El Paso gardening services
Gardening in El Paso, TX
El Paso, Texas is in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. From the beautiful Franklin Mountains to the Upper and Lower Valleys near the Rio Grande, the desert landscape is full of beautiful vegetation that responds amazingly to the littlest amount of rain. While local watering restrictions would seem to limit the options for having a vibrant, colorful garden, with the help of local lawn and garden experts, El Pasoans can have lush gardens that are still drought resistant.
Native Plants to Create Colorful Xeriscapes
You might be asking yourself, 'how can I have trees and a pretty garden when my new home construction means I must use mostly xeriscaping and plant native plants'? You probably don't want a yard full of only rocks and cactus. Native plants will be your best option to have the garden you will love.
One significant advantage to using native plants and trees, especially in desert areas, is that they are so used to being water-deprived that any extra water they receive, above annual rainfall, can make them more vibrant than normal. For example, honey mesquite trees are usually short in the wild. However, when planted in a maintained yard and only watered according to city schedule, that same tree grows tall and can develop a wide shade canopy.
If flowering plants are more what you are looking for, consider desert verbena, desert marigolds, and Mexican gold poppies. In addition to beautiful flowers with little water, plants like marigolds keep down mosquito populations. Again, like native trees, these flowers are used to being thirsty, so any additional water over helps them thrive.
Lastly, we want to look at adding native shrubs to your xeriscape plans. Shrubs like turpentine bush and Russian sage, planted together, would complement each other nicely. With the purple of the Russian sage and the yellow of the turpentine bush, your garden would be an explosion of color.
For the Grass Lover
Grass is not off-limits in El Paso, but, as with trees and flowers, you want to choose a grass that is drought resistant and will thrive with minimal watering. Again, you will want to call on local lawn and garden experts to help you with choosing the right grass to plant and maintaining the quality of the lawn.
Warm-season grasses, like Buffalo Grass, can stand up to the lack of water and extreme temperatures that are common in the Chihuahuan Desert. Summers can be blistering in June with many days reaching highs over 100 degrees and nights dipping down to the high seventies. Winters can bring wind or snow, and freezing temperatures are very common. Buffalo grass is hearty, drought-resistant and pleasing to the eye with minimal watering.
Plants as Ornaments
All gardens that are pleasing to the eye start with a design plan. It is no different with xeriscapes. With the help of a local lawn and garden care expert, adding ornamental plants can bring a unique flair to create a lovely garden sanctuary. As stated before, native plants will be critical to a thriving ornamental garden.
This is the perfect opportunity to bring in well-placed cacti such as Century plants and Spanish Bayonets. The distinctive look of these cacti means that a little goes a long way. When placed as part of a purposeful design, using cactus in a limited manner prevents the garden from looking like an untamed stretch of desert.
Ornamental grasses, such as deer grass and bamboo muhly, also make a great filler for those areas in the design where you might need a lot of coverage but want a cohesive look. These grasses mature quickly given the appearance of lushness early on.
El Paso is Called the Sun City for a Reason
One of the most important native elements to consider when gardening in El Paso is the sun. The sun shines almost every day with a conservative estimate of around 84% sunshine yearly. That amount of sun needs to be considered in every phase of gardening, along with how the sun travels across your property. Let's look at summer and winter sun issues and what kind of effect they can have on the success of your garden.
The summer sun is intense in the El Paso area. While summer officially starts on June 21 and ends in late September, extreme heat in El Paso routinely begins in May and last through mid-October. While every month sees a bit of rain, June to August are considered monsoon season. With just the slightest rain, the desert comes alive as the vegetation wakes up. The average high temperatures are in the 90's. Yards that are exposed to direct sun during summer will need to be planted with the heat and sun in mind. Local lawn service experts can advise you which plants thrive in those areas and which to avoid.
A common phrase around El Paso as October progresses is, "it feels so fresh," meaning we no longer need potholders to open car doors. Fall is very mild in El Paso, and extreme winter weather is uncommon. It does snow (average around 3 inches per year), but blizzards are almost non-existent. Winters are considered mild. This is the time, though, with the broadest fluctuation of temperatures per day with average highs in the 70's and lows in the '30s and '40s. Many evergreen plants, such as Aleppo pines and one-seeded junipers, do very well in the area, so it is possible to have year-round green in your xeriscape.
Keys to Beautiful Sun City Xeriscaping
The word xeriscaping can bring images of a yard covered with colored rock and plants encased in concrete. El Paso and surrounding areas have proven that not to be the case. Xeriscaping can be lush, colorful, and water-smart.
If you remember to:
- Plan carefully from the beginning
- Seek expert local lawn and garden care advice
- Plant native trees, flowers and grasses
- Honor the sun exposure patterns in your yard
Then you should be able to have the garden you love. Happy gardening, everyone!