Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Water Without Waste: Harvest Rainwater for Gardens

What are you doing to harvest the rainwater and snow melt from your landscape? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is, “What? We can harvest that?” Sure you can. Every little bit of water you save from rainwater and snow melt is less water you have to extract from Colorado’s precious groundwater reserves.

Rainwater Harvesting for Landscapes Preserves Colorado’s Water Reserves

Rainwater harvesting is about as simple as it can get. In a nutshell, all you need is a gutter and downspout system large enough to handle the water runoff from your roof, barrels to catch the runoff, and a spigot/hose to get water from the barrels into hoses or irrigation materials that will direct the harvested water to your plants.

Gutters and downspouts. If you have an older home, you may want to refurbish or replace the gutters and downspouts, so they collect every drop they possibly can. For the average roof, gutters need to be at least 5-inches in diameter, and downspouts should have a diameter of at least 3-inches. Larger homes should consider even larger models.

Screens. You will want to place a screen or mesh system at the location where the gutters meet the downspouts to keep the largest leaves, twigs and debris from getting into your barrels. If you get much mosquito action during the warmer months, you’ll want to use finer mesh screens to keep mosquito larvae out of your barrel. Old window screens work perfectly for this.

Barrels with spouts. You can purchase barrels made specifically for collecting water. We have also seen clients recycle full wine barrels for this purpose. If you opt to re-purpose a barrel of some kind, make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned/treated the interior surfaces, so any residual chemicals won’t leach into the water and into your landscape. You certainly don’t want to negatively impact soil, plant, or animal life. Ideally, barrels will be placed in an area that is close to your targeted irrigation spots. Read more about setting up your barrel system.

Finally, do yourself, and the planet, a favor by implementing a xeriscape.

Working towards a drought-tolerant design, combined with smart rainwater harvesting for your landscape, can mean never spending another penny for municipal water. Wouldn’t that be a treat? Interested in implementing a rainwater harvesting system for your Rocky Mountain landscape? Contact Lifescape Colorado.

Proper Shrub Maintenance for Colorado Gardens

Shrubs are not only sustainable options for a healthy garden, but they also add long-term beauty to Colorado landscapes. However, without proper maintenance, even the hardiest of shrubs may succumb to disease. To keep your shrubs healthy and beautiful for many years to come, consider the following garden maintenance tips below.

landscape maintenance denver

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Young or newly planted shrubs require regular watering until they’re fully established. This helps them form a strong root system, vital to health and longevity. Native shrubs are better adapted to our drought-prone climate. Nevertheless, these low-maintenance plants still need to be watered. Many newly planted shrubs require a thorough soaking at least once a week throughout the growing season. You should continue watering through the fall until the ground freezes, especially your evergreen shrubs.

denver landscaping service

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water the soil throughout the root zone. Overhead watering is more wasteful, and sometimes water left on foliage leads to sun scorching. Soil amendments and fertilizer should be applied according to the needs of each specific type of shrub. If you don’t know your soil’s pH level, have it tested and amend it as necessary for your shrubs. Some shrubs prefer more acidity than others do.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Pruning is important for aesthetic reasons, as well as for shrub health. Avoid pruning haphazardly or at the wrong time. Shrubs that flower in early spring can be pruned as soon as they stop blooming. If you prune too early, your shrubs might produce fewer blooms. Shrubs that bloom in the summer should not be pruned until winter after they’ve become dormant or in very early spring before you see them greening.

denver xeriscape

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Both new and established shrubs will thrive better if you remove old, damaged or diseased branches so healthier branches can receive more airflow and sunlight. You should also remove branches that are tangled or are rubbing against other branches.

Good shrub maintenance takes some time and effort. If you’d rather leave the hard work to our experts at Lifescape Colorado, just contact us today, and we’ll get started. We offer a variety of garden and landscape services that can keep your shrubs looking healthy and beautiful.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Is Your Garden as Green as You Think?

A Colorado garden can look and feel like a natural haven, but many landscapes are not as earth-friendly and sustainable as they appear. Your gardening practices, such as the types of plants you choose and the details you focus on, can make a huge difference on your garden’s environmental impact. Here are some tips for making your garden a little bit greener.

Industrial Landscape by Seattle Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Exteriorscapes llc

Source: Exteriorscapes llc via Houzz

Incorporate drought-tolerant plants. Drought is such a common issue in Colorado, but you can conserve more by reducing your garden’s need for water. One way to do this is by choosing drought-resistant plants. These include many colorful growths native to our state, as well as other eye-catching plants, such as the yucca.

Mediterranean Landscape by Santa Barbara Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Donna Lynn - Landscape Designer

Source: Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer via Houzz

Water plants the smart, sustainable way. Reduce water waste by watering early in the morning before temperatures start to rise. This can be accomplished by watering low to the ground, using soaker hoses or low sprinkler systems and installing a smart irrigation controller.

colorado landscaping service

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Create your own compost. Put yard waste into a compost pile rather than throwing it away. Most kitchen scraps, with the exception of meat products and dairy, can be added to compost. After everything breaks down, you’ll be left with a nutrient-rich compost to add to your garden soil. Many plants don’t require much more fertilizer than dark, rich compost.

colorado landscaping service

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Control pests, naturally. Many common garden pests can be controlled without spraying plants with harmful chemicals. Instead, use horticultural oils and let helpful bugs, such as ladybugs and spiders, live in peace in your garden. You can also create inviting habitats to attract particular types of native birds that feast on harmful insects, such as bluebirds. These natural pest control solutions cost little in time and money and can prevent chemical contamination.

Mediterranean Landscape by Woodland Hills Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Shirley Bovshow

Source: Shirley Bovshow via Houzz

Use sustainable hardscaping. Omit solid paved paths in favor of permeable pavers, pea gravel or natural mulch. These features allow rain to flow down into the soil throughout your garden rather than being lost to evaporation.

For help creating a more sustainable garden, contact us at Lifescape Colorado. Our experts understand the special requirements for growing and maintaining a green and sustainable landscape.

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!

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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!