Gardens in our high desert can be truly beautiful without using much water, as can be seen in the photo above. Many native plants can grow with minimal water in our landscaping, where they provide texture and color throughout the seasons.
Xeriscaping is landscaping designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for areas where water conservation is practiced. Derived from the Greek xeros meaning "dry," the term xeriscape means literally "dry landscape."
There are a number of organizations that can provide information on xeriscaping, including the Community Garden group (with cactus garden), Master Gardeners in the Eldorado area, our local garden stores, landscaping consultants, and conservation groups. Vista Grande Public Library has a collection of books and other materials that will help in landscaping and gardening practices that are water-wise.
Below are some links to the many online sites for information on water-wise gardening.
Low Water Use Plants for the Santa Fe Area
Recommended list of drought tolerant plants with introduction by Tracy Neal.
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority
Tips on xeriscaping for a desert-friendly yard
"The voice of the Colorado Water Conservation Community" including tips water-conserving landscapes.
The Enchanted Xeriscape
Downloadable brochure from the NM Office of the State Engineer: a guide to water-wise landscaping in New Mexico.
NMSU Xeriscaping Programs
Information on the xeriscaping research and demonstration gardens of New Mexico State University
Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners
Gardening tips and local contacts for the Santa Fe area
Xeriscape Council of New Mexico
Information on the Council's activities, including its annual Water Conservation Conference, with references to further information on water-wise landscaping
Xeriscaping Interactive Plant List
Descriptive information on low- to medium- water use plants, from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (beginning on Page 41)