Tag Archives: landscape design Denver

Top Plants & Flowers for Butterfly Gardening

It’s hard to imagine a sunny garden scene without the ephemeral flutter of butterfly wings. In fact, it’s impossible. Without butterflies, which are very important pollinators, many of our favorite blooms would never grow in the first place.

Introduce Plants and Flowers That Attract Butterflies & Other Pollinators

The benefit of adding butterfly-friendly plants is that you will also attract a host of other pollinators, including honey bees, bumble bees, and birds. It transforms your garden into a veritable playground for winged creatures, and you and your guests will delight in the additions.

Keep in mind that butterflies prefer a break from the wind and open, sunny spaces so creating these environments will also help to attract them. Organic gardening practices are also very important since insecticides kill pollinators.

Here are suggestions for plants and flowers that attract butterflies and do well in our Rocky Mountain climate.

Asters (Asters, spp.) . These cheerful flowers are in the same family as sun flowers or daisies. They bloom towards the end of summer and well into fall, which make them an attractive candidate for gardeners who want to add a bit of interest when other blooms are beginning to fade. They are drought-tolerant and prefer sandy, well-draining soil – another boon for our area.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii).  Every yard is enhanced by this robust species of plant that blooms with white to purple flowers. They grow six to 15-feet tall and can withstand temperatures below 20° F. Butterfly bush also remains evergreen during the winter months, which is another bonus.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus). Those interested in a Xeriscape may recognize this plant species. Rabbitbrush grows wild throughout Colorado and much of the Southwest. A desert and high-desert plant, it is decidedly drought-tolerant.

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This is another native Colorado plant and it serves a very important role; Milkweed is a host for Monarch butterfly larvae. These are an endangered species, so adding milkweed to your garden is a wonderful way to support their comeback.

Other plants that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees include Culver’s root, blue sage, bee balm, and purple prairie clover.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to design a landscape that includes the plants, flowers, and other landscape features that attract butterflies.

Spring Ready: Simple Garden Projects for Planting

This time of year can feel like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride when it comes to the weather patterns in the Colorado Rockies. Warm, spring-like days that have gardener’s hands itching to get in the soil are followed by unexpected storms and freezing temperatures. In other words, your garden isn’t ready to be planted just yet.

7 Simple Garden Projects to Get Your Garden Spring and Planting Ready

Even so, there are plenty of simple garden projects that will satiate your desire to work in the garden without jeopardizing the lives of innocent plantlings.

Photo: Anne F Walters Company via Houzz
    1. Clear drainage ditches. Snow melt and spring rains need a place to drain. If your drainage ditches are full of fall and winter debris, that water will flood your yard and can do damage to existing plants and plant beds. Clear drainage ditches and expand or rebuild them as necessary.
    2. Repair trellises and fences. These aren’t killed off by frosts and freezes, so the good work you do now on trellises and fence lines will last through the growing season.
    3. Weed and mulch. Get those early weeds out of there while they’re still young and easy to pull. Then mulch bare and freshly weeded spots to enhance soil and prevent new weeds from emerging.
    4. Test your soil. Colorado doesn’t have the richest soil quality, so have it tested to determine which amendments are needed this year.
    5. Prune and thin dead foliage. If you wait too long to clear dead foliage from ornamental grasses and other perennials, you risk doing damage to the new shoots. Use a few good weather days to prune the dead stuff from trees and plants, and rip out any skeleton plants left in your vegetable garden.
    6. Prepare your lawn. Start raking the lawn to get dead plant materials and debris out of the way. It will aerate the soil and let more sunlight in. Your lawn will be ready for re-seeding soon.
    7. Make plans with a landscape designer. If you plan on using a landscape designer this year, make your appointment now as the calendar fills up quickly this time of year.
Photo: Lifescape Colorado. via Houzz

Would you like a little help with spring landscaping and planting? Have a few ideas you’d like to run by a professional? Contact Lifescape Colorado to schedule a consultation.

Garden Focal Points: Create Visual Interest in Your Yard

Ideally, landscape design is about creating focal points in gardens and yards. The hardscape and plant materials used are carefully selected and implemented in a way that takes visitors on a visual journey.

A meandering path may lead to a quiet seating area or a water feature. Perhaps an arbor or pergola frames a carefully placed piece of garden art or sculpture. Focal points are often the difference between an average backyard and one that is remarkable.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Tips for Creating Focal Points in Gardens and Yards

The following tips can help you to think about how and where your Colorado landscape can benefit from a thoughtful focal point or two. As always, Lifescape is always here to assist you with your outdoor design conundrums.

