The real beauty of hardscapes in the garden are the timeless forms they bear in presence of infinite change. These twin water features offer stability and stillness as water sheets across their granite slabs and tumbles over the edge.
@theacademyboulder, a former Catholic girls’ school, has proudly stood over Boulder for more than a century. It was a privilege and honor to be part of creating new spaces and gardens to reflect its historic ties to the community of Boulder.
Although Helicotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass) is widely seen along the Front Range, it never ceases to please with its soft form and blue blades. Along with the the pennisetums, Blue Oat has a soft, mounding form with oat plumes that float above the plant. Its steel-blue blades bring a durability yet elegance to the garden border and set off yellow and orange perennials that surround it.
The paradoxical effect of these immense pieces beckons one to pause and reflect in the glassy-smooth surface and to listen to the singing of the falling water. Designed by PCS Group of Denver, we installed the entire northeast landscape renovation (all hardscapes included) for The Academy at Boulder.
The primeval garden conjures images of verdant flora, fruit trees and trickling water. Such images beckon us deeper, offering not only shelter but harmony and light.
As autumn’s color emerges, one of our favorite texture-hue combinations is Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘Undaunted.’ Known for its pink, cloud-like seedheads, planted en masse this grass does not disappoint. Originally found in the rocky and difficult soils of portions of OK and TX, this North American native does extremely well in our semi-arid climate and heavy clay soils. It is drought and cold hardy. Best of all is the astounding beauty and enchantment this Muhly grass is sure to bring to any garden when used well.
Unlike its ubiquitously used cousin, Karl Foerster, Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean Feather Reed grass) is under-utilized in the plant pallette of Colorado. This grass still maintains an upright appearance but not quite as rigidly as its cousin. Its strapping blades are bold and its luminescent, almost translucent, seed heads are worth a summer of waiting. There is nothing quite like the evening sun filtering through its panicles. We love it in large drifts as well as a focal point behind perennials. If you are looking for a unique grass to try this fall, this is the one.
Gardens are a multi-sensory experience; not only are they perceived through the eyes but the other senses should be engaged in a dynamic garden. The plants rustle in the wind, the leaves swish against our legs and the smells of the plants reward us as their leaves are moved. This relative of Agastache rupestris blooms freely in mid-summer, a little ahead of the other Agastaches. It tolerates more water and seems more adaptable to shade than the other members of its family. We love it with Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ and find its form and size a welcome addition to our planting designs. - Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ (licorice mint or hyssop)
Panicum virgatum “North Wind” is characterized by its deep green blades, standing 4 to 5 feet tall before the seed heads emerge. Toward the end of summer, its airy panicles shoot up, creating a delicate texture prime for backlighting. As fall arrives, these grasses begin to show off their yellow hues, getting ready for their grand finale.
While green sod is pretty, colorful combinations of perennials with persisting interest through the winter are beautiful. Not to mention the biodiversity supported by native and well-adapted plants.
Boulders often serve as an event on a winding path, a backdrop for perennials and grasses, a focal point and sculptural element in the planting beds. They hold interest through the winter and their solidity brings gravity to the garden beds.
Designed by a PCS Group of Denver, we were contracted to install all of the landscape renovations for the north and east sides of the Academy grounds. This project provided excellent opportunities for us to employ our abilities to read plans, work with another firm and install extensive hardscapes. We were able to complete 95% of the work in-house and build good relationships with all involved on the project.
Charged with the task of creating a landscape palette to reflect and create a visual association with all Griffis Residential properties, we were given a new opportunity for creativity. After developing an intricate plant palette, we designed these gardens to bring a boldness often forgotten in shared community landscapes. The the vibrancy of these plants is coupled with the genteel softness of their delicate hues.
Situated along Denver’s legendary High Line Canal and trail, in this project we focused on creating beauty and luster in the shared community landscapes. We chose the noteworthy Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Undaunted Ruby Muhly Grass), known for its pink plumes and airy texture as the connecting thread of the spaces. Always desiring to incorporate existing, flourishing plant material if at all possible in our projects, we borrowed from and added to the Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus (Maiden Grass), incorporating complementary perennials alongside these grasses.
We designed our new shared landscape spaces to fit against the backdrop of the classic brick facades and traditionally laid out garden spaces. We began by expanding the existing garden spaces, augmented the existing plant palette by adding a variety of native and well-adapted grasses, shrubs to compliment the traditional architecture and perennials to add variety and color. We used rounded river rock boulders to match existing stones and authenticate the nature of the gardens.
Replacing failing sod with perennial plantings, we were able to create a depth of color and texture in a formerly stultifying landscape. Thanks to mossy boulders, a stone patio, new trees and many extended and new garden areas, the stroll to the leasing office of this apartment community is now far from a dispassionate landscape experience.
Combining a plant palette of grasses all native to the prairies of North America, perennials to provide summer as well as winter interest and texture and shrubs from the Rocky mountains to provide evergreen color, this project is filled with natural wonder. The mighty sandstone boulders cut from the foothills of the Front Range add in creating a natural and native vibe to these Littleton tenements.
Studio R Interiors
Formerly a home in an older residential neighborhood, Studio R Interiors had a vision to transform the dated house into a chic design studio. Partnering with their vision, we were able to design a landscape whose beauty compliments classic architecture of the building while bringing color and life to the garden through a variety of perennials well-adapted to the Colorado climate.
This shared community landscape previously lacked a common thread tying the landscape together as a whole. Our goal was to create beauty by bringing about a strong sense of rhythm, harmony and order in the landscape. Using repeating elements and themes, we designed and installed these gardens to offer the feeling of vibrancy and vitality found in nature. The bold forms of the river rock boulders possess a subtle but strong presence, anchoring the perennial and shrub plantings to the earth while their branches and blooms create dazzling arabesques of texture and color.