Perhaps you are referring to “water smart landscaping”? The process behind water-smart landscaping is planting specific types of plants that need a low amount of water to survive. Drought-resistant plants decrease the need for as much watering, along with cutting your water bill. Water-smart landscaping is recommended for landscapes where not a lot of natural rain occurs.
Also, instead of using traditional grass, you may use an natural or artificial lawn such as mulch to keep cool temperatures and high moisture for plants.
Smart landscaping means efficient application of the landscape and allows limited use of resources, including water and electricity. Planting drought-resistant plants, as franksyber mentioned above, is a beneficial way to save water. Also, using native plant species to the region can help attract native wildlife, decrease air pollution, and promote biodiversity. But effective plantings are not the only way to perform smart landscaping.
For instance, instead of designing a typical concrete-paved parking lot, some spaces could be covered by “grass pavers,” where water easily filtrates through it and provides a cooling effect during hot weather.
Thus, smart landscaping covers all aspects of the outdoor landscape, ranging from plant species to the materials of the ground.
Another aspect of “smart landscaping” not yet mentioned is buying plants that are disease and pest resistant (natives are a good way to go, but also consider your regional climate as well as your microclimate–the conditions in your own backyard). People who have spent money on a landscape loath seeing it suffer and will often to anything to fix the problem(s); this usually leads to the use of pesticides, which often get misapplied and, consequently, are ineffective. This is DUMB landscaping! So, study your environmental conditions–sun and wind exposure, water table, soil nutrient levels and pH, etc. BEFORE putting plants in the ground (even natives can suffer under the wrong conditions); in other words, know which plants to buy.
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