Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Easy Steps to a More Water-Wise Garden

Here in Colorado, we’re no strangers to drought and water restrictions, and this is why water conservation is important to many gardeners. During the driest, hottest seasons, a beautiful garden may seem impossible to achieve, but this is not true. A few smart changes can make your garden both water-wise and beautiful.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Replace the Lawn

Turf requires a lot of water to stay healthy and green. You’ll save significantly on water if you remove traditional grass and replace it with a lawn alternative. Use any kind of hardy, drought-resistant groundcover or choose one that looks similar to grass, such as Cara panza.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Choose Drought-Resistant Plants

Like the lawn, replace thirsty plants with water-wise plants that handle dry periods easily.  Most varieties native to the area are suitable, since they have the capability to thrive in our climate.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Keep Plants Healthy

Healthy plants require less water than sickly plants. To keep plants healthy, make sure your soil is in good condition. In most cases, this means that it’s nutrient-packed and well-draining, but holds enough moisture to keep plants happy.

Plants also do best when fertilized and kept in a weed-free, pest-free landscape environment. Don’t neglect this maintenance!

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Use Mulch

Mulch prevents weed growth near plants and prevents water from evaporating quickly from the soil. Using mulch will reduce the need to water as frequently.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Use Smart Watering Techniques

Anytime you water with a hose or with an overhead sprinkler, you’re wasting water. Choose drip irrigation instead. To maximize your savings, install a Rainbird Smart Irrigation Controller. This device will take the guesswork out of when to water and how much to water.

Also, invest in a rain barrel. You’ll help save an important resource and make plants happy.

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Source: Arterra LLP Landscape Architects via Houzz

Plan Your Layout Wisely

The thirstiest plants should be grouped together and separate from drought resistant plants. Hydrozoning is another step to minimize water waste.

Let Lifescape Colorado help you discover the best water-wise plan for your garden landscape and care for your landscape maintenance needs. Visit our website today to learn more.

Fabulous Water-Wise Perennials for Colorado Gardens

As you begin to plan your spring garden, don’t neglect the power of growing native plants. There are multiple benefits to prioritizing native plants in your garden. They’re hardier and are able to withstand hot dry summers and freezing winters. They also require less water than non-native counterparts and will also attract birds, bees and butterflies to enhance your outdoor environment.

Sustainable plants are also a great choice, as they require zero to little watering for up to three years once established. Before you make your final selections, evaluate your landscape and identify which areas have well-draining soil and which areas get the most sun. These are the optimal locations for your drought-tolerant perennials.

Here are some suggestions for fabulous water-wise perennials that will keep you smiling year after year.

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Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Jupiter’s Beard. This cheerful plant grows between 2- to 3-feet tall and 2-feet wide. This species (Centranthus ruber) has deep-pink blooms, while Centrathus alba has white blooms. They grow on upright stalks with blue-tinged leaves and will bloom from spring all the way through fall with regular deadheading. Butterflies love them!

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Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Candy Tuft (Iberis sempervirens). Have a tumble of boulders you’d like to adorn? Meet Candy Tuft. Growing no more than 12-inches high, these crisp white blooms sit atop verdant green mounds of foliage. They look beautiful sitting between earthen gaps in rock formations or creating foreground interest in planters and edgings.

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Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Western Spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis). This lush and delicate grass-like foliage combined with beautiful blue-purple blooms makes it hard to believe Western Spiderwort does so well in our arid climate. It’s a beautiful addition to your meadow or wild grass garden and will bloom from spring to early summer. It attracts butterflies, but is deer resistant.

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Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Purple Mullein (Verbascum phoeniceum). This will look wonderful right alongside your Western Spiderwort, a wildflower garden or mixed-borders. Purple Mullein grows about 2-feet high and will spread just a little more than a foot. It’s a biennial with a relatively short spring blooming season. However, it does self-sow without taking over your garden bed.

Looking for the right Colorado native plants to enhance your sustainable, water-wise landscape? Contact the design professionals at Lifescape Colorado for more information.

Celebrate Worldwide Plant a Flower Day!

Itching to get your green thumb back in the garden again? Then get ready to celebrate Worldwide Plant a Flower Day on March 12, 2014. On this day, you can honor the transformation that occurs after planting a seed, through germination and sprouting, to enjoying your first full blooms. Plus, it offers a good excuse to get a head start on growing your Colorado container gardens.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

In our climate, seeds-to-seedlings do best when cultivated indoors this time of year. While the temperatures around March 12th may hint at Spring, we know the chances of another freeze or full-blown storm are high. Therefore, consider recycling old containers, such as yogurt or milk cartons, for your initial plantings. Wash them thoroughly, add drainage, use a high-quality chemical-free soil and plant the seeds of your choice.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

The writers at Everyday Gardeners recommend planing perennials that do well in our arid, high-elevation location. If you didn’t get your favorite bulbs into the ground last fall, you can cheat by using containers and still enjoy their colorful beauty this spring. Whether you choose to plant a single bulb in smaller pots, or a series of specifically placed bulbs in larger pots, container gardening will allow you to cultivate tulips, hyacinth, iris, daffodils and other cheerful blooms. You’ll have another chance to transplant them this fall.

