-40% reduction of landscape maintenance costs.  This is a great opportunity for HOA’s, commercial properties, and homeowners to achieve long-term savings, in addition to acquiring the rebates.

Here are some key aspects of the 2010 program, from Aurora Water’s website:

  • Xeriscape is a great landscape option for our climate because of its reduced watering needs and ability to tolerate periods of drought.
  • In addition to decreased water consumption and resilience to drought, Xeriscape has the potential to significantly decrease time and resources expended on maintenance.
  • Aurora Water customers interested in Xeriscape as a landscape alternative may be eligible for a rebate of up to $1 per square foot for turf grass that is replaced with low water use plant material.
  • $250,000 has been allocated for the 2010 season. The maximum square footage (rebate) is $10,000 for residential and $25,000 for commercial and large properties such as Homeowner’s Associations and multi-family dwellings.

For commercial and large properties such as home owners associations- the program requires that you haver a plan prepared by a licensed landscape architect.  This is a good idea anyway, as a landscape architect can help you prepare a budget and phasing for the project before you commit to a contractor to do the installation.  Landscape architects are also good at communicating what the new landscape will look like- through the use of plans, photos, drawings, and presentations.

Aurora is an ideal community for a rebate program like this, because there are many older landscapes were built in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, and are ready for a renovation simply to update the look of outdated properties.  Although most new landscape codes mandate low water use landscaping, that was not the case in the past-  many older landscapes were designed in a way that requires large amounts of water and maintenance.

But Aurora is far from alone in offering this type of program.  Water supplies are stretched extremely thin throughout most of the Western United States.  A simple Google search for “Xeriscape rebate” brings up 26,400 results.  Similar programs exist throughout Colorado, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and elsewhere.

This is the official blog of Outdoor Design Group, Colorado Landscape Architects.  For more information about our business and our services, click here.

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