When creating xeriscapes, the first step is to plan the landscape. Thinking it through before expending any money or labor will help avoid costly mistakes.
You can plan your own xeriscape and have it reviewed by a professional, or hire a professional landscaping company for the whole project, or do it all yourself. Regardless of the approach you take, it will help to understand the basics involved in designing xeriscapes.
Begin by drawing a diagram, to scale, of the existing landscape. Using graph paper will help. Carefully measure the house, driveway, walkways, patio or deck, fences, power poles, existing trees and any other elements that will remain for your new plan. It is a good idea to mark the location of spigots, outdoor electrical outlets and downspouts. Draw an arrow pointing north, because sun exposure will be important to your xeriscape.
Next consider what you want from your xeriscape. Do you need a place for outdoor games or for dogs to run? Do you want an attractive entrance to your home? Do you want a garden or orchard of edible plants? Is more space needed for parking? Do you want to attract wild life?
After diagramming the existing landscape and thinking about what you want from a xeriscape, but before you start digging, you need to review a few more things. Your plan should consider: the climate and microclimate, terrain, location of immovable objects, existing vegetation, and local regulations. Based on these factors, you can identify the appropriate zoning of plants by their water needs, and then choose the irrigation system and plants that are a good fit for your xeriscape.