Monthly Archives: April 2010

April is National Landscape Architecture Month

That’s right, April is National Landscape Architecture Month. When you travel out and about today, take a moment to notice your city’s communities, parks and so forth. They all had to start with planning, land use management, designing – all the work of landscape architects. You may have only thought about landscaping on a small scale but landscape architects shape the world we live in starting from the root. And if you know anything about planting a seed, without it there is no beginning and no growth. Without Landscape Architects’ knowledge of science and art to create a green sustainable environment there would be no growth and no growth means no future.

Learn more about National Landscape Architecture Month…

The Marden Project: Modern Landscaping

Recently we were called upon by local interior designer, Debbie Marden of D. Marden Interior Design, and her husband, Sean. They had recently completed renovations on their mid-century modern home in Boulder and were looking to design a sustainable, innovative landscape that complements the home’s reinvented, modern look.

Designer Troy Shimp worked closely with the homeowners to develop a landscape that allows for private spaces but is also welcoming to neighbors and passers-by. Numerous “nooks” were created for lounging, entertaining, and gardening. Gravel paths lead one around the home through linear plantings of ornamental grasses, past an exterior daybed and shade structure to a new contemporary-design patio composed of concrete slab squares and gravel. A bubbling water feature, sculpture, and warm fire pit are specialty features that can also be enjoyed as you wander through the gardens.

The design takes a green approach; it uses sustainable materials, xeric plants, minimized lawn areas, and a water-wise irrigation system. Existing lawn areas are transformed into colorful planting beds and exciting spaces. With a quality soil prep tilled deep with a minimum of 4cy/1000 square feet, native and xeric species of plants will thrive and require less water. Drip for plantings and pop-up zones for grass will be zoned according to specific plant needs to conserve water. Low-voltage landscape lighting will use energy-efficient LED fixtures. A large garden area and green house allow for the homeowners to grow their own herbs and vegetables. Using these sustainable practices, the landscape is sure to thrive for years to come.

We are enjoying designing this creative and thought-provoking landscape and look forward to its evolution.

Building a Future with Habitat For Humanity

On Friday, Jan 22, members of Lifescape Associates took off the dress shoes and put on the work boots as we participated in our first Habitat for Humanity build.  Our work team included: Randy Randolph, Michael Hupf, Ron Lee, Jeff Wright, Ron Lee, Troy Shimp, Leann Ostheimer, Dan DeGrush and Tonya Glassmeyer.

We worked on the Bails Townhome community.  This is Habitat’s first green, Transit Oriented Development in Metro Denver.   The Bails Townhome Community is a 24-townhome development located in the thriving Virginia Village neighborhood that will allow for affordable housing and transportation options for low income families.

Our employees performed siding, window and weather barrier installation.

Pavers

Usually found outside on patios, driveways and walkways, pavers are hard blocks that are made from stone, brick, clay tile or plastic. They come in different shapes, textures and colors so they are more versatile in style than concrete. Pavers are better than concrete because they are crack resistant and more durable. So if you live in an area with a tough climate, like Colorado, pavers would be a great option for you. The great value of pavers are that they complement just about any architectural style whether new or old, all while providing years of enjoyment and environmentally friendly aesthetics in all climates.

For more information on pavers, check out Belgard.biz.

Buying Local Stone

In today’s society everyone is looking to cut costs anywhere they can, even when it comes to landscaping. If you plan on using stone in you landscaping plan, a good way to be cost sensitive with your budget is to buy local quarried stone. Not only are you supporting local businesses in your community, but you’re also saving money by dodging hefty out-of-state shipping fees.

Check out what Marcia Duffy of Landscape & Hardscape Design-Build writes about buying local stones and rocks to help cut landscaping costs:

Local stones and rocks

The buy-local movement is strong for landscape materials, and expensive stones from other areas are often being passed over for more regionally sourced materials.

“If a homeowner is seeking natural materials that are beautiful, affordable and work well with their design, all I can say is buy local,” says White.

Local quarried stone is less expensive than many of the new materials coming on the market, White points out. In addition to saving money by eliminating the shipping costs of materials from out of state, buying materials from local quarries allows you “to support local businesses in your community during these tough economic times,” says White.

Not only should you buy local, but you should also buy early, suggests Victor Coppola, an environmental planner and scientist with Princeton, Conn.-based GreenWorks LLC, a green design/build firm specializing in landscape restoration, rehabilitation and enhancement.

Coppola points out that hardscape installers should consider ordering early to get the hot colors for 2010, such as blue or tan, at a better price, which they can pass on to their budget-conscious customers.

“A better way to look at your project needs is timing and planning … and get good prices by timing your hardscape buying in the off-season [November through February],” says Coppola.

Want more information on budget and eco-friendly hardscape design? Read the full article, Decorative Stone Trends for 2010.

Photo: GardenGrowth