There are five steps in the planning and design of a xeriscaped yard

1 – Planning and designing your total new yard – think of a yard blueprint

2 – Determine if any changes in the grade of your yard is needed for rain runoff

3 – Modify your current irrigation system to a drip system for your future needs

4 – Planning any hardscaping that will accompany your new grass

5 – Planning the separations between artificial grass cover, rock gardens and existing concrete

6 – Nope – there’s not a sixth step – after these five steps above are done It’s time to lay your new grass.

So, let’s take them one by one to get a better understanding of everything that’s involved in each of the steps above. 

Planning and designing your total new yard – think of a yard blueprint

There are many ways to conserve water in a city or rural setting, and proper planning and design are essential to creating a landscape that is water-wise.  During the planning process we’ll ask you questions about your vision for your future yard.  Will you be removing any trees that are past their normal lifetime, or adding any new trees? 

We will make a rough sketch showing where you want space for existing or future plants and shrubs. We will show you how we will convert your existing sprinkler system to a drip system to service your flower beds and other plants.   This is the time where you will decide if you want to include any new hardscaping in your new yard.  For example – an outdoor built-in Barbeque with a flagstone patio area; or maybe a fire pit with a short stone wall for outdoor gatherings.  Will we install a putting green or a bocce ball court as part of the overall look of your new back yard?  How about a horseshoe pit?

Determine if any changes in the grade of your yard is needed for rain runoff

Determining and designing grade changes may become an important part of your design process.  For example, if your yard has a gentle slope from left to right or from the back to the front you may decide to grade it in such a way that part of the yard is level with a short rock wall separating two levels.  While this approach is more expensive it does offer many design options for you to think about.  For example, a sloping yard doesn’t accommodate a large patio area.  Or, if a bocce ball court is in your future it needs a flat surface.  We almost always recommend residential bocce ball courts should be based on the following dimensions:

  • Length-60 feet
  • Width from 10 – 12 feet
  • Foul line for throwing-10 feet from end line
  • Center court line-30 feet from end line

For yards that have more extreme slopes see our artificial grass page for higher wall ideas. 

Modifying your current irrigation system to a drip system for your future needs

Unless you plan nothing but rock and mulch for your yard – not recommended – even the best planned water conserving yard will need to have some drip irrigation for those plants and shrubs that still need watering.  Also, we usually recommend making spaces for flower beds, see our xeriscaping planting page for some ideas that will usually enhance the curb appeal of your home.

The irrigation modifications will be made before we start the grading process for your new artificial grass.  This is usually done by deadheading any existing lines that will not be used in the new plan and reducing the water pressure to accommodate the new drip system.  Then, after the grading is finished, we will run the drip system lines to their respective locations.  It’s important to decide where your flower beds and your plants and shrubs will go before we start this step.xeriscaping-planning-and-design

Pink and white daisies in a flower bed, gray gravel. Gardening concept.

Planning any hardscaping that will accompany your new artificial grass

Hardscape refers to hard landscape materials that are incorporated into a landscape. This can include stamped concrete paved areas, flagstone paved areas, driveways, retaining walls, limestone steps, slate walkways, and other landscaping using hard wearing materials like stone, concrete, rocks and small boulders.  The cost to xeriscape a yard varies based on the extent of using the above materials.  Then adding your plant choices, and modifications to your irrigation system will determine the total cost.


Hard landscaping involves visualizing the cover of the entire yard that you are planning before laying your artificial grass comes into play.  Building outdoor fire pits, flagstone patios or other gathering spaces in your backyard can be an expensive part of the redesign of any yard.  But the pay off will come with future water cost savings as well as the savings you’ll get from not watering a grass yard; not to mention the maintenance costs of chemicals, fertilizing and mowing a grass lawn.

Planning the separations between turf cover, rock gardens and existing concrete

The overall planning process includes determining where the artificial grass cover will fit into the planned rock gardens, decorative walls, walkways and plant and flower beds of your overall design.  Some clients keep real grass in their front yards and just do artificial grass in the back yard. If your plan includes a horseshoe pit in your future backyard here is a link to a pdf showing the area you need to accommodate it.

Other cost factors with xeriscaping are the irrigation system and any custom additions; like low voltage lighting, patios, etc. that you include in the design.  We can help you cut corners to save costs, but sometimes a larger investment is needed to give you the yard of your dreams.  Your costs will be higher if you, for example, add large boulders or hardscape features like stone walls, waterfall features, built in fire pits etc.  Also, the size of the yard and the types and number of plants chosen will impact your total costs.