Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Protect Your Colorado Garden From Drought Conditions

Since much of the western U.S. experiences serious drought conditions, it’s important to remember how to protect our gardens from drought. Here at Lifescape Colorado, we always advocate water-wise landscaping to yield a healthy and vibrant landscape year-round.

These five tips will help you protect your Colorado garden from drought conditions, so you can enjoy your landscaping regardless of the annual rainfall.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Use xeriscape techniques. Your first line of defense against drought is to plant things that don’t require much water in the first place. This is often referred to as xeriscaping. Look for native plants, shrubs and trees that have adapted to our climate. These plantings won’t require much water once established and will also attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your garden.

Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil

Source: http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov via Cornell Extension Cooperative Extension Onondago County

Build healthy soil. Healthy soil retains water by forming sponge-like clumps, which absorb and store water for the roots. A great way to build healthy soil is to start composting. Compost provides consistency, nutrients and the foundation for healthy microbe development, all of which will help your plants through a drought.

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Source: Cornell University

Mulch, mulch, mulch. Plants are susceptible to heat and drought above and below ground. In addition to retaining water, a generous layer of mulch (3 to 4 inches) will also insulate roots, keeping them as cool as possible. We recommend using organic mulch, such as shredded newspaper, grass clippings, bark, wood chips, straw, leaf material, etc.

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Keep a longer lawn. If you have a lawn, keep grass blades at least 3-inches in length. This creates a shadow effect, which slows down evaporation and keeps roots cooler.

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Source: Sura Nualpradid via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Water early in the morning. Set irrigation timers for early morning, so your plants can make the most of the water you provide before it evaporates. If you water by hand, you can enjoy the cooler parts of the day yourself, rather than battling the heat in an effort to water your plants. Avoid watering at night or in the evening, as this tends to encourage disease growth.

Contact Lifescape Colorado for sustainable landscaping maintenance to keep your yard healthy through drought conditions.

Nutrient Storehouse: 5 Great Reasons to Compost

If you’re a fan of the environment and efficiency, you’ll love composting. Compost is a nutrient storehouse created by recycled food and other organic biodegradable matter. Healthy compost can feed landscape and garden beds all season long. Plus, it also increases soil water-retention, which is one of the tenets of water-wise landscaping in Colorado.

Can you tell that Lifescape Colorado is a fan of composting? Soon you will be too! Here are five great reasons to compost.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Composting prevents drought. In our arid climate, drought is always an issue. This is one of the reasons why Lifescape Colorado advocates for planting native, drought-resistant plants. Your water-wise landscape will benefit from composting because it forms healthy soil clusters that work like sponges to soak and store water that roots can tap into for longer periods of time.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Boost your soil’s nutrient content. Your plants need vitamins and minerals just like you do. However, their only nutrient source is the soil their roots are planted in. As food scraps from your kitchen and other organic matter (leaves, livestock manure, etc.) break down, they form a nutrient-rich stew. (Note: If you’re not careful, your compost may do more harm than good. Only pesticide/herbicide-free materials should be composted). When this stew is mixed with the soil in your plant beds, plant roots have a way to tap into the nutrients they need.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Natural plant protector. Because compost-rich soil creates such healthy plants, you’ll find your landscape becomes more impervious to pests and diseases.

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Source: Organic Gardening

It can cleanup tainted soil. If you moved into a home where the previous owner used harmful pesticides and fertilizers, a healthy dose of compost may be just what the soil doctor orders. Compost has been shown to treat semivolatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bind heavy metals and has even been known to eliminate pesticides and wood preservatives. All of this is good for the soil and great for our environment.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Long-term environmental benefits. In addition to cleaning up the soil, composting reduces the amount of garbage you send to the landfills, which also saves on fuel and transportation costs.

Interested in learning more about composting and water-wise landscaping? Contact Lifescape Colorado for more information today.

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.