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Photo of the Day: Before and After of Street Median Landscape

Today’s photo is a recent view of a portion of one street median renovation we designed in Lakewood Colorado. We designed several landscape plans for this renovation project, consisting of many miles of existing street medians in that city, that are slated for renewal. It was an interesting and challenging project to work on, and the city staff were great to work with. We look forward to seeing how these designs grow and flourish over time!

Landscape median in Lakewood, Colorado
Before renovation photo of the same median as above, but with camera looking north.

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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Project Highlight: Church Landscape Addition & Renovation

In 2016, the congregation of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Longmont, Colorado decided to expand their existing building to better serve their growing congregation. The proposed addition to the existing building would impact the existing landscaping, so our company was hired to design the renovation and adjustments of the landscape around the building.

The remodel of the building will be done in multiple phases. So far, phase 1 of the renovations has been constructed.

The rendered landscape plan for the Saint Francis of Assisi Church.

Like many church construction projects, this one had to be cost conscious. Due to budget constraints and various budget reviews, the proposed plantings were adjusted several times during the planning stages to best fit the current needs of the budget.

One particular technical challenge was the assessment and modification of the existing irrigation system and pumps. Our irrigation specialist was dispatched to the field multiple times to work with the Church’s maintenance crew to puzzle out the best way to adjust and modify the existing irrigation system. In the end, we were able to bridge the new and existing irrigation systems into a cohesive whole.

From a planting design perspective, the client had a few key points they wished to address: Blend new and existing plants seamlessly;  create a low maintenance & low water use landscape; and add seasonal focal points to pair with the liturgically appropriate seasonal milestones that are critical to the Church.

Our team worked with the Church’s maintenance team to ensure the plantings and other landscape elements would be low maintenance. Hearty and reliable plant species were chosen for the design. We also wanted the new plantings to blend seamlessly with the existing landscaping. In addition to these criteria for the plants, we also ensured the plantings in the expanded parking lot would not obscure any critical sight lines for pedestrian and vehicle safety.

To create seasonal focal points, we considered different plants that might be at their peak during significant seasonal holidays. One good example of this is forsythia shrubs with their glorious yellow blooms that appear close to Easter, a very significant holiday in the Catholic Church. Not only are the seasonal focal points a visible manifestation of seasonally significant biblical events, these planting nodes provide attractive backdrops for photo opportunities during church sponsored events such as weddings.

Working on the landscape renovations for the Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was a wonderful experience for our design team.  It was satisfying to help the Church achieve their landscape design goals for their congregation and stay on budget.

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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Project Highlight: Olde Town Arvada Landscape Makeover

Some of our favorite projects here at Outdoor Design Group are the landscape renovations. These kind of projects can be quite challenging to work on, but they often turn out to be the most rewarding once the project is completed, the site takes on a fresh new look and the plants have begun to fill in and show off.

A recent project for a non-profit organization near our office was completed a couple years ago, and the landscape plants have been looking great ever since. The landscape areas around the entrance to this organization’s building face mostly south and west with ample amounts of sunshine. With this in mind, we knew we could design a xeric planting plan that would look great throughout a long hot summer, replacing the old plants on site that were more water needy.

And because of the south facing entrance, we had the opportunity to utilize plants that are typically a little too frost tender for the Denver area. But that southern entrance to this building gave us warmer micro-climates we could play with to plant more unique varieties of plants for our area, such as Desert Willow and a selection of cacti.

Luckily our client on this project was a wonderful partner in the endeavor and was very open to the idea of a new landscape of low water and native plants for their freshly renovated office building. The before and after photos shown below offer a glimpse of the transformation:

Painted Lady Butterflies enjoying the xeriscape plants at this Olde Town Arvada landscape makeover.

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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New Bill Seeks to Encourage Use of Xeriscape in Common Areas

As water prices rise, and the climate warms, water conservation is becoming even more important. Colorado’s current population is estimated to be 5,695,564, nearly 700,000 higher than in 2010. That 13.2 percent growth is the fourth highest among all states over that time period.

All these new residents continue to put a strain on water supplies. It makes perfect sense then, to encourage Xeriscape, which, as we’ve written in the past (the-7-principles-of-xeriscape-revisited-30-years-later), is a form of landscape design that requires much less water.

We are pleased to hear of HB19-1050, a new bill in the Colorado General Assembly, that encourages the use of Xeriscape in common landscape areas.

Here is a summary of the bill:

Section 1 of the bill augments an existing law that establishes the right of unit owners in common interest communities to use water-efficient landscaping, subject to reasonable aesthetic standards, by specifically extending the same policy to limited common elements, which are owned by the community and available for use by some but not all of the unit owners.

Sections 2 and 3 extend existing water conservation requirements, currently applicable only to certain public entities that supply water at retail and their customers, to property management districts and other special districts that manage areas of parkland and open space.

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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Project Highlight: Gateway Village General Improvement District

The city of Denver uses various improvement districts to construct, improve, and maintain neighborhood and commercial areas. One such General Improvement District (GID) has been created for a section in the large Northeast Denver neighborhood of Montbello, and is called the Gateway General Improvement District (GID). We are happy to have been contracted by The Gateway GID in hopes of helping to revitalize the neighborhood by updating the current landscape and introducing more drought-tolerant, colorful plant varieties for areas around the neighborhood. These areas include street tree lawns, detention ponds, a large drainage channel, and the monument sign area. The nearby green space study, as seen below, analyzes the nearby park spaces, most of which are too far from most homes in the GID to be within walking distance. This posed a great opportunity for us to not only revitalize the outdated and rundown landscape around the neighborhood, but to help create community green spaces, by utilizing the barren and unused detention ponds.

 

 

The streetscapes throughout the neighborhood contain endless amounts of water-guzzling bluegrass, along with landscape beds overflowing, overgrown junipers and bare spots where other shrubs have died. Our design has these streetscapes being updated to replace the existing sod and desolate landscape beds with drought tolerant shrub varieties and rock mulch to reduce irrigation requirements while also providing a cohesive and interesting landscape year-round.

 

 

In the detention ponds around the neighborhood, our landscape designs aim to incorporate a more usable lawn space with pedestrian access, as well as add colorful, xeric varieties of shrubs and trees to the perimeter of the pond at street level to increase passerby interest and beautify the area. These ponds present a huge opportunity to provide nearby families with accessible parks. Two of the detention ponds are located directly across the street from two elementary schools in the neighborhood. These particular ponds presented us with a huge opportunity to not only turn these unused areas into park spaces, but educational learning landscapes as well.

 

We collaborated with Denver Public Schools to incorporate interesting educational elements and various ecosystems that will coincide with lesson plans made by teachers. Ecosystems include a wetland ecosystem where students can do water testing and observe the various birds and insects, as well as a dryland ecosystem featuring drought tolerant, native Colorado plant varieties. Other educational elements include a pollinator garden that will feature colorful shrubs and perennials attractive to bees and butterflies, demonstrating the importance of pollinators.

 

 

A boulder garden can also be found in the new educational landscape designs with an array of boulders showcasing Colorado’s diverse geology. To offer a more structured outdoor classroom, we have designed the detention pond slopes to incorporate an amphitheater with siloam stone slab seating. To top it off, children can follow a concrete pathway painted with the planets from our solar system, down into one of the amphitheaters.

 

 

With the Gateway Village General Improvement District being large in scope, we hope to reach a vast majority of the community at and positively impact them with all of these desired improvements.

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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