Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

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.

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.

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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!

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.

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.

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.

colorado landscaping services

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.