Tag Archives: drought tolerant plants

Project Spotlight: Cherry Hill

12-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Looking for some landscape architecture inspiration for your luxury Colorado home? We invite you to take a photo tour of an exquisite Cherry Hills property, which our team here at Lifescape Colorado recently finished designing and renovating. Located in the suburbs of Denver, this impeccable residential landscape has it all – recreation, entertainment and an elegant, dynamic design.

This photo taken before we began renovating really captures the state of the space, which was intended to be a garden. However, the homeowners later realized they did not have the time to invest in it.

11-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

This shot of the front yard shows how we were able to bring the landscape to life with vibrant, xeric and native plants, as well as a sophisticated layout with a manicured look.


An action shot taken during the construction process shows our team filling the 8-inch thick concrete walls surrounding the tennis court and outdoor living area.

01-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

A luxurious outdoor living room was designed with a TV, cedar covering and limestone fireplace for relaxation and versatile entertaining. The TV can even lower into the stone counter to maximize entertaining possibilities.

06-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

At this angle, you can really see the gorgeous palette created with the combination of the cedar arbor and large, limestone fireplace.

02-Cherry Hills Residence-A

Design by Lifescape Colorado

The expansive stone terraces offer multiple opportunities to enjoy wonderful views of the pools, tennis court and Colorado Front Range.

04-Cherry Hills Residence-A

Design by Lifescape Colorado

A built-in fire pit spanning seven feet in diameter creates the perfect space for people to enjoy a cozy and warm get-together outdoors. Notice how we carefully chose stone veneers for the hardscaping to harmonize with the home’s exterior.

07-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

In addition to a grand fireplace and luxurious furniture, we added amenities like a ceiling fan and refrigerator to make relaxing and entertaining in this outdoor room all the more comfortable and luxurious.

08-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

We designed these container arrangements of colorful, cascading annuals to contrast the earthy neutrals of the stone veneers.

09-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

A gorgeous granite bar allows users to enjoy a front-row view of the action on the tennis court from the covered bar area.

10-Cherry Hills Residence

Design by Lifescape Colorado

As if the regulation tennis court modeled after the Centre Court at the US Open wasn’t enough, we also designed stunning stone veneer stadium seating.

We’re excited to announce that Lifescape was one of PLANET’s 2013 National Landscape Awards of Excellence Award Recipients. We’re extremely honored to have been recognized for both our Cherry Hill Residence design and build and for our Colorado Golf Club project!

From planting beautiful, drought-tolerant gardens to designing and constructing entire hardscapes, our team of horticulture experts and landscape architects here at Lifescape Colorado can help you turn your Colorado home or commercial property into an outdoor oasis.

To see more examples of our gardening, landscape architecture and construction work, browse through the gallery on our website. Then, when you’re ready to discuss a potential residential or commercial landscape project, contact us at 303-831-8310.


Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine

The deep tones and sculptural silhouettes of evergreen trees against the backdrop of glistening white snow are what make Colorado winters so magical. The Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine is an evergreen species native to Colorado that has painted this majestic picture for thousands of years.


Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

It’s believed that the bristlecone pine is the oldest living thing on this earth. This is due to the fact that these durable trees have incredible strategies for survival. They can even remain standing for hundreds of years after they die!


Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

The slow-growing Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine is adapted to cold and dry climates. Once matured, it reaches up to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It has needles, about 1 1/4 inch long, that are dark-green to green-blue and pine cones, between 2 and 4 inches long, that are purplish brown.

As The Gymnosperm Database cites, “The needles of [Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine] are usually narrower and sharper than in [Great Basin bristlecone pine] and [Foxtail Pine], and the leaves almost always have a narrow, median groove on the abaxial surface.”

The needles also produce what looks like opaque beads. These white resin flakes, which are produced by the needles, are actually a characteristic exclusive to this pine species, making them easy to identify.


Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Their small size, slow growth and signature beauty make these evergreen trees wonderful for rock gardens, containers, raised beds and other landscape designs. Plant single pine to create a focal point in a minimalist design or incorporate it among shrubs, grasses or perennials to add height and sculptural appeal. Landscape design writer Jocelyn Chilvers suggests combining these evergreen trees with other drought-tolerant native plants like golden currant, creeping Oregon, grape holly and juniper.

Here, the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine is paired with blue fescue and pussytoes creating a gorgeous contrast of colors and textures.


Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

With these ancient beauties and other Colorado favorites, the landscape designers at Lifescape Colorado can help you achieve a beautiful drought-tolerant landscape you can enjoy all year long. Contact us to learn more about our landscape design and garden maintenance services.

Tips for Maintaining a Landscape

Once your trees, shrubs and flowering plants are in place, a healthy landscape requires a certain level of attention to truly flourish. By making Denver landscape maintenance a part of your weekly, monthly and seasonal routine, your yard will look amazing all year long. Plus, you’ll be spared the heartache of sick and dying plants, or a yard that is so overgrown it requires entire weekends of labor to get it back into shape.

Here are some helpful tips on how to maintain your landscape year-round.

