The location of the plant spaces drafted on your master plan (step 1) will play a primary roll in selecting the appropriate plants or plant groupings for your Xeriscape.
Initially, you should sketch in and mark plant spaces in your draft designs by a specific classification (tree, shrub, annual flower bed, etc.) and/or by their function (screen planting, foundation planting, or patio garden etc).
The order in which specific plants and plant groupings are established on your draft design is also important. Plants with important functions are usually located first. This will vary with the specifics of each individual project, but trees are generally located first during the development of draft designs.
As the draft design evolves, more specifics will be added. Hard-features such as trees, may now have precise dimensions but may still be lacking considerations of texture, color or a specific material selection. Plant beds and borders may now only be generalized as mass plantings, accent plants, perennials or shrubs.
Once such overall foundations are laid, you can then begin to fill in all of the details by selecting specific plants that are appropriate to your design wishes and will accommodate your zone planning.
As you prepare to make your plant selections you’ll want to take into account the differences between the cool, shady north and east sides of the house and the hot, sunny south and west exposures. Select xeriscape plants for hot, dry south and west facing areas. Use plants that like more moisture along north and east facing slopes and walls.
By grouping plants with similar water needs together within the appropriate water-use zones (high, moderate, and dry zones) you can use water more efficiently. (note: All plants require regular watering until they are established.)
Optimize your Xeriscape for it’s seasonal evolution. By researching and refining the various possible plant selections, you will learn their specific planting and blooming periods, height and growth potential, plant temperaments, soil requirements and watering needs. You can determine the seasonal look of your landscape and plan accordingly.