Tag Archives: Colorado landscaping

From Conceptual Design to Budget, Working with a Professional Landscape Architect Reduces Errors

From Pinterest boards to wikiHow, it’s no secret the internet world loves DIY projects. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump to do just any project by yourself. Landscape and interior design are very different, namely because landscape design presents challenges and detours that simply don’t exist in controlled environments, like your home. Landscape design requires a specific skill set, and as your landscape evolves, so will its maintenance and care. We want to share our tips on how to find a landscaper so you can transform your property into the star of the neighborhood.


Source: Lifescape

Establish which type of landscaper best suits your needs. There are three basic types of landscapers. You’ll find that your landscape vision might require just one or all three of these types of professionals.

  1. Landscape architects have advanced training and degrees and can develop complex, comprehensive plans for hardscaping, water use, and drainage, as well as exterior structural modifications and garden design.
  2. Some landscape designers have advanced training, while others may not. These professionals can best help with the aesthetic and horticultural aspects of garden design.
  3. Looking for someone to carry out the plans devised by your architect or designer? You need a great landscape contractor!

Determine your budget. It’s a good idea to establish a budget before you reach out to the pros. A spending plan will help save you and your landscaper frustration as the project progresses, and knowing what you can spend helps you create a more realistic vision. The good news is a stunning landscape design can increase the value of your home by up to 15 percent, so keep that in mind when formulating your budget.


Source: Lifescape

Doublecheck licensing and potential candidates’ references. Some projects such as decks and walls require certifications, especially for certain safety elements. If the job and area call for certification, confirm that your pro has the proper licensure. It’s also a smart idea to check references and make sure a candidate’s past clients were happy with the outcome.

Want to make your yard stand out from the rest? Contact Lifescape today to schedule a consultation.

Unite Your Garden: Incorporate Similar Plants & Flowers Into the Xeriscape

All of the great clothing designers of our time have centered their collections around a common idea or theme. As the models walk purposefully down the runway, the artistic unity is palpable, and you can see the vision flow from one ensemble to the next. Why should your garden be any different?


Source: Lifescape

Landscape designers follow a set of principles for landscape design that include:

  • Unity – organizing a garden to capture and hold attention.
  • Lines – defining garden rooms and providing a physical connection the landscape.
  • Color – choosing complementary and contrasting colors to carefully create feeling and atmosphere.
  • Balance – maintaining equilibrium by carefully arranging plants and structures.

Gardening is a fast-evolving process, and constructing a garden in which all the elements appear elegant and balanced can prove quite difficult. Gardens that stand above the rest have commonalities you can implement in your own landscape. Here are our guidelines for uniting your garden:

Focus on repetition. Repeating key plants is a powerful tool to bring cohesion to your garden. Repeating one specific plant variety is a simple way to achieve this look, but you can also extend this practice to similar shapes, colors, and textures.

Reiterate a common color. Like with your home’s interior, a great landscape is enhanced by elegant color choices. Use this to your advantage by creating a color scheme that playfully meanders throughout the whole landscape. For example, a blue garden path speckled with blue sculptures and benches is much more attractive than a boring, monochromatic landscape.

Strive for continuity. Visually, the relationship between multiple garden beds can make or break a landscape. Try to avoid monotony or a clash of colors by arranging the plants to complement each other. Mixing plants with similar features is a great place to start.

Plant in groups. Using just one or two of many different variety of plants can have a clustered, confusing effect. Instead, narrow down the number of plants and multiply the number of each variety. This creates more of a strong visual statement.


Source: Lifescape

For help incorporating the right plants and flowers into your xeriscape or garden, contact Lifescape today.

The Quaking Aspen: Is It Right For Your Landscape?

The quaking aspen has bewildered landowners, horticulturists, and landscape architects for centuries. Quaking aspens are stunning trees often mistaken for birch trees due to their cream to white-colored trunks. But, they couldn’t be more different. In fact, it’s almost inappropriate to refer to them as trees at all. They are actually large, 1 to 20 acre root systems from which clusters of clones will quickly grow.

lifescape-quaking aspen

Source: Wikimedia

Quaking aspens grow natively in many areas of the country, namely in the Rocky Mountain area. They grow very quickly, provide a wonderful finishing touch to a suburban yard, and quiver delightfully in the breeze. Their leaves are charming — deep green in the summer months and brilliant gold in fall. Unfortunately, despite their lovely fall foliage color and other attributes, quaking aspens can be significantly problematic.

Aspens are the most common problem tree in the Colorado area, and yours are probably no different. Aspens are widely affected by an array of insects, diseases, and cultural problems that can cripple their growth and shorten their life spans. They reproduce through extensive suckering, which means suckers shoot of the roots of the mother trees. This habit can rapidly become a nuisance for homeowners and neighbors alike.

