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The Best Plants for High Altitude Landscaping

After getting great feedback on my 20 Best Xeriscape Plants for Colorado post, which included a few follow-up requests, I have decided to publish a list of the best high altitude plants for landscaping.

Photo of Blue Globe SpruceThe Challenges of High Elevations

When landscaping at higher elevations, there are many challenges to consider.  The plants themselves are often limited in how cold of winter temperature they can withstand.  And there are also the challenging microclimates, wind, and levels of moisture that can occur at high altitudes.

Grazing deer and elk are also a common problem at higher elevations.  All of these factors should be carefully considered in the design of the landscape.  Consult the USDA Plant Hardiness zones for your local area, and consider working with an experienced landscape architect or garden designer.

It would be a great idea to do some nature walks in your local area to observe the native plants that are thriving naturally, and are well adapted to the various microclimates that can be found in your area.

I have decided to limit the list to plants that I feel will do well above 8,000 ft.   There are several plants that are advertised to do well above 7,500 ft, but I am not comfortable recommending all of them, so lets go with 8,000.

Deciduous Trees

  • Quaking Aspen    Populus tremuloides
  • Canada Red Cherry    Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’
  • Russian Hawthorne    Crataegus ambigua
  • Ginnala Maple    Acer ginnala
  • Apple and Crabbaple    Malus (several types)
  • Alder    Alnus tenuifolia
  • Tartarian Maple    Acer tartaricum
  • Birch    Betula (several types)
  • Mountain Ash    Sorbus aucuparia
  • English Oak    Quercus robur


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What Does a Landscape Architect Do? – Find out on 8-17-11

What does a Landscape Architect do? Do they dig holes? Sell flowers? Or do they just draw “pretty pictures?” The profession of Landscape Architecture has been perceived incorrectly by many and this upcoming Wednesday  that starts to change. Unknown to most, but Landscape Architecture actually requires a college degree which is a little longer than the typically 4 years. Internships are becoming the norm at universities giving students professional experience between their studies. Then even once you graduate you technically can’t even call yourself a Landscape Architect until you further your experience and pass the gauntlet that is the LARE (Landscape Architect Registration Exam).

So getting back to the original point, what does a Landscape Architecture do? Well they design and plan the environment that surrounds you. Basically everywhere you live, work and play at, has had a Landscape Architect’s touch put on it. Here are just a few examples of places that Landscape Architects create:

College Campuses
Commercial Property
Public & Therapeutic Gardens
Hotels & Resorts
Golf Courses
Parks & Recreational Areas
Residential Sites
Land Reclamation
City Planning
Transportation Corridors
Urban Environments

If you would like to see a little bit more, this video is a sample of what is to come this Wednesday 08-17-2011.

This is the official blog of Outdoor Design Group, Colorado Landscape Architects.  For more information about our business and our services, click here.


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