In Alberta, when we hear about "Green Buildings Design", we think about how great it is to help the environment. In the same breath, we wonder about our furnace, insulation and energy bills. Well, maybe we think about our energy bills first.

Recently, I took a course on Green Building Design. One section of the course talks about the relationship of the building structure and the design of the surrounding property.

Until I took the course, I had never heard of the word "xeriscape". The word xeriscape is a portmanteau of xeros (Greek for "dry") and landscape. A Xeriscaper designs a property in a way that minimizes the use of water.

The first thing I thought of was my friend's hippie parent's back yard; river stones, cacti and not a lawnmower in sight. (It was a cool back yard but we couldn't play hockey)

I learned it doesn't have to be this way. Alberta Views Magazine, has an interesting article that pertains specifically to our climatic region, Seven Steps to Water Conserving-Xeriscape.

Some of us do our own landscaping. One day you might sell your house and possibly, it will be subjected to a Home Inspection. When you landscape: Always grade away from your foundation. Before you dig and plant your favorite tree, think about where the gas and water pipes are buried. And, consider how tall (big) your trees will be in relation to the home 25-50 years down the road. Remeber, think about roots as well.

Malus x ‘Thunderchild’ (Thunderchild Crabapple) via: Foothills Nurseries Calgary

More information at Sustainable Sources

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