Tag Archives: Denver landscape design

Colorado Landscaping Tips

While the summer solstice has passed us by, our state’s magnificent wildlife continues to abound. There are still a couple more months before the weather shifts into fall and winter mode. You can use this opportunity to design and execute a few ideas percolating in your visions lately while keeping your Rocky Mountain location in mind.

colorado landscaping services

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Colorado Landscaping: Design by Geography

Where you live in Colorado plays a large part in your landscape’s design and function. The wrong layout will result in struggling vegetation, an unreasonable demand for water and using excessive amounts of energy and labor to make things work. On the flip-side, an intelligent landscape design will yield an attractive outdoor palate with relatively minimal effort on your part.

colorado landscaping service

Design by Lifescape Colorado

The Great Plains. Normally, we think of the Great Plains as “out east.” In truth, 40% of our state is comprised of the same geography that stretches from Colorado’s eastern region through Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma. Temperature fluctuations are vast, water is minimal and a high-mineral content produces alkaline soil. Fortunately, drought-tolerant plants do well here and the arid climate keeps pests and diseases at a minimum.

Rustic Landscape by Denver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Lifescape Colorado.

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Postcard Colorado. Otherwise known as the Front Range, this is the region of our state that comes to mind for most of the U.S. It’s a landscape filled with steep mountain slopes, white aspens and lots of snow. As a result, landscaping in the front range requires an experienced hand. Working with a landscape designer and maintenance team will help you determine which plants will thrive the best in our climate.

xeriscaping service in denver

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Out West. From plains and mountains, we move down into the desert where xeriscapes are a must. Without a xeriscape approach, desert landscaping requires large quantities of irrigation. Stick with plants that do well in exceptionally dry climates and keep in mind that broad-leafed trees and shrubs will require irrigation.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to design a geo-centric plan for your landscape today.

Indian Paintbrush

If you’ve spent any amount of time gazing at our beautiful Colorado landscape, no doubt you’ve noticed a couple fiery spots of color dotting the hillsides and valleys from March through September. If so, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted stands of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja ssp).

Upon closer examination, the Indian paintbrush is a small to medium-sized plant with stalks of linear leaves topped by bright red bracts. Fortunately for you, these Colorado plants are easy to add to your own landscape and will thrive happily year after year.

colorado landscape architect

Source: Weather Pics

Looking For a Colorful, Drought-Tolerant Perennial? Meet the Indian Paintbrush

There are over 100 species of Indian paintbrush, but one of the most common and best adapted to our climate is colorful Indian paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia). This perennial plant prefers dry, loamy soil and plays host to a wide range of pollinators, making it a great plant for backyard designs. Colorful Indian paintbrush grows between 4- to 22-inches high on average.

Here are some other interesting characteristics to note:

colorado native plant

Source: Grow Native

It’s considered hemi-parasitic. Indian paintbrush intertwines its roots with other plants to leach nutrients and water. However, this relationship doesn’t do any damage to unsuspecting neighbor. Consider planting stands of blue gamma grass or sage brush nearby to help the Indian paintbrush thrive.

They don’t have red flowers. That gorgeous red color we so often admire is actually bracts, or specially modified leaves, as opposed to flowers. The plant’s true flowers are actually smaller, slender green growths hidden amongst the bracts.

colorado landscape designer

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

You’ll attract pollinators galore. Because the Indian paintbrush doesn’t have any branches or strong stalks for birds to perch on, they are a favorite food source for hovering pollinators like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. In fact, they are a preferred nectar source for broad-tailed hummingbirds and a favorite host for Fulvia Checkerspot butterflies, both of which are common in Colorado.

Are you interested in introducing the Indian paintbrush into your garden? Lifescape Colorado’s landscape maintenance team can do it for you. Give us a call at 303.831.8310, or contact us online.

Dealing with the Effects of Heat in Your Colorado Garden

As long as you’re planting drought-tolerant and drought-resistant plants, why not seek a specific kind of plant? The Drought Evader. We love this term coined by Gary Paul Nabhan in a recent Mother Earth News article. It describes plants that not only survive drought, but can also harness minimal watering to speed up its flower-to-veg cycle, bearing delicious fruits with significantly less water.

Using this as our inspiration, let’s look at four Colorado gardening tips you can use to deal with the effects of heat in your garden spaces.

colorado landscaping services

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Use drought evading veggies. Regardless of how conscientious you’ve been about your xeriscape, odds are the vegetable garden is still gulping more water than you would like. That’s where drought evaders come into the picture. Examples of crops with early-maturing, short-seasons include:

  • Egyptian Flat Beets
  • Black Mexican Corn
  • Armenian Cucumbers
  • Charleston Belle Peppers
  • Native Sun Tomatoes

 

You can also speak to your landscape designer regarding other drought-evading vegetables that do well in our climate.

