Tag Archives: landscape design Denver

Panchito Manzanita

Panchito Manzanita (Arctostaphylos coloradoensis) is a Colorado gardener’s dream plant. It’s evergreen, low-growing, and thrives in our dry climate. And an added bonus is that it’s a Colorado native plant, originating in the Uncompahgre Plateau near Grand Junction. Panchito Manzanita is a natural hybrid of two other native plant species, Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) and Greenleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula).

If you’re looking for an evergreen shrub that’s ultra low-maintenance, and is not a juniper, Panchito Manzanita is for you.


Source: Plant Select

You’re in luck!

Until relatively recently, Manzanitas were difficult to propagate. Landscape designers and enthusiastic gardeners were relegated to Manzanita envy while hiking or visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens. Fortunately, dedicated nursery enthusiasts were able to create the ideal environment for wide-scale Arctostaphylos propagation, and they’re now available via most local nurseries and plant growers.

Growth rates

It will take your Panchito Manzanita about three to seven years to grow to its full height (12- to 24-inches) and width (18- to 48-inches).

Watering requirements

One of the greatest threats to this species of Manzanita is root rot from overwatering. It will require slightly more watering than normal to be established. After that, it requires very little watering and is xeriscape-friendly.


Source: Lot Lines

Soil and sun

These plants require well-drained soil. If you’re natural backyard consists of the crumbly, granite-based soil our area is known for, you may not need any soil amending at all. However, if you have natural clay or a poor draining yard, you’ll need to make some changes before you plant your Panchito Manzanita. This plant loves full sun, but it can also handle partial shade.


Everything about these Colorado native plants is attractive. The broad leaves are a deep green and can turn a deep red or purplish in the fall. The stems are also a vibrant reddish-purple. In mid-spring, expect to see an abundant burst of small white and pale pink flowers.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to learn more about incorporating Panchito Manzanitas in your landscape design. We offer full-service landscape design and maintenance services.

Add Holiday Cheer to Winter Container Gardens

Your home isn’t the only place to add holiday cheer this year. There are plenty of ways for you to create a festive atmosphere by adding holiday colors to your Colorado container gardens. From dogwood branches, to vibrant mosses and ornamental twigs, your containers can add visual interest all winter long.

We’ve put together a list of ideas for some inspiration. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things you have to do to get ready for the holidays, our Lifescape maintenance team can take care of your landscaping for you.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Transform an old container. We all have one or two containers that stare forlornly at us once cold weather comes around. These are the perfect place to begin. By adding a mix of evergreen boughs, grasses, pine cones, or other winter-inspired accents, your old containers will add festive cheer within half an hour or less.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

One container – four seasons. With a little planning, you can create a container garden designed to be interesting all year long. By choosing a few plants that will last through the season, you can then select seasonal additions for your container. A pumpkin accent you added for fall can be replaced with faux gifts wrapped in colorful or metallic wrappings for winter.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

The power of redtwig dogwood. We recommend investing in a redtwig dogwood. This deciduous shrub loses its leaves and, as its name implies, leaves vibrant red branches behind. They’re beautiful left standing naturally, or you can cut some of the branches and use them for container arrangements. They look beautiful paired with an evergreen plant, like a dwarf spruce or holly, or simply stuck into the soil with a blanket of vibrant green moss.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

What are some of the ways you add holiday cheer to your Colorado container gardens? We would love to hear your ideas. Or, let us know if the Lifescape team can help you add festive accents to your garden space.


Backyard Garden Designs for Family Fun


Source: Juergen Partridge Limited via Houzz

Backyards serve a range of family needs. It’s a place to relax, visit with friends and share holiday meals. While landscaping provides a beautiful backdrop, backyard gardens are often a child’s first playground. So, why not add “fun” to your Colorado garden to-do list next year?

Here are a few steps you can take to create a fun and enjoyable backyard for every member of the family.


Source: Blackwell Architect Inc. via Houzz

Get to know your yard. If you’re new to your home, resist the urge to go landscape crazy. Instead, get to know your backyard over a season or two. Make sure to eliminate any hazards or overgrowth that can be detrimental to family play time. However, learning sun and shade patterns, wind directions, drainage, etc. will help you create a design that complements your land’s natural geography.


