North Central Texas Smartscape
Texas SmartScape™ utilizes xeriscape principles, but goes beyond the basics by providing design, care, and plant search tools that are "Smart" for North Central Texas. Learn more...
This Program Will Show You How To
Conserve water and save $Money$ on your water bills; beautify your home and local environment; attract native butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife; and prevent / help reduce storm water pollution!
New Way to Browse the Database!
By popular request, we have created an index of all the plants in our plant database. You can now browse and sort by common name, botanical name, and plant type. For the more advanced users this will be helpful for you to compare the botanical name with the common name of the plants we promote. If you are trying to look up a specific plant, this view may also be helpful to you.
Of course if you would like, you can still browse the SmartScape plant database by using our search function.
Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list of plants that grow in Texas, but is a list of heat and drought tolerant plants that will thrive in our climate. The ultimate goal is to conserve local water supplies and improve storm water runoff quality by reducing the amount of water needed to maintain landscapes while decreasing the amounts of pesticide, fertilizer and herbicides used in landscaping practices - all the while creating beautiful landscapes that will make your neighbors jealous.
Fall is Here, Cut Back Your Watering
Fall is here! That means cooler weather, leaves turning color, sweaters, and pumpkin flavored everything. But that also means that you should cut back your watering schedule. Now that it is not so hot here in North Texas, you don't need to water nearly as much. In fact, if you were to keep up your summer watering schedule, you are greatly increasing the chance of introducing disease into your lawn or garden.
When the temperature cools and the days get shorter, plant growth begins to slow, which means they require less water. It also tends to rain a bit more in the fall, which will require even less supplemental watering. If you have been following the watering guide on our website and have been watering deeply and infrequently through the summer, then you may not need to water at all depending on how often it rains (Especially if you have planted native and adaptive plants).
Throughout the fall, you should reduce your watering by around 50%. Remember, the best way to know when you need to water is by testing your soil. An easy way to test soil wetness is by probing with a stick or small piece of rebar. If the top four inches of soil is wet or muddy, do not water. If the probe comes out dry on the end, it may be time to water. Check the weather before watering because if it is going to rain in a day or two then you could save yourself the time and money.
For more information, check out our Watering & Conservation Guide, or our Guide to Watering Methods. Also, if you would like some fall color, check out our plant database and set the blooming field to “fall.” On the details page for each plant is the Plant Timeline that shows how long the plant is in bloom.
Ecological Benefits of SmartScape
By selecting native and adaptive plants, you should not need to apply pesticides or fertilizer to your yard or garden to keep it lush and green. Other than the obvious money and time savings, why is this important?
Research demonstrates that when it rains, pesticides and fertilizer get washed away in the stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is rainwater that flows off of landscapes, roads, and parking lots, into storm drains. It then flows unfiltered into streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes. The same sources where we get our drinking water.
Pesticides are often indiscriminant in the insects they kill. They can kill or harm the beneficial insects alongside the "bad" insects. Plants native to our region are able to deter pests with their own protective measures, all the while attracting beneficial insects like butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. By eliminating harmful chemicals from your environment and fostering a healthy food web, you can achieve long-term biological control of problem species with much less work on your part. Just remember, plant diversity equals wildlife diversity. Our plant database denotes and lets you search based on the types of wildlife a specific plant tends to attract.
Fertilizer is most often applied in the spring and fall, which is the time of the year when we receive the most rain. This results in a large amount of fertilizer washing off lawns and making its way into our water. Native Texas plants are capable of maintaining healthy growth without any fertilizer because they are already accustomed to our soil type and rain patterns here in Texas. If you find that you need to amend, or add nutrients to your soil, the best solution is to use organic compost.
You can learn more about the ecological benefits of using native and adaptive Texas plants in our benefits section.
If you have unused pesticides or fertilizer, do not just put it in the trash. You can visit www.timetorecycle.com to find a household hazardous waste drop off location near you.
Use this search tool to identify which plants will work for you.
- FREE SmartScape Training Classes: View all events.
- WANTED- SmartScape plant photos. Our plant database can now support multiple images of each plant, submit plant photos to Tracy Michel.
- List of SmartScape-friendly companies.
- Nurseries/landscape companies: Partnership opportunities. [pdf]
- Take our short SmartScape survey! We want to know if you've attempted to use SmartScape ideas and techniques in your yard!
- Interested in helping us expand Texas SmartScape to other regions in Texas? Contact Tracy Michel for more information.