Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Water-Wise Perennials for Colorado Xeriscapes

If you picture cacti, sparse shrubbery, and rocks when you think of xeriscaping, please don’t! Even though xeriscaping might have quite a “dry” reputation, it can actually manifest into vivid, dynamic garden landscapes. According to Colorado State University, the recent ingenuity and experimentation of modern gardeners has resulted in a new positive outlook on water-wise gardens — one that is supported by the recent widespread availability of water-wise plants from dry climates around the globe.

Water-Wise Perennials for Colorado Xeriscapes

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Just because water-wise plants survive on less water than other more traditional varieties doesn’t mean they aren’t also beautiful. In reality, they have the potential to be not only useful but also vibrant and provocative. In a modern Colorado garden, you’ll often find grasses, perennials, and wildflowers that are native to the Rocky Mountain area. Another popular option is introducing plants originally hailing from the Himalayas, Andes, Middle East, and South Africa.

Perennials are well-suited for Colorado xeriscapes for several reasons. They survive for more than two years, require plenty of sun to flower, and rejuvenate the landscape. Of course, native plants are also loved for their drought tolerance and infrequent need for watering. We absolutely love the idea of mixing them with shrub borders and especially using them to create a unique, visual display of color.

Popular water-wise perennials native to Western North America are pentsemons which create stunning red, orange, white, blue, and lavender flowers, red-orange blanket flower, and crimson-flowered beebalm.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Other prized North America flowers include yellow black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, poppy mallow, New England aster, gayfeather, and perennial flax.

Add a bit more flavor to your garden with perennials from the Mediterranean region. Three that typically thrive in Colorado are lavender, red valerian, and iris.

For the lucky homeowners with numerous trees, a select few water-wise perennials will actually do quite well in shady conditions. These plants include golden banner, cardinal flower, candy tuft, harebell, gasplant, pansy, and columbine.

With drought being a big concern for most of Colorado, you can’t argue that planting water-wise perennials are a smart decision. For help selecting the perfect perennials for your Colorado xeriscape, contact Lifescape.

Lifescape Colorado Wins an ELITE Award from ALCC

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

We are excited to announce that Lifescape has won an ELITE (Elevating the Landscape Industry Through Excellence) Award from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC). The award was given for our Castle Pines Residence project in the Installation/Construction category. The project was recognized by our industry peers as the top in landscape design and construction in the state of Colorado in 2014, so this is a tremendous honor.

Source: Lifescape

Source: Lifescape

The Castle Pines Residence represents a mountain modern landscaping style. This can be seen through “a simplified plant palette, crushed gravel, clean lines, and a few perfectly placed landscape features,” according to the award judges. In addition, each part of the landscape features a focal point, such as a garden, a sculpture that complements its surroundings, a fire pit, and a winding path that leads to a patio. Together the project delivers style and functionality.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

We enjoyed working with the client’s architect to blend the landscape with the design of the home. Located in the Castle Pines Valley in Castle Rock, Colorado, the home is in the middle of the wilderness, set back from the road about 400 feet. Despite its rugged setting, the landscape features well-manicured turf and hand-pruned boxwoods that complement a native grass meadow. Another unique feature of the home is the rooftop landscape that was installed above a newly added automobile gallery. Care was taken to be sure it looks like it is a part of the original home.

Let us design an award-winning landscape for you by contacting Lifescape.

Practical Water Saving Ideas with a Water Wise Fountain

Even with water restrictions and water conservation efforts, it is still possible to enjoy a beautiful water fountain in your yard. Here are some practical water saving ideas for a water wise fountain:

Practical Water Saving Ideas with a Water Wise Fountain

Source: Lifescape Colorado

  • Install your water fountain, especially those with long, shallow pools, in a shady area to minimize evaporation, as warm water evaporates quicker than cool water.
  • Decrease wind evaporation with strategically placed plants and fences or barriers around the water feature.
  • If you can choose a water feature that cascades down rather than sprays up, do so. This will help conserve water by minimizing evaporation.

Some other practical water wise tips for fountains include:

  • Minimize surface area of the fountain as well as splash and overspray from fountains to decrease evaporation.
  • Choose a bubbling fountain, which can recirculate water as it flows down the sides of the vessel.
  • Install a fountain such that it waters surrounding plants.
  • Place permeable plants and materials around fountains so water can be absorbed into the ground.
  • Supply your fountains with runoff or recycled water.
  • Place a decorative rain barrel under a set of rain chains to create a “fountain” from the water collected.

