Anyone who has lived in, or even just visited, Colorado knows that it’s a state of beautiful and diverse landscapes. From the mountains to the deserts, from the lush evergreen forests to the Denver skyline, is it possible to reflect this distinct landscape with your own home and yard?
Colorado landscape architecture is unique for many reasons. Just the word Colorado can conjure up images of the vast, majestic mountain ranges. But there’s a lot more to the state than just mountains. Colorado is a diverse region with several different climate zones, including deserts and the high plains.
Additionally, landscaping decisions should also be informed by local climate, such as if you live in the city or the country, the amounts of direct sunlight and rain, and even wind. Collected below is a list of 5 tips to keep in mind before planning your next landscape project.
To truly reflect the natural and unique beauty of Colorado, opt for native plants to decorate your space. Colorado is home to numerous trees, shrubs, and flowers that will thrive as a part of your landscape design. Ponderosa Pine, Quaking Aspen, and Cottonwood are all popular native trees to Colorado.
For color, consider planting Indian Paintbrush, Bluebells, or Colorado Blue Columbine. Switchgrass, buffalo grass, or even blue grama, the official state grass of Colorado, are excellent options to fill out the rest of your yard. However, also keep in mind that Colorado has many different climate zones. Just because a plant grows well in one part of the state doesn’t ensure it’ll grow well everywhere.
For example, Quaking Aspen, one of the most iconic Colorado trees, grows well throughout the higher elevations in the foothills and mountains but can struggle in suburbs where the soil tends to be more clay-like.
Native plants are beneficial for your yard for many reasons. What may seem the most obvious is often overlooked: native plants live longer and with less work than other plants. Why? Native plants thrive so well because they are already adapted to your climate, meaning they’re better suited to succeed with the different amounts of sun, rain, and wind you receive. Native plants also grow better in the specific types of soil found in Colorado.
In arid climates like Colorado, maintaining a whole yard full of lush plant life can be very water-intensive. This doesn’t mean, of course, that your yard needs to look like the Mojave Desert. To offset your thirsty plants, consider implementing stones and rocks.
Rocks are easier to care for (and definitely less thirsty than plants). Still, they can also serve a variety of purposes, such as serving as pavement, lining or forming walkways, or adding variety to your Colorado landscape design. Sustainable landscapes are also becoming more and more critical. Native plants are essentially a welcome mat for local birds, animals, and insects, helping to preserve all types of native wildlife.
Colorado is all about elevation. Use this to inspire a little creativity with your landscaping project by raising your plant beds. Raised plant beds can literally uplift your yard by adding more depth and texture to your space. This can be an especially useful strategy for those with limited space.
When you can’t go out, just go up, right? Raised plant beds allow you this freedom to get creative. Some gardeners have even found that veggies do better in raised beds. Adding a little lift to your plant beds also makes it easier to keep your space organized and maintain. Trust us: your lower back will thank you for this one.
Colorado is often known for snow-capped peaks and blizzards that can strike at almost any time of the year (yes, there has been snowfall in June). However, Colorado is officially an arid state, meaning there isn’t all that much precipitation. Denver, for example, receives only 8 to 15 inches of annual rainfall.
This amount of moisture means that to ensure a successful landscape design, you’ll want to consider how much water you’ll need and how you’re using it. To fit within Colorado’s arid climate, choose native plants that often require less water (saving you both time and money).
You can also mix in rocks, stones, and other features with your plant life to reduce your water needs. When watering your landscape, timing is essential, too. Avoid turning on the sprinklers in the middle of the day to cut down on evapotranspiration.
While summer is often enjoyable and mild in Colorado, the winter season can present a unique situation for any landscaper: snow (and lots of it). Snow can fall from September to even the early summer, so it’s essential to prepare for how your Colorado landscape design will look and function with a foot or two of snow.
To shine in the winter season, perennials offer color the whole year-round. Evergreen trees, such as Ponderosa or Lodgepole Pine, will keep your space vibrant with their lush green needles. Suppose you do have deciduous trees that inevitably lose their leaves, select ones that have unusual or unique bark. For even more variety, opt for shrubs and bushes that produce colorful berries.
The Centennial State didn’t inspire “America the Beautiful” for nothing. Colorado is as scenic as it is unique; therefore, when planning your landscape design, it’s essential to consider just what makes this state so unique.
Incorporating native plants, mixing rocks with your greenery, and knowing your local climate (factors like sun, rain, and wind) are just a few tips to keep in mind when you’re ready to go outside and get your hands dirty. Let the natural beauty of Colorado inspire you as you design your little corner of the state.
Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.