xeriscaping area

Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening. In some areas, terms such as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead.

There are a number of simple measures that homeowners can implement to provide more water quality preservation and protection as water flows through our environment. This webpage focuses in on gutter downspout disconnection coupled with Xeriscaping.

In the past, land management practices encouraged people to have their home gutters discharge to the ground so that stormwater could flow into the roadway drainage system. As more development in neighborhoods occurs, there is less room in the roadway drainage systems to effectively handle larger storm events. Also the more the stormwater travels overland, the more potential it has to pick up and transport potential contaminants found in our environment including but not limited to fertilizers, detergents, automobile solvents and litter. In addition, more development requires more groundwater to be pumped out of the aquifer for domestic use such as irrigation, laundry, and potable water uses in the house.

Don’t be discouraged! We can all do our part to protect the environment. In addition to the municipality maintaining and adding (where necessary) the stormwater management system in the roadways, you as a resident may take some simple steps to reduce the amount of stormwater flowing down the street by considering the following items:

  • Consider planting a rain garden utilizing drought tolerant native plants (Xeriscape). Xeriscaping is a form of gardening that focuses on plants and gardening practices that can be maintained with low water levels. This type of planting can create a varied and beautiful environment.
  • Consider running the outlet side of your home’s gutters to flow rain water, into the rain garden so that it effectively irrigates the garden as it rains as well as reduces the amount of stormwater runoff going into the roadway drainage system. Direct the outlet to a pervious and permeable (not paved, or fine grained soils) area, located downgrade of the home, to an infiltration area to promote overland vegetative filtering. Homeowners should consider the size of the roof that is being disconnected as a critical component of designing the rain garden, and may wish to consult their landscape professional for sizing and native plant selection.

BioFiltration Guidance from NYS (PDF)