Tag Archives: drought tolerant landscape in Colorado

5 Reasons Organic Gardening Matters

Are you interested in practicing a gardening technique that doesn’t involve toxic fertilizers and pesticides? Do you want to grow a landscape that conserves one of our most precious resources? If so, it sounds like you’re interested in designing a sustainable landscape in Colorado.

If that’s the case, we want to share five reasons why organic gardening is so important to the environment.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Enjoy a holistic perspective. When you study organic gardening methods, you’ll realize every aspect of your garden is connected. Healthy, organic soil nourishes more than plant roots — it also sustains healthy bioorganisms underground, which feeds other animals as well. Healthy soil keeps toxic chemicals out of our groundwater supply and air. As a result, your organic flowers will be safer for pollinators, birds and other insects to feed on.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Conserve water. Organic farming isn’t just about maintaining a chemical-free landscape, it’s about building a healthier environment overall. Water conservation is a large part of sustainable gardening methods. You should grow drought-tolerant plants and use healthy watering practices as a part of your organic approach.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Keep glyphosate out of the environment. Glyphosate, found in traditional weed-killers like Roundup, is an endocrine disrupter (it alters the natural hormone balance in animals and humans). It’s so heavily used in Big Ag — especially with corn crops — that this herbicide is now found in our soil, air and water. The less chemicals you use and the more organic products you buy, the less glyphosate will be released in the environment.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Healthier Life. Sure, organic diets mean a healthier diet, which can result in weight-loss. However, those endocrine disrupters we mentioned above — the ones found in pesticides — are also called “obesogens” because they disrupt our body’s weight-loss hormones and have been linked to cancer and type 2 diabetes. The less you ingest, the better.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Enjoy a nutrient-rich diet. When sustainably-grown fruits and vegetables are put against their industrial-grown counterparts, they win hands-down in terms of nutrient content. Remember that herbicides and pesticides can block nutrient absorption, so you can see why organic foods are better for your health.

Lifescape Colorado would love to convert your existing landscape into one that’s sustainable and great for both your body and the environment. Contact us to get started today!

5 Ways to Conserve More Water in Your Colorado Garden

A fundamental part of maintaining a sustainable landscape is to minimize your impact on the Rocky Mountain water table. Water-wise landscaping in Colorado begins with a good plan, but you must maintain these conscious steps year after year to experience your garden’s full potential. The following five tips can help you conserve more water in your Colorado garden.

Beach Style Landscape by Sterling Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Princeton Scapes Inc

Source: Princeton Scapes Inc via Houzz

Choose water-wise plants. Except for a few shade-tolerant annuals and perennials, there’s really no excuse for not growing water-wise plants. Native plants have adapted to our low-water environment, and still have all the beautiful green foliage and blooms you’ve come to appreciate in non-native counterparts ill-suited for our dry climate.

Modern Landscape by Oak Harbor Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Root Design & Landscape

Source: Root Design & Landscape via Houzz

Water deeply. Gardeners are usually content with 15-minute daily watering schedules set on their timed irrigation. Unfortunately, this frequent “shallow” watering yields plants with shallower roots, which require more water. Instead, practice “deep watering,” which requires less water in the long run. Plus, you’ll encourage strong and healthy root growth deep in the ground and save water while you’re at it.

Traditional Landscape by Denver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Ivy Street Design

Source: Ivy Street Design via Houzz

Create a xeriscape plan. Xeriscaping is a smart landscaping technique that carefully analyzes your site, including its geography, orientation, drainage conditions, sun exposure, etc. A xeriscape designer will then choose plants that suit a particular area’s conditions. Of course, a xeriscape is also drought-resistant. A well-designed xeriscape will require very little watering once plants are established.

Contemporary Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Aloe Designs

Source: Aloe Designs via Houzz

Do the finger check. If you’re an avid container gardener, do the finger check before watering. You may find your plants require less water than you think. The first two to three inches of soil should be dry before you even consider whipping out that watering can. You can use this same tactic for flower and plant beds as well.

Eclectic Landscape by Belmont Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Kristen Rudger Landscape Design

Source: Kristen Rudger Landscape Design via Houzz

Switch groundcover. Get rid of that lawn, or at least large portions of it. Lawns are major water consumers. You can augment your lawn with alternative green and/or colorful drought-tolerant groundcover.

Contact Lifescape Colorado if you need assistance enhancing your Colorado landscape. We can assist you with planning, building, planting, as well as year-round maintenance for stunning outdoor living spaces.

Fight Weed Growth the Organic Way

Weeding is a great way to spend time outdoors, get a little exercise and be productive in your garden. But when weeds proliferate, and you’re tired of spending countless hours in a seemingly endless endeavor, it’s tempting to grab the strongest chemical weed killer on the market and go to war. Even so, you should really reconsider before doing this. All those chemicals are terrible for the long-term health of your soil, your garden and the environment.

