Tag Archives: Lifescape Associates

Designing Landscapes & Gardens with Stone

Water features are one of the most desirable elements you can incorporate into your landscape, but they’re typically designed for water sourced from a well or municipal water facility. Ironically, your Colorado landscape may not be equipped for the “real” water that needs to find egress during and after storms, or during the melt, keeping your foundation, walkways, and outdoor common areas free of pooling water.

Interested in Designing Landscapes & Gardens With Stone? Create a Dry Creek Bed

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

A dry creek bed is a functional and artistic way to use beautiful stones and rocks – from your own property or elsewhere – to design drainage ditches that look interesting year-round and serve a purpose when needed.

Use the following tips to begin planning your design, then get in touch with Lifescape to integrate the engineering touches and materials to ensure your creek bed drains water effectively.

  1. Study water. The more you understand how water moves, the better chance your creek bed will function, so it diverts water intentionally while providing substantial visual interest via the stones and landscaping you use. It’s a great excuse to get out there on a crisp fall day and hike to your favorite river or stream for observation. Do take notes!
  2. Think about shape and size. Water rarely moves in a straight line in nature. Rather, it meanders as it follows the lay of the land. Begin thinking about how your land is shaped and how it slopes. This will give you an idea of how your creek bed should be laid out. Then consider how much water runs through the area via your roof gutters, potential flood scenarios, during a hard rain, etc., to determine the best width and depth. Use at least a 2:1 ratio.
  3. Start collecting your rocks. Rocks are the staple ingredient and there are many types to choose from. Typically, the bottom of your bed will use smaller river stones and the edges will use larger rocks and perhaps even a boulder or two. You can dot the middle with attractive larger stones of your choice, always taking water flow into consideration.

For more information on designing your Colorado landscape, contact Lifescape Colorado for details.

Can Your Dog Dig It? Pet Inspired Gardens & Landscapes

Dogs have long been man’s best friend and both interior and exterior designs can take the Dog of the House into consideration. If you’re planning a Colorado landscape design for a new piece of property or are ready to re-vamp your existing landscape, consider adding landscape and hardscape features your dog will dig.

Dog Inspired Gardens and Landscapes

Design for the breed. Dog breeds emerged as humans custom-bred their canines for looks and personality. Consider your dog’s personality when planning your landscape. Is your dog a digger? Will he stay out of water? Does she prefer to spend a good deal of time outdoors, “guarding the fort?” Plan for a landscape that accommodates these traits with boundaries to keep a digger off the lawn, bridges, and sloped sides with water features for a comfortable but stylish house.

Safety first. Your dog’s safety is a primary consideration, second is the safety of your garden! It’s always a good idea to have some portion of the yard that is securely fenced with plenty of room for Fifi to walk and play a bit. It can keep her safe from the weekly landscape maintenance team or from finding a rogue gap in the perimeter fence when you’re not at home. Fences also protect your herb and vegetable gardens from digging and/or chewing.

Photo via  Huettl Landscape Architecture via Houzz

Water features. Add a dog-specific water feature to gain a fountain and watering hole in one. If you have a pool or pond, install a safe walking bridge, a fence, and/or sloped edges so dogs will stay out or can get out when you aren’t around. Even the most water-friendly dogs can struggle if they can’t get a good foothold when their swim is over.

Use Non-toxic plants. Be careful of the plants and flowers used in your landscape. Some of them, such as azaleas, amaryllis, and daylilies can cause problems. Consult this list of Plants to Keep Away From Pets if you have a dog prone to chewing foliage and blooms. On the flip side, plants like burdock, peppermint, astragalus and milk thistle are attractive and healthy landscape additions.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

For more advice on landscaping your home or selecting a landscape that is pet-friendly, consult with Lifescape Colorado for more information.

Landscape Illumination: Modern Light Designs for Gardens

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Much of the information about landscape lighting involves twinkly lights, lanterns, and other fixtures that are decidedly traditional in appearance. Where does this leave the modernist? If fairy lights aren’t your thing, we have plenty of ideas to design landscape illumination for modern gardens with nary a twinkle in sight.

Ideas for Designing Landscape Illumination for Modern Gardens

One of the most noticeable features of modern landscape lighting is that the lights are more integrated with the landscape rather than standing out as individual fixtures. You’ll observe plants that seem to glow from within, seemingly source-less ambient lighting and perhaps even sculptures, containers, or other accent features that include lights as an intrinsic part of their design.

