As residential architecture styles evolve, many features, both modern and ancient, of the home remain virtually unchanged. Paths to the house, front and back doors, fences and gates, drives, front and backyards, gardens and the desire to surround one’s home with beauty are a few timeless traits. Join us as we explore the exterior spaces of a home and ways to create beauty in sometimes difficult or quotidian places.
Good design is more than just clean lines, a splash of color or a mass of plants. At this lovely Boulder home, its setting, accompanied by the framework of the landscape provide the palette with which beauty paints her daily masterpiece of brilliant sunsets and reflected light.
These Rudbeckia (Blackeyed Susans) and Agastache rupestris (Sunset Hyssop) make a charming pair for a late summer splash of color. This combination provides vibrancy, contrast and beauty.
These basalt columns formed from flowing magma. Now water flows from the statuesque columns, providing sound and movement.
After a few failed attempts by other companies to create a pond, this client asked us to create a peaceful oasis in their backyard with the foothills of Boulder as a backdrop. A unique mix of formal stacked strip stone and uncut sandstone boulders were brought into harmony surrounding the pond and a waterfall, reminiscent of a path, was created, allowing the water from irrigation rights to flow into the pond.
At this recently designed and installed garden just outside of Boulder, we replaced large amounts of sod with beautiful perennial and deciduous plants. As Colorado’s population continues to grow, the need for yards and spaces like this which conserve water rather than consume it rises. In the heat of the summer, our typical Colorado lawns may need more than to 2.5” of water or more per week. That’s over 1-2 gallons of water for every square foot of sod. Imagine dumping 1-2 milk jugs of water on every square foot of your lawn. Those water bills can add up. While it takes upfront cost and labor, converting your yard into plantings is an investment with large returns. The amount of water used is typically reduced by over half and the enjoyment of watching a garden grow through the seasons is incalculable.
each project is held in tension by the framework of good design. While our specialty is plant-driven design using native, well-adapted plants, we follow the basic design principles of order, unity and rhythm for every project. This approach ensures each space is imbued with the balance of graceful lines and an appealing beauty. On top of this, all of our designs work to help soils conserve water and promote native pollinators in each garden.
Grace and beauty mingle in this garden as the curved lines of the Fibonacci sequence pull and accentuate one another throughout this design. The underlying rhythm of this garden is based on a mathematical ratio, giving a sense of unity and order to each part. With a mixture of black granite boulders and gray stone patios, the plantings in this garden fill the bold form with delicate beauty. These special clients had a daring vision for their yard: remove nearly all of their expansive Kentucky Bluegrass lawn and replace it with spaces which would be more useful, beautiful, and enjoyable. Fire, water, patios, a zip-line and ninja-line, all lay in the midst of this beautiful family garden.
Pitched against Boulder’s Flatirons, this residence is seated on the edge of open space, entertaining a steady stream of wildlife visitors. Instead of fencing them out, we designed these gardens to support and exist alongside the native fauna. Plants that are deer-resistant and pollinator-friendly are able to support local biodiversity while making the garden both an inviting and enchanted space.
Astride Rabbit Mountain, this garden presented the opportunity to blend home and outdoor spaces with the wild surroundings of the open and rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountain foothills. We used natural materials local to the site and designed the plants of the garden to echo the landscape of the mountainside. We also wanted to incorporate extravagant colors that would take the scorching sun and reflect its high intensity in both bright and cool hughs. We were able to capture a piece of each sunset in the backlighting of the native shrub Fallugia paradoxa Apache Plume. The vibrancy the plants of this landscape reflect the beauty of appropriate plants in an equally appropriate setting.
One of our most thrilling challenges in this project was being asked to work with existing landscapes. Often hard-scapes are in place that must be worked with rather than worked over, and mature trees that offer both developed shade and expansive roots. It is our aim to not only create beauty but also steward that which is already present in the garden that can be saved and tended.
Visions of Japanese zen gardens were in the back of our client’s minds when we met with them about their front yard. While not an everyday request, designing zen-style gardens is not out of the question. With our climate’s extremes of hot, cold and dry finding the right plants can be a challenge. These gardens rely on the contrast between void and form. Pathways flow through the heart of the garden, designed to create vantage points and give the sojourner a window through which to glimpse beauty. A singing brook bubbles from an outcropping of massive river boulders, winding its way beneath a stone bridge, ending in a shallow pool.
One of the best parts of our work is the process understanding our client’s vision for their space and turning it into reality. These wonderful homeowners wanted the tranquility of falling water in their backyard while maintaining a modern aesthetic that reflected the design and architecture of their home. They wanted patios for entertaining and hosting as well as a welcoming place for their children to play. These stone patios and granite boulder retaining walls bring a timeless and rooted feel to the space while their muted hues lend themselves to an understated elegance.
Charged with the task of re-creating a failed, cascading stone river and falls, extensive dressed-stone retaining walls and another stone pool and falls, the Kelly residence was not a trivial project. It seems that to rebuild something is always more challenging than to build it from scratch. Salvaging bits and pieces from the old walls and river and combining them with new material, we were faced with the challenge of blending our work with that of the old, intact walls. Our task of restoring the river and walls was accomplished and the call of beauty from the distant mountains was answered.
On a windy ridge looking out onto the Front Range, this property boasts exceptional views, however the need for defined spaces always exists. Constructing mounds on each side of a long driveway, we planted them with trees, grasses, shrubs and perennials to frame the home as well as the mountains. Spatial definition is always a balance between entrapment and exposure. While neither of those are comfortable, well defined boundaries allow us to feel both free and safe.
In a community surrounded by open space at the foot of the rockies, these gardens are exposed to some of the region’s most extreme wind and weather. We chose this colorful palette of hearty perennials, shrubs and trees to capture and reflect the bold romance of the home and natural setting.These photos, taken during the planting of the gardens in 2017, capture the joy and excitement experienced at this phase of the landscape installation. The process of living plants mathematically laid out by our designers and carefully placed in the soil by our attentive staff is both gratifying and foretelling of the life and fullness that is to come.
The hardscapes at this Boulder country estate had fallen into disrepair. After coordinating with other contractors, we brought together the outdoor living space by adding the finishing touches on the pool, laying the pool deck, building the stone walls and iron fence and creating the grand the fireplace. The finished product is an elegant and classy space perfect for summer relaxation or an autumn evening fire.