Xeriscaping, from the Greek xeros (for "dry"), is often confused with natural landscape gardening. In truth, the two terms have quite different meanings. Xeriscaping is landscape gardening using plants that are drought-tolerant and using horticultural techniques that uses water most efficiently. Natural landscape gardening uses plants almost exclusively indigenous to the local area. It is possible that the plants used in xeriscaping and natural landscape gardening could be the same, as might be the case in Tucson, Arizona but not in Durham, North Carolina or Pleasanton, Texas. The idea in natural landscape gardening is that plants that naturally survive in your area are the ones best adapted to your soil, climate and rainfall. In either case, this should mean that your garden (or lawn) will need little to no supplemental watering to survive, and only a little to thrive. Well, that's the theory, anyway.
The problem is that in a large part of our country, a few miles or even a few hundred feet can make a big difference. Plants that require a lot of water, and live where they can satisfy those requirements, can often be found quite close to plants needing little water and living where they receive little. Cactus and cottonwood have little in common and have radically different thirsts, but they often habitate the same general areas and may live only a few dozen meters from each other. Soils, too, can vary widely in the same general area. I live in Pleasanton, Texas, barely 30 miles south of San Antonio, but that 30 miles makes a huge difference in the indigenous plants of the two communities. San Antone sits at the edge of a very alkaline limestone plateau called the Texas Hill Country, and the soil there is composed of decomposed limestone capped with a thin layer of alkaline clay. Pleasanton sits on a watershed that over the millennium has deposited many feet of sand and sandy loam, which is far closer to a neutral pH than that to the north. The two areas, in terms of natural flora, are as different as black and white. Be that as it may, one can still come to terms with his or her own piece of ground and plant grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees that will thrive without too much maintenance.
My problem is that I like to garden and I like to challenge the soil. Thus, while I applaude xeriscaping in general and principle, I only yield so far to its limitations. My mustang grapes are wild natives, but I also grow Campanelles, Catawbas, and Fredonias, none of which are indigenous to Texas. I love the delicate Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock Rose), a drought-tolerant native, but my wife loves the more elegant and fragrant varieties of the Rosa species, which are anything but xeriscaping material. At the same time, we both love our local wildflowers, many of which are suitable for bringing into the garden. But our land is also poulated with dozens of giant live oaks and smaller fruit and nut trees, and these, too, define what can and can't be done with our landscaping plans. And so we compromise with nature and our nurseryman and enjoy the fruits and flowers from both. And you know, I rather enjoy it that way.
The links below are divided to suit the needs of the general gardener and the xeriscapist (don't forget to explore my wildflower and fruit and nut tree pages!). And, just to be sure you're pointed in the right direction (wherever you live), I've included my favorite links on composting, nature's way of recycling, enriching and providing. No matter who you are and where you live, you should improve your soil at least once during the year to get the most out of it. Composting is but one way to do that.