Lighting for Safety. Your first consideration, especially for the dark, snowy and icy months is to illuminate your property for safety. Use sleek built-in lighting for walkways and stairs and provide overhead lighting at entrances and porches to help them stand out. Consider using recessed lights in your awnings or overhangs, rather than traditional wall-mounted fixtures. To accommodate for the snow, you’ll also want to include sleek light posts that will shine above the snow to outline driveway(s) and walkways.

Features that Glow. The advent of LED and/or solar lighting has created a wealth of landscape sculptures and artwork that have built-in luminaries. Look for landscape features that are designed to glow, like these garden pots. Their spherical shape and radiant glow are striking once the sun sets and add a decidedly modern and eclectic feel.

Focus on downlighting and uplighting. Perhaps one of the best ways to minimize fixtures and optimize your lighting effect is to use a combination of down- and uplights. Downlights can be used for safety but also add a little cone of light to warm up darker pockets or corners of your landscape. Thoughtfully placed uplights or spotlights make it look as if your trees, shrubs, and other landscape features have a glow of their own.

Contact the design team at Lifescape Colorado when you’re ready to complement your landscape with a modern lighting design.

Incorporating Elemental Sound Into Your Garden

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

It isn’t as if outdoor pleasures are a mystery; watching the seasons change, connecting with nature, observing local wildlife - all of these are a given. At the deeper level, however, perhaps we enjoy our personal landscapes because they provide a complete sensory experience.

Incorporating Elemental Sound Into Gardens to Please the Senses

When you sit or work outside, you enjoy rich visual input: the feel of the breeze, sun, plants, etc., on your skin and you can smell the earth, plant matter, and blooms. You even have the ability to taste fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden. In a city- or urbanscape, though, there’s a good chance natural sounds have been overridden by man-made ones, and these tips can help to incorporate elemental sounds back into your garden.

Start with the floor. Concrete tiles or pavers create a relatively quiet walkway, while gravel can produce a very satisfying crunch. Would you like to replicate the sacred silence of the forest? Then line your pathways or sitting areas with a more soft and sound-absorbent material such as mulch.

Harness the wind. Add another dimension to a breezy day by planting ornamental grasses. Conifers can also add sound to airflow, as can bamboo. Your grasses will sparkle and whisper from a gentle to moderate breeze, while conifers can transform high-winds into the sound of crashing waves and bamboo yields a rattle-like noise. Wind chimes are another means of transforming wind into sound, from the fairly-like tinkle of delicate chimes to the low, gong-like resonance from larger versions.

Integrate water. Of course, water features are another way to add one of nature’s most soothing sounds. From small wall-mounted fountains to full-fledged waterfalls and streams, you can control the flow, drop and landing of the water on your property in order to create the sound you want. Installing ball valves on the outlet portion of a water pump or changing the placement of rocks in the pool’s bottom, will help you orchestrate the sound.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to design the landscape elements that create a multi-sensory and sound-rich experience in your garden.

Stylish Hardscapes for Gardens with Pets

Are you using this fall and winter season to plan beautiful landscape and hardscape designs for the warm season? Typically, we advise clients to take a moment to consider how the people in the household envision using the landscape and yard space before making any permanent plans. If you’re a pet owner, however, we recommend taking a few extra moments to consider how the animals in your life use your back and side yard.

Tips for Designing Stylish Hardscapes for Gardens with Pets

There’s no doubt about it; pets can wreak havoc on your landscape. The more you can identify your pets’ patterns in the yard, the better we can plan for stylish hardscape designs that will protect the look and function of your outdoor spaces without sacrificing style. Here are some design features to think about:

Pathways. Is there an area of the yard that Fido loves to race through? If so, we bet the plants, grass and other greenery in that area look a little worse for wear. Plus, if you’re not careful, a rogue branch or thorn can cause physical harm to an exuberant pet. Most animals are creatures of habit so why not convert this popular “run” into a bona-fide pathway, complete with pavers, concrete slabs, or pebbles.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Patios. Most pets have favorite snoozing or lounging zones. In the summer months, this is most likely a north-facing wall that provides a cool shady spot. In the winter, they may choose a southern- or western-facing area. These can be good spots to add a patio or deck space, easy to clean off year-round.

Hardscaping materials. Make sure your hardscaping materials are also pet-friendly. In most cases, we recommend pavers set with a little space in between them. They’re easy on paws, can be hosed down when needed and the spaces ensure excess water is recycled back into the ground. Plus, you can grow gorgeous greenery in between the spaces for a more natural look.

Ready to design pet-friendly and stylish hardscape features for your Colorado landscape? Contact Lifescape and we’ll be happy to help.