Nutritious soil. Make sure you start out with healthy soil. Nutrient-rich and aerated soil is the key to growing vibrant, drought-tolerant plants in our dry climate.


Source: Field Outdoor Spaces via Houzz

Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulch is a gardener’s friend. It protects soil from erosion, mitigates weed growth and retains soil moisture. Spread it over the soil each spring, about 2-inches deep, and replenish as necessary in the fall.

Fertilizer. In most cases, your lawns and ornamental plants will need a little fertilizer when new growth appears. Lawns may need fertilizing every couple of months through summer and early fall.


Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Hydration. Water is essential to keep plants alive, but you can do your part to conserve this precious resource by creating a landscape with drought-resistant plants. Even better, grow native shrubs and plants that are already adapted to our Denver climate. These plants will only need to be watered about once a week. Make sure water penetrates the soil at least 6- to 8-inches deep, which encourages deeper, stronger root systems.


Source: Janet Paik via Houzz

Pruning and grooming. Most plants and shrubs require a little pruning to keep them healthy. During the spring, when buds first begin to form, clear out all of the broken and damaged branches. Once the flowering season ends, you can prune flowering shrubs. In midsummer, you can pinch off dead blooms and trim plants back by a third to encourage new growth.

Good housekeeping. Fall is the season to clean up the yard, clearing it of dead plant debris and overgrowth. You can move them into a pile to be turned into mulch for next spring.

Contact Lifescape for assistance with your Denver landscape maintenance.

5 Low-Water Ferns for Colorado Landscapes

When imagining a drought-tolerant landscape, many people do not picture ferns. There is also a myth that you cannot grow ferns out west. However, you can indeed grow ferns in the west and several types do fine with little watering. Here are few of the low-water ferns that can grow in Colorado.

low-water ferns

Source: Norm Plate via Sunset magazine

Autumn fern: Found in woodlands and forests, it grows to two feet and boasts interesting colors. Fronds are multi-colored in spring, with hues of pink, copper and yellow, which turn green in summer. In autumn, rusty brown replaces the green and red spores appear on the undersides in winter.

Giant chain fern: A very tall fern in its natural habitat, it will grow up to six feet high in a cultivated landscape. This is an excellent fern for creating natural dividers or any space that could benefit from height.

Western sword fern: Western sword grows its tallest in moist years, but can still handle dry times. It is native to western forests and can add a woodsy feel to the landscape.

Colorado male fern: This low-maintenance fern grows up to three feet high in optimal conditions of shade and moist, fertile soil. It can handle some sunlight, but to avoid extra watering, consider a shady area first.

Long Ear Holly fern: An evergreen fern that adds a touch of green to the landscape through all seasons, the Long Ear Holly is not only drought-tolerant, it also handles freezing temperatures. Grow several together for a wonderful cluster of shiny green fronds.

low-water ferns

Source: Tish Treherne via Sunset magazine

Many ferns enjoy moist soil, but that does not mean they like soggy, muddy soil. Whether they are grown in a container or directly in the ground, the best soil is rich but well-drained. Most ferns also prefer indirect sunlight or shade to full sunlight, and this should always be considered when using these in a landscape design.

Interested in a drought-tolerant landscape? The landscaping professionals at Lifescape Colorado can assist you in choosing the best low-water plants and designing a landscape that is beautiful while also water-wise and low maintenance. Contact us to discover more about our services.

The Kingcup Cactus

Many types of cacti will flourish in a Colorado landscape. Among the most beautiful varieties is the kingcup, which belongs to a group of cacti called the claret cups. Its natural habitat extends through much of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Here is a closer look at this stunning plant.

Aesthetic Appeal

The kingcup is prized for its attractive flowers, which range in color from deep red to orange red. Each bloom is accented with a splash of yellow or orange in the center along with a lime-green stigma. The cactus offers these delightful blooms from late spring until July. Kingcup’s cylindrical or spherical green stems and spine-covered ribs provide a striking backdrop for the flowers and add visual interest throughout the year, even when flowers are absent for the season. Like many cacti, kingcup grows in clusters. This close-up photo shows a kingcup flower’s dazzling, vivid colors and cup-like shape.

colorado native plants

Source: Winter Hardy Cacti

drought-tolerant plants

Source: Winter Hardy Cacti

Cultivation and Growth Habits

Kingcups prefer well-drained soil and partial sunlight. They can handle a cool winter, but prefer little moisture. High altitude is not a problem for these durable cacti as they naturally grow at altitudes between 4,000 to 9,000 feet.

Beyond their attractive flowers, one of the best attributes that kingcups possess is exceptional drought-tolerance. This is why it is one of the cactus types included in the Dryland Mesa at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Established plants in this garden have not received water for over a decade! This characteristic is a good reason to consider adding this cactus to your landscape, as it will never fail you even during long droughts and water restrictions.

Are you interested in adding drought-tolerant plants such as the kingcup to your landscape? Lifescape Colorado can help you choose the best plants that match your needs and style. We also offer landscape design, architecture, construction, maintenance and many other services to help you with your landscaping needs.