Go For The Green: Water-Wise Ways To Bring Lush Color To The Xeriscape Landscape Of Your Luxury Retirement Complex

If you were developing a high-end retirement community a few short years ago, the landscaping specifications were likely to include vast swaths of green lawn, bountiful beds of colorful annuals bordering the grassy areas, and delicate, leafy trees accenting the whole scene. And it took a lot of water and a lot of maintenance to keep the grass green and the flowers perky. Today, the grounds of a retirement complex are more likely to be designed for water conservation. Sustainable landscaping has become popular, but complaints may be heard about the lack of vibrant color and spaces to relax in grassy shade. Your challenge as a developer is to provide residents with surroundings that don't look like a desert, but that still emphasize sustainability and stewardship of the land. With modern xeriscaping techniques, your landscape designer can create a layout with abundant color, opulent textures, and sumptuous seating areas – all while eliminating wasted water use.

Grassy Green Zones and Alternative Ground Covers

Amateur attempts at xeriscaping call for ripping up all the lawns and replacing them with mulch, sand or pebbles. While this approach certainly eliminates the need to water the grounds, they are not visually attractive or welcoming. But professionally done xeriscape design includes zones of green. Work with your contractors to develop these zones in the areas where your luxury apartment residents can enjoy them most. Small areas of turf by building entrances and grassy spots where folks can relax near the clubhouse, pool and other outdoor amenities don't need to be huge. But they should be planted and maintained with sustainability in mind.

  • Select grass varieties that are drought tolerant in your property's climate. Kentucky Bluegrass, for example, thrives in cooler regions and Zoysia grass does best in warmer areas.
  • Water the grassy areas deeply once or twice a week instead of daily for a few minutes. This allows the roots to grow deep into the soil where water is retained.
  • Set the timer on your spinkler system for the early morning hours when the water will soak into the ground instead of evaporating.
  • Plant pretty, low-growing ground-covers instead of grass for low traffic areas where a splash of green adds depth and texture to the view. Creeping thyme is one option that stays green throughout the year in many regions, and it has the bonus of tiny purple flowers when it blooms.

Drought-Tolerant Plants That Aren't Cactus

To some, the word xeriscape conjures up visions of cactus, succulents and desert vistas with muted colors. That isn't the case when a professional contractor accents the landscape with beautiful flowering perennials and green plants that require low amounts of water to thrive. The residents of your luxury apartments will be charmed by the likes of the following plants: 

  • Echinacea and rudbekia, more commonly known as coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans, are beloved for the variety of colors ranging from purple and pink to orange and creamy white.
  • Junipers. Low-growing, spreading varieties and upright shrub and tree varieties provide evergreen beauty year round and need very little water once they are established.
  • Maple trees: Several varieties, such as the Tartarian maple, withstand heat and dry weather conditions. Their brilliant autumn colors add festive flair to the grounds as the sun sets earlier and the temperatures drop.

Arbors and Pergolas

These overhead structures provide shade for your residents. Typically topped with wood lattice or slats, they can also serve as supports for hardy climbing vines that add foliage, flowers and fragrance to your property's xeriscape landscape. When you add benches and comfortable seating under arbors and pergolas, you create spaces where residents can relax, chat or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery.

For more information and help with designing your xeriscaping, contact a professional xeriscape landscaping company, such as Bourget Bros Building Materials