Contemporary Landscape by Sausalito Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

Source: Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture via Houzz

Cultivate Alley Crops. Alley cropping involves planting shade-yielding plants alongside lower-growing plants in order to reduce the soil evaporation rate and conserve water. You can use this technique in your vegetable garden by planting taller fruit and nut trees on the edges and lower growing vegetables in between them.

lush-garden_denver_3

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Water deeply. Most plant roots are healthiest when they grow deep in the soil, tapping the moisture that lies inches or feet underground. If you water deeply and less frequently, your plant roots will move deep into the soil looking for the moisture they need. If you water more often and shallowly, roots will spread outward — rather than downward — and are more susceptible to drought and heat stress.

Landscape by Other Metro Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers jenny_hardgrave

Source: jenny_hardgrave via Houzz

Try Intercropping. Native Americans taught the pilgrims the beauty of intercropping using corn, beans and squash — or The Three Sisters. This holistic planting method can work for a range of plant species and can actually increase crop yields. Mixing annuals and perennials in plant beds establishes “polycultures” that are able to harvest more sun and rain.

Contact Lifescape Colorado today to help your landscape better cope with drought and heat.

Protect Your Plants From the Effects of Water Stress

Plants that don’t grow, bloom or flourish like they should are often victims of water stress. This is especially true in our Rocky Mountain region where drought and extreme temperature changes can be detrimental, if not fatal, to non-native plants. There are several things you can do to protect your plants from water stress — the most important of which is planning a water-wise landscape.

protecting plants from water stress

Source: Feelart via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is water stress?

Water stress can occur in two ways. The first is when roots lack an adequate water supply. The second source of water stress is transpiration — a process by which water evaporates from the stems and leaves. In dry climates, transpiration can easily exceed hydration, which is detrimental to plant health.

Your plants will tell you when they’re suffering from a lack of water. Signs of water stress include:

  • Wilting
  • Less intense coloration
  • Reduced or non-existent blooms and/or fruits
  • Death

In some cases, soil amendments and irrigation adjustments may do the trick. You might even transplant the victims to a site with more ideal growing conditions. In a worst case scenario, you may lose the plant altogether.

The following tips can help you avoid water stress on your landscape.

Traditional Landscape

Source: Milieu Design via Houzz

Design a drought-tolerant landscape. Planting a drought-tolerant landscape is the simplest way to prevent water-stress. Water-wise landscaping in Colorado begins with knowing your own landscape, amending the soil as needed and planting more native plant species, or species that are well-suited to arid climates.

water stress

Source: Organic Gardening

Amend your soil. Organic soil amendments make a remarkable difference in the soil’s ability to retain water. Each soil type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Organic soil amendments create sponge-like clumps that retain water and enhance soil nutrients.

water stress

Source: Organic Gardening

Use mulch. A healthy mulch layer, up to four-inches deep, greatly reduces soil evaporation rates and will also insulate root beds from extreme heat and cold.

Are you worried about water stress? Contact Lifescape Colorado, and our maintenance team can evaluate your current landscape and make recommendations for a more water-wise landscape.

Simple Spring Landscaping Tips

Spring is less than a month away, which means spring landscaping in Colorado is just around the corner. While it’s still a little early for planting without the worry of snow or frost, there is plenty you can do to finalize plans, prepare the soil and begin enhancing your curb appeal.

5 Simple Spring Landscaping Tips to Get You in the Mood

BKS030725.jpg.rendition.p

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Go ahead and plant. Just do it indoors where your plants will be safe from the remainder of our storms and freezes. Use small pots to sow hardy annuals and perennials to add to your garden in late spring.

Houzz

Source: Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects via Houzz

Finalize your plans. By this point, you should have a strategy in place for spring landscaping. These questions can get you started:

  • Are you hiring a professional landscaping company?
  • Will the work be done in phases or all at once?
  • Have you identified the areas that get the most sun, wind and shade, as well as those with drainage issues?
  • What pests will you be dealing with, and are you prepared for them with fencing, mesh, and/or pest-resistant plantings?
100030288.jpg.rendition.p

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Clean up your current landscape. Use weekends to begin cutting back ornamental grasses and late-blooming fall perennials. Remove dead plant material and garden debris. When the weather is nice enough, you can start turning the soil bed by bed, being careful of perennial roots and bulbs. You can also use Lifescape’s professional landscaping and maintenance services to prepare your landscape.

100030271.jpg.rendition.p

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Prepare lawns. Nothing is worse than staring at brown patches of lawn once spring is in full swing. Take soil samples to test the pH of your soil. Amend the soil as necessary and add appropriate fertilizers. Your soil will be ready for reseeding in late spring.

MPC105003.jpg.rendition.largest

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Prepare plant beds. Similar rules apply to your plant beds. Remove dead plant material and turn the soil. Cover them with plastic sheets to create a greenhouse effect, which will warm the soil below so it’s ready for late spring plantings.

Contact Lifescape Colorado for professional assistance with your spring landscaping in Colorado.