Outdoor Water Use




Nationally, outdoor water use accounts for 30 percent of household use yet can be much higher in drier parts of the country and in more water-intensive landscapes. For example, the arid West has some of the highest per capita residential water use because of landscape irrigation.

The term “Xeriscape” was coined by Denver Water in 1981 to help organize and promote the concepts of water-efficient landscaping. Denver Water combined the word “landscape” with the Greek word “xeros,” which means dry. “Xeriscaping” has been widely accepted throughout our region for creating beautiful water- efficient gardens and landscapes. The Xeriscape concept is based on seven principles.

  • Seven Principles: Plan and design; soil amendment; efficient irrigation; mulch; plant zones; alternative turf grasses and maintenance. More information is available at www.denverwater.org, www.northernwater.org and other sites that offer education about gardening and landscaping in our climate.
  • Plant Select: PlantSelect™ is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and professional horticulturists. Visit their website www.plantselect.org to learn more about the broad selection of grasses, vines, shrubs and trees developed specifically to thrive in the high plains, intermountain west.
  • Demonstration Gardens: visit demonstration gardens to learn more about xeriscaping and low water-use landscapes, including www.northernwater.org and www.botanicgardens.org.