When you hear the word “xeriscaping,” does it evoke images in your mind of endless gravel, rocks, and cacti? Well, if you’re like most people, this is probably how you tend to view xeriscaping and it may seem less-than-appealing to you as your choice of landscaping. Don’t be too fast to rule it out of your list of landscaping options, though.

What Xeriscape Really Is

The truth is that xeriscaping doesn’t just equal rocks and cacti. In fact, the true definition of xeriscaping is landscaping with plants and vegetation that grow well in their local climate without requiring much more water than what the area receives in rainfall. In other words, xeriscaping doesn’t have to be ugly or look desolate! When done tastefully, it can actually be a huge cost-saving factor for homeowners, HOAs, and even entire municipalities while adding to the appearance of the community. A single-family home can use up to 60% of is water consumption for outdoor irrigation, so you can imagine how xeriscaping can cut down on you water usage (and cost!) quite dramatically.

Texas and Xeriscaping

Though it might be hard to believe with all of the record-setting rainfall and flooding that has come to the Lone Star state recently, Texas is still considered to be a very drought-prone state. That’s why just a few years ago the State of Texas passed a law that gives homeowners living in an HOA community more control over landscaping their yard with water-saving alternatives. If you live in Texas and are part of an HOA, here’s what this law means for you:

  • HOAs can still enforce guidelines or require prior approval for xeriscaping, but they can’t “unreasonably restrict” your ability to conserve water with landscaping, if that’s what you choose to do. Typically your HOA management company will accept these requests.
  • If you choose xeriscape options for your yard, your HOA cannot prohibit these choices (like water-conserving turf or drought-resistant landscaping) or force you to undo them.
  • Your HOA’s governing documents can’t prevent you from installing water-efficient irrigation options like a drip system.
  • You have the right to install a rainwater harvesting system, to compost vegetation, and to leave grass clippings uncollected on your lawn.

Related: 5 Landscaping Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

If you’ve warmed up to the idea of xeriscaping and live in an HOA community, this law works in your favor. But remember that it’s still always a good idea to check with your HOA management company or board member point-person first about any existing guidelines your community has in place about xeriscaping before making landscaping changes. In a future post we’ll talk more about xeriscaping in HOA communities, so check back soon!