Aspens serve as “succession trees,” and in the wild they will quickly seed in areas where other vegetation was lost as a result of logging, fire, disease, insects, or erosion. As other trees grow taller around them, the aspen clones will likely die out. Despite their negative reputation, aspens are remarkable trees with root systems that can live to be thousands of years old. They also provide survival food for deer and elk during the winter and encourage new growth after devastating forest fires.

quaking aspen

Source: Wikimedia

If you already have quaking aspens on your property, we recommend routinely checking them for insects and diseases. They look best when combined with natural elements like boulders, ferns, and even wildflowers. Don’t forget, you’re growing a piece of American history when you grow a quaking aspen!

Need help sorting out what to do with your quaking aspens? Contact Lifescape today to schedule a consultation.

Secret Garden Alcoves Come Alive with Hidden Passages & Beauty

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all, and summer is a great time to relax and retreat. Whether you’re planning a summer vacation or not, you can create a special outdoor living space at your own home where you can escape anytime.

Perhaps you would like a secret garden alcove or other hidden outdoor space where you can go to dine, relax, entertain, do yoga, or indulge a hobby such as painting. Whatever the use, the beautiful scenery of your landscape is sure to inspire you.

Secret Garden Alcoves Come Alive with Hidden Passages & Beauty

Enjoy the beauty of your garden with an arbor. Source: Lifescape Colorado

Begin by visualizing some ideas for what you would like and what would work for your existing yard. There are all sorts of garden retreats to choose from. It could be as simple as placing an arbor covered with blooming vines over a bistro table and chairs. A garden shed could serve double duty as a potting area for plants as well as a quiet spot for writing or painting.

Even plants, flowers, shrubs, and tress can be used to create a private spot in your yard. They form natural barriers that can be the walls of your secret outdoor room. Plus, this will add interest to your overall landscape, too.

No matter what type of garden retreat you choose, a big component will be giving it a magical or dream-like feel. This can be accomplished with the types of plants and landscape elements you use. Sweet-smelling flowers, colorful foliage, carpet-like groundcovers, and creeping vines all set an enchanting tone. Other features to consider include pathways and water fountains.

Secret Garden Alcoves Come Alive with Hidden Passages & Beauty

Enjoy your own secret beautiful space in your garden. Source: Houzz

Design is in the details. Pay attention to details such as finishes, styles, colors, and other effects to give your landscape an air of mystery. A window in a garden wall can reveal a hidden part of the landscape that invites you to explore what’s behind. The interplay between light and shadow is another way to add intrigue. Simply building in layers to your garden can add interest.

What would your ideal garden retreat look like and what would you use it for? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Dry Shade Plants that Dazzle Gardens

Finding plants that work well in a dry and shady place doesn’t have to be hard. Some plants are better suited to these conditions and can add color, texture and beauty to your garden at the same time.

There are a wide range of shade-tolerant plants. Some require full shade, while others can get by with partial- or half-shade. If you are planting in a shady spot, you can also try different ways to increase the amount of sunlight the plants get by using reflection off of a fence or home that is painted a light color, for example. Pruning can also help bring in more light.

Dry Shade Plants that Dazzle Gardens

Ferns are great for shady gardens. Source: Shutterstock

Shade plants also need water, so you’ll want to make sure plants that need moist conditions have access to water.

We like these ideas for designing a shade garden from the Colorado State University cooperative extension service:

  • Play up textural contrast, choosing some large leafed plants such as hostas and some fine leafed plants such as ferns.
  • Choose plants with varying heights such as dwarf and upright conifer.
  • Glossy leaves and light colored flowers stand out more in the shade.
  • Plants with red in them contrast well with lots of greenery.
  • Blues and purples should be paired with light yellows or whites to draw attention to them.

Colorado State also has these suggestions for shade-tolerant plants:

Impatiens are great for a shady garden. Source: Shutterstock

Impatiens are great for a shady garden. Source: Shutterstock

  • Shrubs and small trees are naturally found growing under the shade of large trees and are ideal for small yards.
  • Look for “serviceberry; arrowwood, burkwood and leatherleaf viburnums; highbush cranberry; redosier dogwood; Oregon grapeholly; and spreading euonymous.”
  • There are also shade-tolerant groundcovers such as periwinkle and English ivy and perennials such as daffodil, tulip, and crocus.
  • Ornamental grasses can work in shade gardens as well.
  • Foxglove and impatiens are a few of the annual flowers that can be used in shade gardens.

Have more questions about planting a shade garden? Contact Lifescape for help.