Tag Archives: Denver gardening

Blue Avena Grass

Are you looking for a beautiful plant to add to your landscape design? If so, we at Lifescape Colorado recommend Blue Avena Grass, also called Blue Oat Grass. If you get started now, this gorgeous plant can be established just in time to benefit from its midsummer seed-out. This occurs when groups of tan seed heads gracefully arch from the plant’s head, contrasting with the rest of it’s blue-green foliage.

Here are some of the other reasons why Blue Avena Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is one of our favorite Colorado native plants.

Landscape by Santa Barbara Garden & Landscape Supplies San Marcos Growers

Source: San Marcos Growers via Houzz

It provides year-round interest. So many “favorite” flowers and plants are only visually interesting for brief windows of time, but they don’t necessarily contribute much during their off-seasons. Blue Oat Grass is beautiful all year long, which is a major bonus for Colorado gardens. The spiky and perky plant will stay blue during all four seasons. Then, in mid-summer and under full-sun exposure, its visual interest increases when tan seed heads sprout, making this grass even more colorful.

Traditional Landscape

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden via Houzz

Low-maintenance gardening. One of the greatest benefits of growing native plants is their low-maintenance and drought tolerant characteristics. Blue Avena Grass is no exception — it likes dry, sandy, well-draining soil, which we have plenty of in our Rocky Mountain landscape! Once this plant is established, you’ll hardly have to water it at all.

Traditional Landscape

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden via Houzz

As happy in a container as in the ground. Container gardening adds wonderful visual appeal to your landscape. You can rearrange containers to achieve different looks on smaller patios and deck spaces. Fortunately, Blue Avena Grass is just as happy in a large container as it is in your plant beds or landscapes, which makes it a beautiful addition to your container garden.

You can grow Blue Avena Grass from seed in the spring, or buy more established clumps from a local nursery. Come next spring, you can divide these grass clumps and move transplants to new locations.

Contact Lifescape Colorado, a full landscape design and maintenance firm, to choose the ideal site location for beautiful Colorado native plants.

An Overview of Seeds for Spring

Are you planting a fair amount of seeds this spring? If so, these Colorado gardening tips can help you order just the right type and amount of seeds you need to yield a luscious and interesting landscape all year long.


Source: Strumelia’s Blog

Organize the seeds you have. Before you go too crazy with your seed catalogs or online seed shopping, take a careful inventory of what you have. While some seeds can sprout indefinitely (like hundreds of years-old Anasazi beans from our Colorado cliff-dwelling natives), most seeds have an expiration date. Cull through your collection and throw out any seed packets that have expired dates. If you have bagged your own seeds, or collected seeds from friends, check online to see how long they last. Keep in mind that you have to wait a precious two or three weeks before you’ll even know whether old seeds are viable.


Source: Ellwood Thompson’s

Order now! Some seeds can be purchased year-round, others are so popular that they sell out pretty quickly. If you have your heart set on the exact species you laid out in your winter garden plans, order ASAP to make sure you get the seeds you want.


Source: Insteading

Use heirloom seeds. Seeds have been hybridized, genetically modified and changed to grow and/or look better. As a result, many of them don’t pollinate (read: won’t attract butterflies and bees), and may even lack important phytonutrients. Planting heirloom seeds, which have been passed down for generations, preserves plant species that are going extinct. If you’re planting edibles, heirlooms are often tastier and healthier than their modified counterparts. Plus, you can harvest your own seeds for next year, or participate in local community seed exchanges.


Source: Alan Levine via Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot

Plant perennials. Planting perennials that do well in our Rocky Mountain climate is an excellent way to see a return on your investment. Colorful perennials that do well in our area include Lupine, Columbine, Blue Flax and self-seeding Pinks — these do especially well when temperatures get chilly.

Once your landscape is blooming, contact Lifescape Colorado to learn more about how our landscape maintenance services can help keep your garden vibrant all year long.

Landscaping Ideas with Recycled Materials


Source: sustainable garden design perth via Houzz

If you’re looking for creative and sustainable ways to enhance your Colorado landscape, look around your home, garage and neighborhood to see if there are materials, furnishings, or cast-off items that can be cleverly re-purposed.

The following backyard landscaping ideas demonstrate how one person’s cast-offs can be creatively transformed for your garden design.


Source: Landscaping Network


Plants can grow in just about anything, as long as they have access to adequate water and nutrients. For a rustic and unique look, keep your eye out for old pallets that can be converted into a vertical garden. Managers at local grocery or hardware stores will be more than happy to have you take them off their hands. You can build a cold frame, perfect for a cool season vegetable garden and/or prepare your seedlings for spring planting, by recycling old storm windows.


