Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Summer Gardening Tips & Tricks

If you speak with any long-time gardener, you’ll hear stories of trial-and-error, great ideas gone wrong and accidental happenings gone right. Take advantage of this wisdom, and apply these Colorado gardening tips to your own landscape design.

Learn New Colorado Gardening Tips & Tricks for Your Summer Garden

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Raise the mower blade. Sure, a perfectly manicured lawn is attractive, but it also means your grass is more prone to heat and water stress. Shade from taller grass blades protects the soil from dehydration and mowing grass more than one-third its natural height can cause root stress. Raise those blades a little and leave the lawn clippings in place if you can stand it for added nutrient value. If not, place them into your compost pile for next year’s garden.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Weekly weeding prevents new seeding. As most gardeners already know, the prolific summer sun can transform weed seedlings into beasts practically overnight. Try to dedicate one morning each week to removing bothersome plants. Or, you can hire the maintenance team at Lifescape Colorado to do it for you!

colorado landscape designers

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Sand your saucers. We love container gardens, but midsummer heat can be brutal for them. Plants in terra cotta pots are especially vulnerable to heat/water stress because they accelerate evaporation. Since standing saucer water encourages root rot and mosquito growth, try adding a bed of sand in saucers and keep them wet. This will help keep pots cool.

denver landscape architects

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Mulch it up. If you spread a cursory layer of mulch each spring, take a day to lay an extra inch or two on your plant beds. This will minimize heat stress, optimize soil water retention and cut down on those pesky aforementioned weeds.

denver landscape architects

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Maintain your irrigation system. This is the season to walk your irrigation lines and make sure leaks, blockages, breaks, etc., aren’t preventing precious water from getting to your plants.

Do you have some midsummer gardening tricks of your own? Lifescape Colorado would love to read them in the comment box below!

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.

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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.

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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.

Natural Pest Control Solutions for Colorado Gardens

Landscaping with sustainable practices in mind can help eliminate toxic pesticides that are harmful to the environment. There’s a learning curve involved, but the benefits far outweigh any inconveniences. In addition to polluting the air, soil and water, pesticides also wipe out huge populations of beneficial insects that help eliminate harmful garden pests that can damage your plants.

Take a moment to learn about some of the natural pest control solutions you can use to eradicate the pests you don’t want, while keeping beneficial insects and critters alive and active.

Contemporary Patio by Jersey City Design-Build Firms Brunelleschi Construction

Source: Brunelleschi Construction via Houzz

Use birdhouses and bird baths. Talk about a two-fer; birds who prey on garden pests want nothing to do with your fruits and veggies. We’re fortunate to have a whole host of insect-loving birds here in Colorado, such as bluebirds, nuthatches, grosbeaks, chickadee, swallows and more. Providing a habitat for them near your garden gives them ample access to the creepy crawly things they love to feed their hatchlings. Plus, you get to watch the interesting and playful behaviors displayed by these intriguing members of the animal kingdom.

Eclectic Exterior by Wayne General Contractors Janiczek Homes

Source: Janiczek Homes via Houzz

Raise chickens. Even a hen or two will do their part in eating predatory garden insects. They also like greens and veggies so it’s usually best to feed chickens hand-picked garden pests, and then let them have free reign of the beds in between crops to eliminate pests and fertilize the soil.

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Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Identify good guys. It’s worth your while to identify beneficial insects so you know who to keep and who to pick off. Some of Colorado’s native insects are your best ally in eliminating harmful pests. Examples include:

  • Spiders
  • Assassin Bugs
  • Lady Bugs
  • Green Lacewings
  • Syrphid Flies
  • Ground Beetles
  • Preying Mantids
  • And so many more!

You can consult this fantastic guide from CSU to learn more.

colorado landscaping services

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Organic insecticides. There are plenty of organic pesticide options as well, including diatomaceous earth (DE), horticulture oils and Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Make sure you discuss them with your landscape designer to learn more about how to use these insecticides.

Lifescape Colorado is committed to helping you design and maintain the most sustainable landscape possible, so make sure you contact us today for more information about our services.

Shady Garden Plans

We all love a little sunshine, but during mid-summer days, a shady garden plan is essential for making the most of your outdoor living space, as well as for enjoying plants that are less tolerant of direct sunlight. The following tips can help you create a Colorado landscape design that balances sun and shade.

