How much water do you use in your home? You might be suprised at how much you actually use. One study showed that people think they use around 20 gallons each day. Typical consumption (indoors and outside) is actually closer to 170 gallons per day. Click here to find the biggest users in your home.
Browse the EPA site WaterSense
What exactly is a Xeriscape?
Colorado law regulates the manner in which associations are permitted to control landscaping and xeriscaping. It’s important to understand exactly what a “xeriscape” is. The Colorado Revised Statutes, at section 37-60-126(11)(b)(IV), defines “xeriscape” as “the application of the principles of landscape planning and design, soil analysis and improvement, appropriate plant selection, limitation of turf area, use of mulches, irrigation efficiency, and appropriate maintenance that results in water use efficiency and water-saving practices.” The legal definition of xeriscape does not include the use of paving or chipping in lieu of an attractive landscape.
In Xeriscape Colorado - The Complete Guide, authors Connie Lockhart Ellefson and David Winger write that “Xeriscape is a fancy, trademarked word for purposefully creating a beautiful, restful outdoor environment without consuming thousands of gallons of expensively purified water in the process. And we’re not talking gravel and cacti here (unless you love the particular exotic Southwest look). Xeriscape can easily be beautiful, lush and adaptable to most any landscape style, just as it was always intended to be.” For a discussion of the principles of xeriscaping, designing xeriscapes, and information on grass and plant selection – we recommend that you take a look at this excellent publication.
How has the Colorado Legislature Addressed Xeriscaping in Community Associations?
Following the drought of 2002 in Colorado, the issue of water conservation took center stage. The lush yards and green ways so commonly found in community associations required huge amounts of water to keep healthy and vibrant. Not only was water rationed for the purpose of the upkeep of grasses and plantings, but the costs associated with the little water available sky rocketed. As part of a much broader water conservation and drought mitigation plan, the Colorado legislature took action to regulate the types of landscapes that may be required by community associations.
Section 37-60-126(11)(a) of the Colorado Revised Statutes provides that “Any section of a restrictive covenant that prohibits or limits xeriscape, prohibits or limits the installation or use of drought-tolerant vegetative landscapes, or requires cultivated vegetation to consist exclusively or primarily of turf grass is hereby declared contrary to public policy and, on that basis, that section of the covenant shall be unenforceable.” In the statute, a “restrictive covenant” is broadly defined as “any covenant, restriction, bylaw, executive board policy or practice, or condition applicable to real property for the purpose of controlling land use, but does not include any covenant, restriction, or condition imposed on such real property by any governmental entity.”
What does this statutory provision mean? First, it means that associations cannot require residents to install landscapes made up of more than 50% turf grass. Turf grass is defined by statute as “continuous plant coverage consisting of hybridized grasses that, when regularly mowed, form a dense growth of leaf blades and roots.” Second, associations cannot require the installation of landscapes that do not permit the use of drought-tolerant vegetation. Third, associations can regulate the use of things like concrete, asphalt, rock and artificial turf since they are not considered xeriscape materials. Fourth, associations can require residents wishing to install a xeriscape - or to change an existing landscape to a xeriscape - to follow the association’s architectural submission and approval requirements. The requirements for traditional landscapes and xeriscapes should be consistent. Finally, associations are permitted to require residents to adequately water all landscapes, including xeriscapes, unless a water restriction is in place. Upon the lifting or expiration of a water restriction, associations must provide residents with a reasonable period of time to revive turf grass. If turf is not able to be revived, associations are permitted to require residents to replace the turf grass.
When you hear the word “xeriscape” it doesn’t necessarily bring to mind beautiful and lush landscapes. This is particularly true when the concept is misinterpreted to be a “zero-scape” – a yard characterized by chipping or paving. However, if you take a look around, we bet you will see aesthetically beautiful xeriscapes that assist in the conservation of our vital resource – water.
Xeriscape demonstration garden and photos click here
We are available to discuss your water uses or conservation questions. Please call the Chief Water Plant Operator 970.262.3426.