Source: HGTV

Hardscape designs

From functional to artistic, there are plenty of ways to use recycled materials for unique and attractive hardscape designs. If you’re in the process of re-designing your backyard landscape, you can slice an old concrete slab into sections and convert it into planter beds, a water feature, or walkway slabs. If you see a home being demolished, ask the contractor what they plan on doing with the old bricks, pavers and stones. If you offer to haul them, you may score high-quality materials for a walkway, patio space or garden bed.


Source: HGTV

Backyard art

You may not think of old corrugated metal as artsy, but with a little paint and ingenuity, scrap metals can be used to build an attractive fence or privacy screen. Old windows can be hung for their artistic value or as colorful latticework for climbing plants.


Source: HGTV

Garden preparations

Gardeners have been re-purposing old containers for mini-planters and to propagate their seedlings for hundreds of years. This article from GreenYour.com has a myriad of examples of how typical household items can be functionally adapted for use in the garden.

Our Lifescape Colorado design team is expert at designing and creating green and sustainable landscape designs. Contact us to implement sustainable backyard landscaping ideas at your home today.

5 Edible Plants of Colorado

The simple act of driving to a grocery store and choosing luscious red tomatoes (native to Central and South America) or sweet, tangy oranges (originally from southeast Asia) is a luxury we take for granted. Even so, we’re fortunate to live in a climate that supports a host of edible plants.

The following are examples of five edible plants in Colorado. Keep an eye out and consider using one or two on your dinner table this year.

Source: satit_srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bergamot (Oregano de la Sierra). This herb is often used in teas, but can also be added to seasoned meats and other dishes. Bergamot provides the aromatic flavor in Earl Grey teas. It was also used as a substitute for tea during the Boston Tea Party.


Source: Billy Goodnick via Houzz

Wild Onion (Allium cernuum). Wild onions grow in subalpine terrain and are found on moist hillsides and meadows. They can be pulled up by the root and chopped into your foods, or roasted with meat and root vegetables for an earthy, spicy flavor.


Source: Anna Looper via Houzz

Cattails (Typha latifolia or Typha angustifolia) These plants grow by creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes. Cattails are edible from top to root. The leaves can be boiled like spinach, the bases can be chopped into soups and the roots can be boiled and eaten like a root vegetable.


Source: Santa Rita Landscaping, Inc. via Houzz

Prickly Pear (Opuntia phaeacantha). Once the spines of the prickly pear are removed, you have a very edible plant. The flowers can be eaten raw in salads or used as garnish. The meat of the cactus can be eaten raw, but is often made into jams and jellies.


Source: Sage Ecological Landscapes and Nursery via Houzz

Wild Strawberries (Fragaria virginiana). You’ll have to wait for spring and summer, and then head to moist ground to find these sweet, delicious wild strawberries.

These and more edible plants in Colorado can be incorporated into your landscape. Contact the design team at Lifescape Coloardo to grow edible plants in your backyard garden.


Best Flowers for Fall Gardens

If you’re beginning to mourn the flowers from your summer garden, why not turn your attention to flowers that can bloom throughout the fall months? While fall may not be the brightest season, there are a number of flowers that do quite well in our mountain climate. Combined with evergreens and landscape plants that boast changing foliage, your garden can have plenty of visual interest through the fall.

Here are some of the best flowers for fall gardens in Colorado.


Source: Barbara Pintozzi via Houzz

Asters. Not only are asters strong and reliable, they don’t get their bloom on until late summer and early fall when other favorites are already withering on the stalk. Asters come in pink, blue, lavender, white and violet. They like full sun and well draining soil — which we have a lot of in our neck of the mountains. Do make sure you like where you plant them because they have a tendency to spread out.


Source: Rocco Fiore & Sons, Inc via Houzz

Kale and Cabbage. You may remember that kale and cabbage do well in cool season vegetable gardens. You can also purchase decorative and edible varieties that will add vibrant greens, purples and whites to your fall landscape. Best of all, a nip of frost will actually enhance their color.


Source: Blue Ridge Landscaping via Houzz

Goldenrod. Ah, goldenrod — it adds a burst of sunshine right where you need it. They are must-have flowers for fall gardens in Colorado because they are so easy to grow, are happy in both full sun and partial shade and will be a happy greeter along walkways and garden paths.


Source: Barbara Pintozzi

Coneflowers. This is another cheerful flower. It looks like a daisy with slightly drooping petals. Coneflowers are in the genus Echinacea. They are hardy perennials and they attract both birds and bees. Coneflowers like full sun and are drought resistant. They also look lovely when cut and added to vases.


Source: Andrew Keys via Houzz

Plumbago. This is a three-for-one perennial. It provides green foliage during most of the year. Then in fall, Plumbago’s leaves change to red and it blooms with delicate blue blooms. Can a gardener ask for more from a single plant?

What’s your favorite fall flower? Contact Lifescape for help planning your colorful fall landscape.