Tag Archives: Xeriscape Denver

Sustainable Landscape Solutions

DSC_3274_MDWhether it is adding smart irrigation controllers or incorporating native plants, more Coloradoans are looking for sustainable landscape design and finding innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are some viable options to consider:

Irrigation smart controllers – Nature and technology come together to produce substantial water savings with built-in features to adjust for the optimal sprinkler run time; all controlled with the touch of your ‘smart’ device.

Edible gardens – To truly live off the land, one must be able to grow food successfully. Community crop sharing and gardens are easy ways to incorporate herbs and vegetables; bee farming brings a boost to the bee population, flower pollination, and honey.

Permeable pavers – Whether a driveway, sidewalk or back patio, this landscape design technique includes a solid material with joints that allows stormwater to reach the soil underneath while preventing stream erosion problems.

Xeriscape – Colorado receives very little rainfall, therefore including plants adaptable to the semi-arid climate is important. In 1981, Denver Water coined the term ‘xeriscape‘ for landscape design featuring efficient irrigation, soil amendment, and limited turf areas.

LED landscape lighting – LED bulbs are built for long life; dimmable lights last even longer. They can be zoned throughout your yard or landscape for a reduction in both costs and resources.

In the long run, even the smallest change towards a sustainable landscape can make a big difference.

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Planning Ahead – The 7 Principles of Xeriscape

Xeriscaping is the ultimate solution to beautiful and lush landscapes that require minimal water and can withstand even the harshest of drought conditions. Coined by Denver Water in 1981, a xeriscape is achieved by following these seven basic principles.


Design by Lifescape Colorado

1. First, you must spend time evaluating, planning and designing. The property must be analyzed and surveyed to determine conditions related to soil types, exposures, drainage and existing plants. You can then make a list of the facilities and plants that will be integrated while plotting out traffic patterns and plant beds.


Design by Lifescape Colorado

2. Before moving on to irrigation, the soil must be tested and improved. Soil with optimized consistencies and nutrient levels will result in better oxygen transfer, absorption and drainage of water.

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Design by Lifescape Colorado

3. Turf areas are practical and functional. If using grass, be sure to separate the area from tree, shrubs, flowers and other plants to make for more efficient watering. Ideally, turf areas should be created with mulch, water-efficient groundcovers or alternative grasses such as tall fescue or blue grama.


Design by Lifescape Colorado

4. The next step is to create hydrozones. This is achieved by grouping plants according to their watering needs and then placing them in locations that will optimize their water absorption and drainage. Hydrozoning is pivotal to developing efficient watering schedules.


Design by Lifescape Colorado

5. Finally, it’s time to incorporate an irrigation system that is tailored to your plants’ needs. Rather than having a fixed schedule, your irrigation system should be designed to water based on the condition of plants, preventing runoff and promoting deep rooting by watering deeply instead of frequently.


Source: Huettl Landscape Architecture via Houzz

6. Employ organic mulches to minimize surface water evaporation and to reduce weed growth. In addition to controlling soil temperatures and preventing erosion, mulch also adds incredible visual interest. Mulched beds are the best alternative to sweeping turf areas that require large amounts of water.


Source: Huettl Landscape Architecture via Houzz

Want Green in your Landscape all year round?

If you are looking for an Evergreen shrub that will provide your Colorado garden or landscape with beautiful greenery in all seasons, the Panchito Manzanita is a great plat to consider. This shrub is a low growing plant that can handle little watering and full sun. Many landscapes these days are being converted into Xeriscape in order to help conserve water and save homeowners on their water bill. The Panchito Manzanita does a great job of providing that green color in place of other plants that can not handle minimal watering.

Here are a few facts about the Panchito Manzanita:

  • A low maintenance shrub with limited pruning required
  • Bark and stems have are reddish color
  • In the first growing season may need a little more water, but after it is established less water is required
  • It’s scientific name is Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis
  • Grows best in full sun to light shade

Are you looking to have your landscape converted into a Xeriscape? Call Lifescape Associates in Denver. We’ll be happy to design and create your beautiful landscape that will help you save on water.

Photo Credit: colostate.edu