A xeriscaped garden requires little water, and many Colorado plants fit the bill perfectly. To add visual interest to your xeriscape, include variety such as flowering groundcovers, colorful grasses and shrubbery. Using a spectrum of heights, colors and textures gives your garden an artistic and welcoming look--and helps it blend with the natural landscape.
Plant woolly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa) for a groundcover that features mats of gray-green leaves and cream-colored flowers. This plant likes full sun and will spread well in nearly any kind of soil. It's simple to transplant, and to keep it nice-looking, you may want to cut off the flowers when they're done blooming in summer. If you live in an area where deer like to eat gardens, woolly yarrow is a good choice because it's deer-resistant. Another plus to planting woolly yarrow: It attracts butterflies and birds to your yard. Other good groundcover choices include creeping phlox and lemon thyme.
Use little bluestem (Schizachyrium scopulorum) if you want an ornamental grass that changes color during the year. In the spring you get a turquoise blue; by fall, the grass may be reddish. It has a lot of features that endear it to Colorado xeriscapers: It's drought resistant; it can handle cold weather; and it thrives in clay soil. Plant little bluestem near other ornamental grasses to create a handsome, effective statement in your garden. Some other great grasses are June and sand love.
Give your garden the feel of a mountain meadow with a native spreading shrub such as silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana). It sports lovely, narrow gray leaves. In late summer and early fall, you get the added benefit of yellow blossoms to complement the foliage. This shrub is drought-tolerant, making it a natural xeriscape companion. Other shrubs that need little water in Colorado gardens include viburnum and Japanese barberry.