xeri·​scape ˈzir-ə-ˌskāp How to pronounce xeriscape (audio) ˈzer- How to pronounce xeriscape (audio)
often capitalized
: a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques (such as the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation)

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Xēros is the Greek word for "dry" that is the base for a handful of English words related to mainly dry printing (xerography) and dry, or xerophilous, habitats and their plants. In the early 1980s, the Greek adjective was used to name a type of landscaping practiced primarily in the arid western regions of the United States. (The Water Department of Denver, Colorado, is credited with the coinage.) Xeriscape, as it is called, uses plants that require little water as well as techniques that efficiently use water and reduce evaporation.

Examples of xeriscape in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Surprise: xeriscape installation in new homes, automatic irrigation controller. The Arizona Republic, 27 May 2023 There are options for everything from dynamic desert xeriscapes to seasonally vibrant rain swales, and even unique ones to make your cottage garden sing with more sustainability. By sunset, Sunset Magazine, 14 Apr. 2023 That’s xeriscape landscaping, sounds like a fantasy, right? Angela Belt, House Beautiful, 5 Apr. 2023 Poinsettias are not xeriscape plants. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, 10 Dec. 2020 The front yard’s xeriscape was overgrown, and two cluttered pickup trucks were incongruously slotted into the driveway. Lawrence Weschler, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2020 Residents can choose more drought-tolerant plants and grasses, or xeriscape, though Briefer warned to avoid too much gravel on parking strips that could end up in the stormwater system. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Dec. 2021 Since the greatest majority of water use is outdoors and there are hardly any grass lawns in the Town of Cave Creek, promoting xeriscape and drip irrigation is likely the best approach. Sam Kmack, The Arizona Republic, 6 July 2022 Designing your own xeriscape from scratch can be complicated. Caroleine James, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'xeriscape.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1982, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of xeriscape was in 1982


Dictionary Entries Near xeriscape

Cite this Entry

“Xeriscape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xeriscape. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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