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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Express-News Weekly ArticleSaturday, May 28, 2005
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Conservation Director, and Horticulturist

Xeriscape Landscaping

A large number of individuals took the self-guided tour of the Xeriscape Contest winners during Mother’s Day weekend. The winning neighborhood was Encino Park and there were individual winners spread throughout the city. If you visited the award winning landscapes for 2005 or have visited the Water Saver Lane at the Botanical Gardens you know that a xeriscape landscape in Central and South Texas can look lush, colorful, manicured and distinctive. I like the more distinctive themes like Spanish courtyard, cottage garden, wildscape and hill country, but it can also look exactly like the traditional manicured higher water-using landscape. The key to a water efficient landscape is seven commonsense principles.


  • Plan your landscape to meet your family’s needs and the characteristics of your site and our climate. You do not need to be a landscape professional to plan a good San Antonio area landscape, but the more you learn about what works and what you like, the more satisfied you will be with your landscape. One of the best resources is In addition to large amounts of information on landscaping, my articles on xeriscapes are archived on the website.


  • Enrich your soil with organic material. If you want lawn grass, it is essential that you have at least four inches of soil. One or two inches of compost incorporated into planting areas will greatly improve plant performance and water efficiency. Top dressing the lawn every two years will incorporate organic material into the established landscape.


  • Water efficiently by following the SIP (Seasonal Irrigation Program) recommendations. Sign up on the SAWS website,, to receive a weekly e-mail or phone message personalized for your lawn conditions. Use drip irrigation for gardens and newly planted shrubs and trees. Once they are established they do not need supplemental irrigation except in the driest conditions.


  • Mulch over the root system of most plants to keep the soil cool, reduce weeds and preserve moisture. Leaves, bark, compost, pecan shells and any organic material work well. Rock is effective in some situations, especially if you like a Spanish courtyard theme.


        Reduce your turf area. Lawn grass is attractive in many situations, but it requires considerable water to keep it green during the hot summer months. Mowing the grass is the most labor demanding part of landscape care. If you want to reduce watering and labor on your landscape use permeable hardscape, groundcovers and more shrubs and perennials.


  • Maintain your xeriscape landscape. It requires less work than a lawn-dominated yard, but does require some pest control, pruning, mulch replenishment, fertilization and other maintenance. A well-maintained landscape increases its attractiveness, your property values and neighborhood satisfaction.


  • The best part about a xeriscape landscape is that in Central and South Texas, we have a huge palette of plants from which to choose. All the native plants are suitable because they evolved in this climate and are capable of surviving and performing through our cycles of hot and cold, wet and dry, in our alkaline soils. In addition to native plants, there are many other well-adapted plants to use. Among my favorites are the old-fashioned roses, iris, narcissi, primrose, jasmine, vitex, pomegranate, nandina, Chinese pistache, firebush, poinciana and esperanza. There are both native and exotic lantanas, salvias, viburnums and hollies that make good additions to a low water-use landscape in San Antonio.