Instead, fight weed growth the organic way. The following gardening tips will help you win the battle against weeds in your Colorado garden without doing any further harm to your surrounding environment.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Get to know your weeds. The best way to fight weeds is know what you’re battling. Use a field guide to identify new growth, so you can plan the best route to eradication. You’ll be able to deal with everything from shallow-rooted annuals to deep-rooted perennials.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Prevention is the next step. Once you know which weeds you may be up against, preventing them from seeding is the next step to starting your organic weed control campaign. Try:

  • Using a broad fork. Rototilling brings deeply buried seeds up to the surface to germinate. A broad fork, rather than digging or tilling, loosens the soil without unearthing as many pesky seeds.
  • Waiting. Once your beds are prepared, wait three to four days so you can remove the weeds that germinate before planting.
  • Mulching. Use a seed-free straw or a thick layer of mulch around seedlings to block remaining weed seeds from sunlight.
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Source: Organic Gardening

Remove them with roots intact. Deep-rooted weeds should be removed with their roots intact. Wait for a rain shower or after a good soaking so the soil is moist enough, then pull them up by the base. Don’t yank them or you risk breakage. Without any roots/runners left underground, they can’t come back.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Dig ’em out. For particular tenacious weeds, be prepared to dig. It may take a few sessions to remove the entirety of the weed’s roots and runners.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Plant densely. Let your own native and drought tolerant landscape choke weeds out rather than the other way around.

Are you interested in growing a sustainable and weed-free garden? If so, contact us at Lifescape Colorado to get your garden in tip top shape the healthy way.

A Colorado Gardener’s May Checklist

Finally, spring has sprung! These glorious, sunshine-filled days can be spent out in your garden if your irrigation is in place and your soil is properly amended. Once the basics are in place, you can begin the exciting task of planting bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees to create your landscape masterpiece. Here are some gardening tips for the month of May to get you started in your Colorado garden.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Evaluate your irrigation system. Ideally, the bulk of your irrigation should be happening at ground level via soaker hoses and/or drip systems. Overhead watering can lead to leaf burn and excess moisture can also make plants more susceptible to fungus and disease.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Practice deep watering. Deep watering is recommended to encourage root-growth deep under ground where water is protected from dehydration. This watering technique is beneficial for both ornamental plants, as well as those in your vegetable garden. Let soil dry out in between waterings to allow it to oxygenate.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Fertilize and amend. Amend the soil in your plant beds and fertilize your lawn. We recommend using organic amendments and fertilizers for a more sustainable and healthy landscape.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Start hardening off your greenhouse plants. Are you ready to move those greenhouse plants and vegetable garden-starters outdoors? Make sure to harden them first, and move pots outdoors for longer and longer periods everyday over a couple of weeks. This will protect them from shock.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Start planting. Once you’re sure the last frost has passed, it’s time to start planting your summer-blooming plants and flowers. Summer favorites like gladiolus, dahlias, begonias and lilies do well when planted this time of year. Also, concentrate on drought-tolerant native plants to conserve water and feed local bees, butterflies and birds.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Prune abundant spring blooms. By now, some of your spring blooms – like lilac – are ready to be pruned. These ornamental bushes should be pruned back fairly quickly after blooming to encourage healthy new growth.

Contact Lifescape Colorado for more gardening tips, or to get your landscape in shape for summer.

Protect Your Plants From the Effects of Water Stress

Plants that don’t grow, bloom or flourish like they should are often victims of water stress. This is especially true in our Rocky Mountain region where drought and extreme temperature changes can be detrimental, if not fatal, to non-native plants. There are several things you can do to protect your plants from water stress — the most important of which is planning a water-wise landscape.

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Source: Feelart via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is water stress?

Water stress can occur in two ways. The first is when roots lack an adequate water supply. The second source of water stress is transpiration — a process by which water evaporates from the stems and leaves. In dry climates, transpiration can easily exceed hydration, which is detrimental to plant health.

Your plants will tell you when they’re suffering from a lack of water. Signs of water stress include:

  • Wilting
  • Less intense coloration
  • Reduced or non-existent blooms and/or fruits
  • Death

In some cases, soil amendments and irrigation adjustments may do the trick. You might even transplant the victims to a site with more ideal growing conditions. In a worst case scenario, you may lose the plant altogether.

The following tips can help you avoid water stress on your landscape.

Traditional Landscape

Source: Milieu Design via Houzz

Design a drought-tolerant landscape. Planting a drought-tolerant landscape is the simplest way to prevent water-stress. Water-wise landscaping in Colorado begins with knowing your own landscape, amending the soil as needed and planting more native plant species, or species that are well-suited to arid climates.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Amend your soil. Organic soil amendments make a remarkable difference in the soil’s ability to retain water. Each soil type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Organic soil amendments create sponge-like clumps that retain water and enhance soil nutrients.

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Source: Organic Gardening

Use mulch. A healthy mulch layer, up to four-inches deep, greatly reduces soil evaporation rates and will also insulate root beds from extreme heat and cold.

Are you worried about water stress? Contact Lifescape Colorado, and our maintenance team can evaluate your current landscape and make recommendations for a more water-wise landscape.