Look for – and eliminate – competition. Evaluate your current landscaping to see if there is any competition in your various plant beds. You might find that a little pruning and/or transplanting is required to help your feature plants truly shine. Look for a balance between complementary colors (those that are opposite one another on the color wheel) and contrasting hues, which will also add visual interest.

Optimize your corners. What’s lurking in the corners of your yard spaces? You may find the answer is a big, fat nothing – or nothing worth speaking of, anyway. The corner is a perfect spot to add an outdoor sculpture by a local artist, from which you can compose the rest of the plant bed. They are ideal for placing small outbuildings or sheds that are painted attractively. Corners also make a wonderful niche for a seating area and perhaps an outdoor fire pit or water feature.

Plant smaller ornamental trees. Ornamental trees that do well in our Rocky Mountain climate create attractive focal points. A Wasatch maple (Acer grandidentatum) does well in drier soil while a Rocky Mountain Birch (Betula occidentalis) thrives in moist soils, perhaps the perfect host for your shade garden.

Is your landscape beginning to feel more like a hodgepodge than a well-planned living canvas? Contact Lifescape Colorado and we’ll help to highlight its natural focal points.

Designing Landscapes & Gardens with Stone

Water features are one of the most desirable elements you can incorporate into your landscape, but they’re typically designed for water sourced from a well or municipal water facility. Ironically, your Colorado landscape may not be equipped for the “real” water that needs to find egress during and after storms, or during the melt, keeping your foundation, walkways, and outdoor common areas free of pooling water.

Interested in Designing Landscapes & Gardens With Stone? Create a Dry Creek Bed

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

A dry creek bed is a functional and artistic way to use beautiful stones and rocks – from your own property or elsewhere – to design drainage ditches that look interesting year-round and serve a purpose when needed.

Use the following tips to begin planning your design, then get in touch with Lifescape to integrate the engineering touches and materials to ensure your creek bed drains water effectively.

  1. Study water. The more you understand how water moves, the better chance your creek bed will function, so it diverts water intentionally while providing substantial visual interest via the stones and landscaping you use. It’s a great excuse to get out there on a crisp fall day and hike to your favorite river or stream for observation. Do take notes!
  2. Think about shape and size. Water rarely moves in a straight line in nature. Rather, it meanders as it follows the lay of the land. Begin thinking about how your land is shaped and how it slopes. This will give you an idea of how your creek bed should be laid out. Then consider how much water runs through the area via your roof gutters, potential flood scenarios, during a hard rain, etc., to determine the best width and depth. Use at least a 2:1 ratio.
  3. Start collecting your rocks. Rocks are the staple ingredient and there are many types to choose from. Typically, the bottom of your bed will use smaller river stones and the edges will use larger rocks and perhaps even a boulder or two. You can dot the middle with attractive larger stones of your choice, always taking water flow into consideration.

For more information on designing your Colorado landscape, contact Lifescape Colorado for details.

Modern Landscape Designs That Catch the Eye

Modern Landscape Designs That Catch the Eye

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Modern landscape design has style versatility, which complements many types of homes. In addition to this, these designs emphasize hardscaping and architecture for creating a stylistic impression. This means these landscape designs easily incorporate the water-conserving principles we lean towards here in Colorado. Read on to learn more about the elements of modern landscape design.

Creating Unity between the House and the Landscape

Modern design calls for a synchronistic approach to create visual harmony and to prevent the design from appearing as an afterthought. This entails creating design cohesion between landscape architectural color, material, or form and that of the home. Here, we matched both the landscape color palette and materials to the exterior of this residence.

Clean Lines

Good design means an appealing visual flow. These terraced landscape beds mirror the gentle curve of the neighboring structure. Using the same size and type of plants, evenly spaced, in the beds assists the flow. The elegant, yet low-key, statuary provides an extra touch to prevent monotony.

Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns are as compelling in the modern landscape as they are in modern interior design. Rectangles, squares and other shapes become more visually stimulating if you use mixed textures. Note how the geometry of this sitting area is highlighted by the carefully designed flowerbed.

Modern Materials

While traditional materials are used in modern design, you’ll also notice many modern materials such as concrete and gravel. The latter is an important feature in many permeable hardscapes and helps these designs be water-wise. A good example of this is this walkway made of pavers surrounded by gravel.

Plants as Transitional Accents

Although modern designs emphasize hardscaping, this doesn’t mean that plants must be kept at a minimum. Planned right, plants live in perfect harmony with modern landscape architecture. We used native plants to create a transition between this landscape and the surrounding wilderness. 

Whether you are ready for a new landscape design or you have other landscaping needs, you can count on our professionals at Lifescape. Contact us today to learn about our services.