Tag Archives: water-wise landscaping denver

Amp Up Efficiency with Smart Watering Tips

With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to review some smart watering tips to improve your landscape in Colorado. After all, amping up water efficiency is good for your pocket book, as well as the planet.

Follow these tips to optimize every last drop of water required by your irrigation system. Over the long run, you’ll enjoy a more sustainable landscape.

compost

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Use compost. Regardless of your soil type — sand, clay or loam — compost is one of the single most effective amendments you can provide your garden. In addition to increasing beneficial bioorganisms and nutrients that live underground, compost helps form small clumps of soil that serve as little water storage tanks plant roots can tap into. You can make your own compost at home or buy it from a local nursery.

watering

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Water early. Watering in the cooler evening hours sounds good in theory. In actuality, prolonged moisture on leaves and stems overnight makes them more prone to destructive fungus and disease. If possible, set your irrigation timer for the early morning hours. This allows plant roots to drink their fill before the water evaporates, but allows excess moisture on leaves and stems to dry completely. If you hand-water, the cool morning hours are a pleasant way to start the day out of the sun’s harsh glare.

watering

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Deep watering. Once plants and trees are established, practice deep and less frequent watering techniques. For most plants, a solid inch of water once a week will be sufficient. Many drought-tolerant plants will require even less. This encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, rather than spreading out along the surface, which makes for a healthier and more stable landscape.

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Source: Kwaree

Install soaker hoses. Talk to your landscape maintenance team about installing soaker hoses around flower and vegetable beds. Soaker hoses provide a gentle, even water source without getting water on plant leaves and stems. Not only is much of this water wasted by evaporating before it can reach the roots, it puts the plants at risk for leaf scorch.

If you have any questions on watering techniques, contact Lifescape Colorado for advice regarding water-wise landscaping in Colorado.

Prairie Coneflower

The Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida ssp.) is one of our favorite water-wise perennial flowering plants this year. This cheerful, pollinator-friendly bloom is native to prairies and western states, making it a great native plant for your Colorado landscape. The Prairie Coneflower can be planted as a part of your wildflower garden or added in the background of borders and plant beds.

Source: Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens via Houzz

In the spring, the wide greenish-blue leaves at the base of this plant will begin to emerge and unfold from the earth. By late spring and early summer, these basal leaves will send up shoots that will grow very high. In fact, Prairie Coneflowers can grow up to 6 feet high, although most species usually grow closer to 2 to 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. The stalks will eventually flower, contributing to their signature look – a tall columnar stamen surrounded by a single rim of bright, drooping petals.

This look is what earned this flower the nickname Mexican Hat — its shape and color are reminiscent of large, colorful Mexican sombreros. Prairie Coneflowers can add colorful summer interest from late June through August, depending on growing conditions.

Source: Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens via Houzz

The following traits make the Prairie Coneflower – or Mexican Hat – a beneficial addition to your Colorado landscape and wildflower gardens.

  • Drought-tolerant. The Coneflower can handle light to moderate watering. Prairie Coneflowers prefer full sun exposure and sandy or well-draining soil, but can thrive in just about any soil type, including clay.
  • Colorful. You can find them in multiple colors, including yellow, red, reddish-brown and purple.
  • Hardy. As mentioned, Prairie Coneflowers are drought-tolerant, but they’re also resistant to most diseases and pests that plague other garden plants.
  • Easy to collect seeds. You’ll have an easy time collecting seeds to plant elsewhere or pass on to family and friends. If you leave the seeds on the flowers, you can enjoy watching birds, especially Goldfinches, forage the seeds in the winter.

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden via Houzz

Contact Lifescape Colorado to begin designing a meadow landscape with Prairie Coneflowers or to maintain your current landscape design. We provide both landscape design, installation and maintenance services.

Gorgeous Drought Tolerant Landscapes

Does the term “drought tolerant landscape” conjure images of barren, rocky yards with a lone flowering cactus? You’re not alone. This is why clients are amazed when we’re able to execute a lush, colorful and interesting Colorado garden design, while adhering to green and sustainable water-wise landscaping principles.

We know the proof is in the proverbial pudding, so here are four examples of gorgeous gardens that incorporate drought-tolerant landscaping techniques.

Source: Coates Design Architects Seattle via Houzz

Patio oasis. By implementing natural rock and stone accents paired with plants that don’t require a lot of water to remain green, you can design a patio oasis. To accomplish this with your own patio:

  • Use pavers. You can choose pavers in a variety of colors, sizes and materials, such as natural stone, to become an artistic, as well as a functional foundation for your patio.
  • Plant a variety. Use a combination of drought-tolerant plants and trees of varying heights and widths to feel surrounded by foliage.

