Fifteen and a half. That’s how many inches of rain the Mile High City gets, on average, each year. It isn’t much to sustain a yard, but with the right landscaping, your yard can be the envy of the neighbors and your oasis. Here are some low maintenance landscaping tips for homeowners living on the Front Range.
It’s more than just a bumper sticker. We’re talking about plants native to Colorado. Flower beds full of desert four o’clocks, bee balm, and blue flax won’t demand a lot of attention because they evolved in Colorado’s climate. These plants can generally handle anything the weather throws at them. They also attract native insects and animals. Your local nursery or landscaper can help you replace your flower beds with Colorado natives. Not only will it save you maintenance headaches, the ecosystem will thank you for it.
Hardscaping is an umbrella term for anything with a hard surface in your landscape. A rock pathway? Hardscaping. A stamped concrete patio? Hardscaping. Any part of your yard that you can pave with rocks, concrete, or tile immediately becomes low maintenance. No watering, no fertilizing, no mess. The cost depends on the size of the project and your landscaper. The good news is that hardscaping generally adds to your home’s curb appeal and market value as well.
Colorado WaterWise says xeriscaping reduces the demand for water by 60 percent or more. That doesn’t mean you have to plant nothing but cactus and sagegrass. In Colorado, a mix of low-water plants and other landscape elements create a beautiful setting that needs less maintenance. Many cities and counties have their own xeriscaping programs, so check with city hall online. Your favorite landscaper is well versed in this kind of Colorado landscape design and can offer suggestions on what would complement your home and your needs.
A gorgeous green lawn is harder to maintain in Colorado’s semi-arid climate than in wetter parts of the country. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and there are some things you can do to make it low maintenance. First, check on your city’s watering rules. Denver has some pretty specific rules, but you can get the most out of it by watering early in the morning. Then, make sure the grass in your lawn is one of the varieties that have adapted better to Colorado’s climate. You’re better off looking for a cool-season, drought tolerant variety, such as Kentucky bluegrass. It also happens to be the most popular lawn grass on the Front Range. Fine-blended fescues are best for lawns that don’t get much sun. This variety also doesn’t need much water to thrive. If you have a variety of grass that isn’t well suited to take the punches that Colorado throws at it (hello May snowstorm), consider replacing it with Kentucky bluegrass or fine blended fescue.
There’s no such thing as a completely maintenance-free landscape in Colorado. Lawns need to be mowed, xeriscapes need to be weeded, hardscapes need to be power-washed from time to time. Choose wisely, taking into account your neighborhood, your schedule, and your budget. The right low maintenance landscaping will take up less of your time and leave you to enjoy the great Colorado outdoors.
About the Author: Tony Steine is a garden and landscaping writer. Tony prides himself on finding the easiest way to do anything he can, you can bet he’s tried to make his entire garden self-watering. Of course, he isn’t just about convenience either, adding a unique design flair to everything he does.