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Source: decordemon via Houzz

While your seeds are germinating, look around for other materials that can be recycled or re-purposed into permanent containers when your seedlings are ready to find a new home. By the time most of your seeds are ready to be transplanted, the weather will be much more stable. If you’re concerned at all about their well-being, use smaller containers that can be easily lifted, or put larger containers on flats with wheels before you plant them. That way, you can move your plants under cover, into the garage, or into the house to keep them out of the storm.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Don’t forget that Lifescape Colorado offers year-round maintenance and landscape services, and that includes your Colorado container gardens! Contact us to learn more.

Top Native Plants of the Mountains

Winter is the season to plan next year’s garden. At Lifescape Colorado, we’re committed to implementing green and sustainable landscapes, which means planting more Colorado native plants. After all, our native plants are more drought- and fire-resistant than other non-native counterparts.

As you begin sketching your garden layout, make sure to include the following top native plants of the mountains in your design.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Korean feather reedgrass (Calamagrostis brachytricha). If you love the soft, feathery and low-maintenance presence of ornamental grasses, Korean feather reedgrass is a great alternative to overused varieties seen everywhere else. They grow about 2 feet high and the feathered, flowered stalks will soar to about 3 to 4 feet high. The flowers have a light pink tinge when they bloom in the late summer, and they fade to a pale golden shade, which adds interest during the winter months.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja integra). It’s no surprise how this fire-resistant native flower got its name. The fiery, orange-red color of an Indian Paintbrush is actually comprised of bracts, not flowers. Its flowers are much smaller and interspersed amidst the bracts. Indian Paintbrush thrive with full sun and well-drained soil. You’ll also love the hummingbirds it attracts.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens). It makes good sense to list Pasqueflowers next because they look great next to Indian Paintbrush. They also enjoy the same soil, sun and low-water environment. They non-aggressively reseed on their own.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha). Who doesn’t love a Prickly Pear cactus for a unique and interesting change from traditional greenery and flowers. While they remain a gray-green cactus year-round, you’ll enjoy bright yellow and pink blooms in the spring. And, of course, they’re the ultimate in drought-resistance.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Red Hyssop (Agastache rupestris). Your Colorado landscape will benefit from both texture and color when you plant Red Hyssop. This greenery has a silver sheen and the tall, graceful blooms add splashes of apricot, red, salmon or magenta, depending on the varieties you select. Red Hyssop is also a favorite amongst butterflies and hummingbird. Plus, deer and rabbit will leave them alone!

Contact the design team at Lifescape Colorado to plan your landscape using hardy Colorado native plants.

Organic Gardening Tips & Tricks

A cornerstone of sustainable landscaping in Colorado is making the commitment to organic gardening practices. This involves eliminating chemicals, amending soil naturally and being patient as you learn what works and what doesn’t.

The following gardening tips and tricks shed light on what organic gardening is and the techniques you can apply to your backyard landscape.

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Source: Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture via Houzz

Cleanse your toxic gardening stash

This step involves eliminating harmful chemicals from your weed-and-pest-defense toolbox. They may be effective, but they’re also harmful to a myriad of beneficial life forms, including yourself, your family and wildlife. We recommend taking them to a local hazardous waste disposal site.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Prepare your soil

Your plants will thrive when their roots are nestled in properly amended and chemical-free soil. Plants, like humans, need just the right amount of food, water, space and sun. Organic materials help to aerate soil, retain ideal moisture levels and provide nutrients.

You can also make your own compost at home. Starting a compost pile requires very little space and is an easy way to make your own fertilizer. It will provide the materials both your soil and beneficial microorganisms need to make a healthy plant bed. Consider starting an earthworm bin for further soil enrichment.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Pests-be-gone

Other options for eliminating pests include:

  • Trap cropping. This article from Houzz describes how co-planting crops can lure pests to “decoy” plants. They can also attract the right natural pest predators. Don’t try this unless you have a pest problem, otherwise you will lure new pests to your garden.
  • Natural predators. You can use ladybugs, praying mantises and nematodes, which are all natural predators of common garden pests.
  • Weeding. Be proactive about weeds. Laying the right ground cover, like mulch, will prevent weeds from taking root. Follow these instructions from organicgardener.com to control weeds organically.

 

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Source: GreenCraft Associates via Houzz

The result of your efforts will be a beautiful, healthy and sustainable garden. Want professional help with sustainable landscaping in Colorado? Contact Lifescape Colorado today.