At RAVEN’S NEST NATURE SANCTUARY our Xeriscape (i.e. low-water use) plantings began with a master plan aimed at:

  • Water Conservation
  • Wildlife Habitat Preservation & Creation
  • Environmental Sustainability

This is a plan that we will continue to implement into the foreseeable future.  We select drought-resistant native plants native to the Southwest that are attractive, long-blooming, and colorful, while requiring relatively minimal long-term care.  We have reached the point where a good number of our xeriscape plants are reproducing and spreading on their own – a sure sign of success!

We plant in multiple vertical layers to mimic nearby natural habitats, selecting appropriate species from a conservation-minded local nursery.  Placing each plant in the ground with meticulous care and hope for a better future, we always top-dress the soil of every new plant with 4 to 6 inches of organic mulch and build a small rock retaining wall to minimize evaporation and keep the soil healthy and productive.
Following the principles of xeriscaping, we’ve created two Water Use Zones where we group plants with similar water needs together around our Sky Islands Discovery Center and our home.

PRIMARY ZONE :  The native species of trees, shrubs, and vines  that we’ve planted (and continue to plant) around our Sky Islands Discovery Center and our home require regular supplemental water for the first few years and during times of drought.  Some provide us with wild edible fruits, medicines, or other usable parts.  All of them collectively create diverse and resilient wildlife habitats that benefit a myriad of species, while serving as an excellent teaching tool.  These Plants also provide much-needed beauty and help to ameliorate weather extremes through their shading and wind-reduction effects.

SECONDARY ZONE : Here we have planted native, low-water use species of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, and succulents.  They require little watering for only the first year on average after which they’re on their own.

By planting Native species in these zones, we are fostering a multi-faceted wildlife habitat that benefits a wide range of species.  Through our efforts we hope to inspire you to contribute to the management, health, recovery, and preservation of your local ecosystems.  No matter where you live you can benefit by learning from our Conservation practices, which can be applied well beyond the Southwest!