Gardening in Santa Fe can be more challenging than in other area with more rainfall and richer soil. However, there are many ways to have lush and charming outdoor spaces without using too much of our most precious resource, water.
The first step in creating a xeriscape (or drylands) garden is to carefully choose the plants. Plants such as chamisa, russian sage, yarrow, gallardia, coreposis, penstemons and too many others to name provide bold color with very little supplemental water. The other important steps are proper soil ammending and installing a good irrigation system. There are also ways to utilize boulders, pebbles, flagstone, mulch and even gravel to beautify some of your outdoor space without planting in every square inch. If you must have annuals, choose large moisture retaining pots and place them carefully.
Other techniques are also crucial to succesful gardening in this climate, such as planting trees and shrubs with water holding basins around them, and utilizing the water from your gutters to supplement your most thirsty plants. Grey water use, such as draining your washing machine onto some trees is also becoming more common as our need to conserve water becomes more critical.