Tag Archives: sustainable landscaping Colorado

Grow a Thriving Vegetable Garden This Summer

There’s something so satisfying about planting a garden, watching it grow and harvesting its delicious fruits to feed your family. From a single tomato plant in a container to a quarter-acre vegetable garden, there are all kinds of ways your family can enjoy delicious fruits and vegetables all the way through early winter. Best of all, you can feel 100 percent confident that the produce you consume is pesticide- and herbicide-free.

Here are a few tips for growing a thriving Colorado vegetable garden this summer.

Contemporary Landscape by Wheat Ridge Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Source: Jocelyn H. Chilvers via Houzz

Start with the soil. One of the reasons conventional produce lacks the nutrient content of its organically-grown counterparts is that commercial soil is overused and devoid of nutrients. Provide a great foundation for your vegetable garden by amending the soil. In addition to enhancing nutrient and beneficial microorganism content, you’ll also increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture, which will help you conserve water. Using raised beds is the easiest way to build your soil exactly how you want it for higher, healthier yields.

Contemporary Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Aloe Designs

Source: Aloe Designs via Houzz

Choose the right veggies. Just like your other landscape plants, each vegetable has its own preferred climate, water needs, etc. Heirloom vegetables, as opposed to their hybrid descendents, are often your best bet. Consider varieties like the Navajo Yellow Melon, Jing Orange Okra and Winter Luxury Pumpkin Pie.

Rustic Landscape by Vancouver General Contractors Rob Kyne

Source: Rob Kyne via Houzz

Understand the importance of timing. Your garden won’t thrive together all at once. Different plants have different maturity times, so you’ll want to schedule your planting and/or harvesting accordingly.

Traditional Landscape by Sterling Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction

Source: SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction via Houzz

Learn companion planting. Some vegetables do better than others in the garden. Companion planting is a great way to take advantage of dynamic combinations like:

  • carrots, celery, cucumbers and radishes
  • cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce
  • asparagus, basil, parsley and tomato
  • corn, beans, cucumber, melon, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin and squash

 

Conversely, some veggies do not do well when planted together such as:

  • broccoli and tomatoes
  • carrots and dill
  • potatoes and squash
  • beans and onions

 

Learning about these relationships will enhance your garden’s yield.

Are you interested in growing a sustainable Colorado vegetable garden this summer? Contact Lifescape Colorado today, and we can assist you with your landscape’s design and implementation.

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.

Water Smart: A Simple Guide to Drip Irrigation

When you live in our dry Rocky Mountain climate, water conservation is a top priority. Our water resources are precious, and after planning for water-wise landscaping in Colorado, installing and maintaining a drip irrigation system is the single most important thing you can do to save water.

Unlike traditional sprinklers and hand watering, which delivers water from above and leads to water waste, leaf burn and excess moisture that causes vulnerability to fungus and disease, drip systems deliver the right amount of water at the base of the plant, so water travels down to the roots as efficiently as possible. This saves both time and money. A well-maintained drip irrigation system can save between 30 and 50 percent more water.

A Simple Drip Irrigation How-to Guide for Water-wise Landscaping in Colorado

Lifescape Colorado is happy to help you build an efficient drip irrigation system. We’re a Sustainable Landscape Charter Partner with the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, and our WaterSense irrigation system is certified by the EPA as the highest water-saving irrigation device on the market.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Create a plan. Your irrigation plan depends on your landscaping plan. Draw up a plan of your landscape design, labeled with its watering needs. This will help you choose the best equipment for each area, and will allow you to set your irrigation pressure and timers appropriately.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Understand the components. There are a range of drip irrigation components available. Your landscape designer can help you determine which ones will be needed for your system. These include:

  • Mainline
  • Sub-main
  • Valve
  • Backflow preventer
  • Pressure regulator
  • Filter
  • Drip tubing
  • Tubing adapters and fittings
  • Emitters
  • End caps
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Source: Organic Gardening

Use the right emitters. Once you’ve installed your main and sub-mains, you’ll need to select the right emitters for the job. These include:

  • Individual emitters – best for establishing new trees, plants and containers
  • Pressure compensator emitters – use these in areas with a slope
  • Soaker hoses – use for small runs of plants in rows, like your vegetable garden
  • Inline emitter tubing – for densely planted trees/shrubs
  • Spray – works best for dense groundcover and/or densely planted beds

 

No main line should run for longer than 400-feet and emitters should be evenly spaced about 12 to 20-inches apart, depending on the type of soil you have. It’s important to consider that a 1 gallon per hour (gph) emitter covers about 12-inches of sandy soil.

While the amount of time it takes to install the initial system design may seem daunting at first, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the season with a water-wise landscape. Would you like professional assistance designing and/or installing your drip irrigation system? If so, contact Lifescape Colorado. We’re happy to help.

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.

protecting plants from water stress

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.