Traditional Landscape by Far Hills Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Deborah Cerbone Associates, Inc.

Source: Deborah Cerbone Associates, Inc. via Houzz

Start with the shade you have. Lot orientation, existing trees and architectural features already provide a certain level of shade. Depending on how involved you want to get, you can create a garden plan that’s season specific, or you can create a more well-rounded plan that will provide visual interest for the whole year. If you like the idea of changing areas of your garden plan on a seasonal basis, working with a professional landscape company will make your job a lot easier.

Contemporary Landscape by Bainbridge Island Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Bliss Garden Design

Source: Bliss Garden Design via Houzz

Watch your landscape throughout the year, and specifically through the warm weather months. You may find that a particular area enjoys a good deal of shade already, which makes it a prime spot for adding a small patio, a cozy seating area, or perhaps a water feature for an outdoor heat retreat.

Traditional Landscape by Bolingbrook Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors

Source: Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors via Houzz

From trees to ground cover. A garden plan that aims for shade and shade-tolerant plants, should include plants ranging from tall trees to barely-there-ground cover. For example, a beautiful and fragrant Witch Hazel tree (Hamamelis virginiana), which grows about 15-feet tall and provides winter color, can be your primary canopy. Below this tree, you can grow plants and flowers ranging in all shapes and sizes, including Hosta (18-22 inches), False Speria (12-14 inches) Bethlehem Sage (12-inches) and a shade-loving ground cover of your choice. The different plant heights, colors and widths are a picture unto themselves.

Traditional Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Glenna Partridge Garden Design

Source: Glenna Partridge Garden Design via Houzz

Don’t forget the soil. Your shade garden can only be as healthy as the soil its planted in. Make sure you’ve amended your soil with organic components. Water won’t evaporate as quickly from a shade garden. Your soil should be well-draining so roots don’t rot in standing water.

Would you like some assistance adding a shade garden to your Colorado landscape plan? Contact Lifescape Colorado today for assistance designing your dream outdoor space.

Bountiful Bee and Hummingbird Gardens

A sustainable landscape design taps into the relationship we share with our living, breathing world. This means making conscientious choices about the types of trees, plants and flowers we decide to incorporate into our landscapes.

If sustainable Colorado gardening is important to you, try keeping wildlife, such as bees and hummingbirds, in mind when selecting your plants. You’ll be repaid with beautiful blooms and ample visual entertainment to while away lazy summer afternoons.

Here are a couple tips for growing your own bountiful bee and hummingbird garden.

Traditional Landscape by Lincoln Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Source: Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens via Houzz

Think “native” and they will come. One of the most delightful gifts of planting a native, drought tolerant garden is being able to attract the local population of bees, birds and butterflies to your landscape. These are the plants they have adapted to our climate over thousands of years. By using native plants, you’ll provide the pollen, seeds, fruits and nectar our local wildlife depends on year-round.

Traditional Landscape by Austin Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers J. Peterson Garden Design

Source: J. Peterson Garden Design via Houzz

Plant tubular blooms. Hummingbirds are nectar feeders. Pollination occurs when their feet or feathers brush against a flower and its pollen is transported to the next nectar station. Their prominent beaks and amazingly dexterous tongues are attracted to colorful tubular blooms, such as the climbing Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), virtually any species of Penstemon, especially Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius), honeysuckles and salvias.

Landscape by Lincoln Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Source: Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens via Houzz

Pollen for the pollinators. Bees use pollen to make honey, so pollen-rich plants are a must for any bee and hummingbird garden. Your best bet is to use heirloom plant species because hybrid and genetically modified plants don’t have the same quantity/quality of pollen as their ancestors.

Traditional Landscape by Chicago Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers The Brickman Group, Ltd.

Source: The Brickman Group, Ltd. via Houzz

Baths and watering holes. Using a shallow bird bath with a large stone in the middle is another treat you can set up to keep bees and hummingbirds in your good graces. Birds like to use baths to wash themselves — usually in the early mornings — and both birds and bees will use it to hydrate themselves throughout the day. Placing a rock in the middle will help prevent thirsty bees from drowning.

Finally, go organic! Pesticides and herbicides can mean the death of these gorgeous winged creatures. Would you like professional assistance with your Colorado garden design? If so, contact Lifescape Colorado today!