The goal of xeriscaping -- a term derived from the Greek word "xeros," meaning "dry" -- is to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a lawn. It's very popular in places where rainfall is hard to come by, like the American West, and can take on a variety of forms. In areas where water is more plentiful, xeriscaped lawns may have small, irrigated patches of turf surrounded by wild grasses, flowering plants, bushes, and trees that rarely, if ever, have to be watered. Xeriscaping in drier locations, however, may consist of little more than rock gardens, sand and cactus that need little water.
Xeriscaped lawns often incorporate native plants, meaning that they're indigenous to the area and are therefore well-suited to survive in the local climate. They require little or no fertilization and water, a characteristic that has obvious ecological benefits, particularly in places where water is especially scarce. In fact, some communities are so dry that they require certain types of xeriscaping or enforce water restrictions that make traditional grass lawns impractical.