Source: Boxhill Design via Houzz

A sprawling work of art. There’s nothing drab or boring about this sprawling desert landscape full of beautiful colors. The Desert Museum Palo Verde adds vibrant green at and above eye-level. Below, you can see the rich purple hues of Babylon Verbena and bright bursts of red from Blue Elf Blooms. This landscape is proof that sustainable garden designs should never sacrifice visual interest.

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Source: Stepables

The illusion of a lawn. Giving up the lawn is one of the most difficult sacrifices for homeowners making the switch to a water-wise landscape. Using plenty of water-wise plants combined with drought-tolerant groundcover can ease your pain. Use low-maintenance ornamental grasses at varying heights and plants like Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis), which is a gorgeous lawn substitute.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Enhance corner sections. You can reduce your lawn square footage and save dramatically on water bills by cutting out the corner sections of your grassy areas and replacing them with water-wise plants. This way, you get the best of both worlds and it will make for a more visually interesting landscape to boot.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to augment your Colorado garden design with gorgeous water-wise plants, grasses and groundcover.

How to Design a Drought-Tolerant Landscape

If you live in Colorado, you’re no stranger to drought conditions. These past years have been dry ones and municipalities are becoming more rigid regarding non-essential water use. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to design a drought-tolerant landscape in Colorado that can yield a lush and interesting look with minimal water consumption.

Here are a few tips for designing a sustainable landscape that can weather the dry years, as well as the Rocky Mountains’ extreme temperature variations and soil conditions.

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Evaluate site conditions. Patience is a virtue for landscape designers. Use a season or two to evaluate your site, noting which areas tend to get the most and least water, as well as sun and/or shade. By evaluating your landscape, you can make better choices about which plants should go where. For example, the more moist areas of your yard — around downspouts or at the base of slopes — can be used for plants that require more water. You can save sandier, dryer patches for drought-resistant plants.

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Source: Thomas J. Story via Sunset

Amend your soil where needed. If you aren’t sure how a particular section of soil will react with water, dig a hole at least 12-inches deep and fill it with water. If the water drains immediately, you’ll need to amend it with organic materials, such as compost or leaf mulch. If the water pools and stays put for 30-minutes or more, you’ll need to add sandier soil amendments to increase porosity.

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Source: Norm Plate via Sunset

Replace or reduce your lawn. Lawns are not considered drought tolerant. Consider replacing your lawn, or a good portion of it, with colorful stone and ornamental plants. Ornamental grasses will provide a burst of green, while requiring significantly less water than a lawn.

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Source: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Add color with drought tolerant plants. Our high-desert landscape is bursting with native color. You can achieve the same by planting native, drought-tolerant plants such as:

Once established, these plants can survive on rainfall and snow melt alone.

Would you like professional assistance designing a drought-resistant Colorado landscape plan for your property? Contact us at Lifescape Colorado for more information about our services.

Protect Your Colorado Garden From Drought Conditions

Since much of the western U.S. experiences serious drought conditions, it’s important to remember how to protect our gardens from drought. Here at Lifescape Colorado, we always advocate water-wise landscaping to yield a healthy and vibrant landscape year-round.

These five tips will help you protect your Colorado garden from drought conditions, so you can enjoy your landscaping regardless of the annual rainfall.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

Use xeriscape techniques. Your first line of defense against drought is to plant things that don’t require much water in the first place. This is often referred to as xeriscaping. Look for native plants, shrubs and trees that have adapted to our climate. These plantings won’t require much water once established and will also attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your garden.

Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil

Source: http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov via Cornell Extension Cooperative Extension Onondago County

Build healthy soil. Healthy soil retains water by forming sponge-like clumps, which absorb and store water for the roots. A great way to build healthy soil is to start composting. Compost provides consistency, nutrients and the foundation for healthy microbe development, all of which will help your plants through a drought.

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Source: Cornell University

Mulch, mulch, mulch. Plants are susceptible to heat and drought above and below ground. In addition to retaining water, a generous layer of mulch (3 to 4 inches) will also insulate roots, keeping them as cool as possible. We recommend using organic mulch, such as shredded newspaper, grass clippings, bark, wood chips, straw, leaf material, etc.

Design by Lifescape Colorado

Keep a longer lawn. If you have a lawn, keep grass blades at least 3-inches in length. This creates a shadow effect, which slows down evaporation and keeps roots cooler.

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Source: Sura Nualpradid via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Water early in the morning. Set irrigation timers for early morning, so your plants can make the most of the water you provide before it evaporates. If you water by hand, you can enjoy the cooler parts of the day yourself, rather than battling the heat in an effort to water your plants. Avoid watering at night or in the evening, as this tends to encourage disease growth.

Contact Lifescape Colorado for sustainable landscaping maintenance to keep your yard healthy through drought conditions.