West Texas Landscaping

The ice plant is popular in West Texas landscaping. All photos: Texas Tech Horticultural Garden

The semi-arid climate in Midland and Odessa mean the sun burns bright and water is scarce. So how’s a homeowner to keep their West Texas landscaping from looking like a dry wasteland?

By making smart choices about the plants and trees they put there. Those that are well acclimated to places like Ector and Midland counties can thrive, even in difficult conditions.

Here’s a roundup of perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, shade trees, ornamental grasses, and ornamental trees that will look beautiful year-round.

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8526SweetwaterK

After not mentioning the Claremont neighborhood for a while, we’re suddenly seeing gem after gem go on the market there. It’s one of my favorite residential areas in East Dallas, with Midcentury personality, mature trees, and memorable style.

The 1962 ranch-style house at 8526 Sweetwood Drive just came on the market Oct. 31 after an extensive renovation, and it’s got loads of charm packed into its 1,773 square feet. Marketed by Ben Fluno of Chris Arnold Premier Realty for $242,500 (it dropped $2,500 today), I’m actually surprised it’s still on the market. Take a look and I think you’ll agree.

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BurtonKnightLawn

Good news for homeowners fed up with maintaining lawns and the high water bills that come with it.

If you live in an HOA and couldn’t install a water-friendly landscape because of restrictive covenants, now you can. According to a new law passed by the Texas Legislature, HOAs can no longer forbid homeowners from installing native and drought-resistant landscaping.

The new law, first proposed by state. Sen. Kirk Watson and state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, both Austin Democrats, prevents HOAs from prohibiting xeriscaping, the process of installing drought-resistant landscaping or other native, water-conserving natural turf.

The passed legislation likely will result in many HOAs creating uniform xeriscape standards for the first time. Associations can still require preliminary approval of any xeriscaping plans, but their control is limited and must be “reasonable,” said Gregory S. Cagle, an Austin attorney and author of the book “Texas Homeowners Association Law.”

This is especially great news for the growing Dallas/Fort Worth metro area and our dwindling water supplies. I’m waiting to hear back from officials from the city of Dallas to find out if this new law affects homeowners in conservation districts such as Burton Knight, who, if you recall, installed a gorgeous native and xeriscaped front yard in Junius Heights only to receive a citation from the city. Apparently, conservation-oriented landscaping is against historic standards for the conservation district. As of our last report, Mr. Knight is still trying to find a compromise with City Hall.