Let’s say you already have a water fountain installed on your property, and you’re looking for ways to make it conserve more water without replacing it. Some options include adjusting the spray to no higher than four inches, decreasing water levels to reduce splash, only turning fountains on at certain times such as when you are entertaining, and being sure there are no cracks or leaks in your fountain.

How do you conserve water in your landscape? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Maintain Landscapes Naturally & Efficiently with Greenscaping

If you want your lawn to reflect your clean lifestyle, greenscaping is the way to go. Knowing where to start, however, is another matter entirely. Each year, American homeowners spend countless hours every year mowing, raking, clipping, and landscaping. Just by trying to keep our landscapes and property values up to par, we create an unnerving amount of waste.

Additionally, yard waste contributes to already overflowing landfills known to produce methane gas and carbon dioxide, harmful gasses associated with climate change. You can take charge of your own environmental impacts by greenscaping — grasscycling, mulching, and composting. Not only can you better your environment, but you can save money in the process!

Grasscycling

Grasscycling is an incredibly simple way to reduce yard waste. All it entails is mowing your grass to no lower than 2 to 3 inches tall. Then, you leave the grass clippings where they fall and allow them to naturally decompose. Healthy grass shouldn’t be cut more than an inch, and because grass clippings are composed of 90 percent water, they will decompose and return nutrients to the soil quickly. One study has also suggested that grasscycling takes up to 38 percent less time than conventional mowing.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Mulching

Organic mulch made from chipped or shredded wood waste and dried leaves can greatly benefit your landscape. Mulching is the act of spreading thin layers of organic waste around plants and trees to help retain water, reduce weed growth, regulate soil temperatures, and constantly add nutrients back to the soil. As we discussed earlier, grass clippings make for excellent mulch. Another recycling idea is to donate unwanted plants to local schools, churches, and charities.

Composting

Composting turns ordinary yard waste into a natural soil additive that your soil will soak in like a sponge. Compost allows soil to better absorb air and resist erosion. You can create your own compost pile right in the backyard! To get started, just throw in food scraps, fruit peals, manure, grass clippings, and leaves.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Lifescape Colorado is dedicated to helping you make your landscaping dreams come true. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Grow Brilliant Trees with Natural Mulch from the Yard

If your aim is to achieve better tree health and form, mulching is one of the best practices you can adopt.

What is Mulching?

The act of mulching involves placing materials over the soil surface to help reduce water loss, prevent erosion, and reduce weeds. Mulched trees are healthier and more resistant, and you’ll end up spending less time fighting common tree problems.

There are many different kinds of mulch with the two major types being organic and inorganic. Inorganic mulch is not recommended because it does not improve soil structure or provide nutrients. Organic mulch, on the other hand, improves soil quality and fertility and decomposes naturally. Wood chips, pine needles, hardwood, softwood bark, leaves, and compost mixes are all considered acceptable types of organic mulch.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Tips for Growing Brilliant Trees with Natural Mulch 

  • It’s crucial to forego laying down your organic mulch until the area has been fully rid of any lingering weeds. After weeding, make sure the layer of mulch is thick enough to prevent future growth.
  • You’ll need to replenish your mulch several times a year. This practice will help maintain the ideal 2 to 3 inch depth optimal for better mulch performance.
  • Don’t over-pile mulch against the trunks or stems of plants and trees. Doing so can stress the stem tissues and can lead to the development of disease, insect problems, and girdled roots. Also, if mulch is piled high on the trunks of young trees, rodents may inhabit the area and chew away the bark of the tree.
  • If finer mulch is blanketed too thickly, the penetration of water and air may be reduced.
  • Specific plants will benefit from different kinds of mulch, so do your research before choosing a mulch.

    Source: Pixabay

    Source: Pixabay

Improper mulching materials and practices can result in damage done to your property. Always remember not to go overboard with mulching, as too much can be harmful to your trees. However, with proper methods, the health and value of your trees will skyrocket!

Do you need some guidance with growing brilliant trees on your landscape? Contact Lifescape Colorado today to schedule a consultation.