Tag Archives: Denver landscape design

Common Gardening Mistakes to Avoid in Colorado

Here in Colorado, gardeners often face difficult weather patterns and variations in soil types from region to region. But no matter which area you call home, gardening requires patience and knowledge as even skilled gardeners can make mistakes. Here are a few common gardening mistakes to avoid this season.

colorado landscape architects

Source: Colin McGuire via Country Living

Not preparing soil well enough before planting. Soil should be tested for acidity and alkalinity. It’s better to amend soil and meet your plants’ needs instead of having to fix the problem later on. Remember to work the soil, break up clumps and add your amendments to a depth of 12 inches.

colorado landscape designers

Source: Colin McGuire via Country Living

Mistaking your plants for weeds. Before many types of plants start budding, they may resemble weeds. Avoid a case of mistaken identity by placing identifying tags in the soil. If don’t have any tags, make your own with hard plastic pieces and a waterproof marker.

colorado landscape architects

Source: Colin McGuire via Country Living

Planting diseased or pest-ridden plants. A diseased or infested plant can wreak havoc on a garden quickly. Check plants carefully before adding them to your landscape. Look for yellowed foliage, brown spots and any suspicious marks that could indicate a diseased plant. When checking for pests, remember that aphids and spider mites are small and hard to find. Don’t forget to look beneath leaves, where many pests like to hide. If you don’t spot any bugs, remember to look for other common signs of infestation, such as webs or blisters.

colorado landscaping services

Source: Southern Living

Overwatering or underwatering. Moisture requirements vary among different types of plants, as well as whether or not they’re established or newly planted. Familiarize yourself with your plants’ needs and group those with similar requirements next to each other. Consider also investing in a smart controller with a rain sensor.

One of the best ways to avoid these gardening mistakes is to seek expert help. Our professional team at Lifescape Colorado can answer all of your questions and keep your landscape vibrant and healthy. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you design a beautiful garden.

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.