Source: Valerie McCaskill Dickman via Houzz

Go native. A professional Denver landscape designer can help you select flowers, trees and shrubs that do well in our Colorado climate. Drought and fire-safe plants will save water and protect your home during exceptionally dry seasons. A landscape designer can also help make sure your yard is 100 percent child-friendly, so you never have to worry about plant toxicity.


Source: Juergen Partridge Limited via Houzz

Dream big on a realistic budget. Once you know where you need more shade or sun, which areas would be best for gardening and which ones for play, it’s time to draw your dream yard. Here is the wonderful thing about landscaping — it is an ever evolving process. You can draw a dream plan and work little by little, year by year. Even the most modest annual budget can yield a stunning yard in just a matter of years. For inspiration, you can view this backyard plan from Better Homes and Gardens. It incorporates everything your family could want, including a patio, play area, vegetable garden and beautiful plants that provide visual interest year-round.

Contact Lifescape to begin planning a Colorado garden design that is both beautiful and fun for the whole family.

Magical Outdoor Lighting


Design by Lifescape

Lighting is an integral part of your Denver outdoor living design. In addition to utilitarian reasons, like safety and the ability to see the people you are spending time with, lighting creates a magical ambiance. Plus, you can use specialty lighting to highlight your landscape design features, or create multiple areas where people can sit or congregate into the late night hours.

Interestingly enough, many of the design principles we use in our landscape designs are integrated into lighting designs such as layering, visual focal points and creating a theme. Here are some tips for implementing those ideas into your own outdoor lighting plan. Always make sure your lights are rated for outdoor use.

Better Homes and Gardens

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Layer your lights. Just as we recommend creating different layers and textures with your living landscape, your outdoor lighting can be layered as well. By combining low lights, spot lights and lights specifically designed for water features, your yard will come alive at night. Consider using solar lights to illuminate pathways and plant beds. Spotlights highlight trees, shrubs and other special plants.


Source: RJK Construction Inc via Houzz

Don’t forget the stairs. Take special precaution when illuminating stairways or uneven pathways. You can use solar lamps at the edges of the walkways. Or, if you’re in the process of planning your hardscape design, talk to us about incorporating the lights into your stairs for a streamlined look. You can also add lighting into your walls or columns, which serve as a safety features, but can also create a lovely, subdued glow.


Source: Richard Hughes Design, Architect via Houzz

Overhead luminaries. This is where your garden magic really comes to life. There are so many creative options for overhead illumination. By adding these lights, you’ll be able to enjoy an ambient light source that provides a soft, gentle glow for late night conversations. A grid pattern can be used for a symmetrical and even light source. Lights can be strung between the structure of your home and surrounding trees, with no additional support system required. Twinkle lights are always a beautiful addition to your nighttime patio and backyard landscape.

Contact our Lifescape design team to help light up your Denver outdoor living design.


The Beautiful, Spherical Golden Barrel Cactus

The Golden Barrel cactus is also known as mother-in-law’s cushion. But don’t let the name fool you, not only are these plants low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, but they add incredible texture and architectural appeal to Denver gardens and landscapes.

Golden Barrels have been cultivated for over a century. According to the United States Botanic Garden, the cactus was first discovered and named in 1889. Because their popularity grew so quickly, horticulturalists at one point became concerned that demand for the beautiful, spherical plant would mean its eventual demise. Thankfully, swift conservation efforts rescued it from this sad fate, and today, the cactus is enjoyed by gardeners and landscapers in multiple regions throughout the US.

Since Golden Barrels are indigenous to Mexico and other southwestern states, it is no surprise that they prefer well-drained soil and sunlight. As Maria Woodie notes in Horticulture Magazine, the attractive, interesting cacti do best in full sun and require little water. They also don’t mind the cold and can handle temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

These durable plants are popular for containers, rock gardens and garden areas with sandy soils. They grow up to three feet high and three feet wide, and they look great alone or mixed in with other cacti and succulents. Fine Gardening suggests pairing them with blue succulents. Planting the cacti near blue plants or other complimenting colors can bring out the bright gold color of the spines and the yellow blooms, which appear in summer.

Here golden barrels are used to flank the home’s front entrance walkway. A top layer of pebbles aids drainage, and adequate spacing promotes airflow between the cacti while also creating an interesting and engaging aesthetic.

luxury landscaping denver

Source: Identity Construction via Houzz

Let the experts at Lifescape help you achieve a Colorado landscape that looks stunning year-round with little to no maintenance. Learn more about our landscape design services in the greater Denver area on our website or call us at (303) 831-8310.