Changing Landscapes, Inc., received Gold ELITE Award Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Tuesday, June 27, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Rural openness inspired design

“The clients came to us already sharing our company philosophy of sustainable landscaping. They agreed to a dryland, native, xeric plan,” says Paul Hartman, owner at Changing Landscapes, Inc., Longmont.

This new Boulder home is surrounded by farmland and pasture grasses, and the homeowners wanted the design to blend into the existing rural area. “The footprint of the house and the openness of this rural property allowed for a unique design, different from most landscapes we create,” says Brian Rasmussen, landscape architect and project manager for this project.

The client was very engaged with the Changing Landscapes team through design and construction. “They expressed their needs and concerns and were open to solutions we suggested,” says Rasmussen.

Steep slopes and retention

Since the water table was high, the base of the house was set 3 feet above the natural grade and a steep slope drops from the foundation. As such, “dry stack rock walls were installed, wrapping most of the perimeter of the house,” Hartman says. “We added Cherokee boulders for additional structural support of the walls and to retain soil behind them.”

“The wall raised some of the garden beds to the house level,” Rasmussen adds. Beds are watered using drip irrigation and the perennials in the gardens attract plenty of bees – both native and honeybees. Homeowners are delighted to have honeybees in their new hives.

Additionally, numerous artfully set boulders became the “bones of the landscape.”

Sustainable designs are what we do

“Sustainability is a driving principle for our company. After 36 years in the landscaping business, we are aware of the depletion of resources, including natural materials such as moss rock boulders and flagstone,” notes Hartman. “We do everything we can to reuse or repurpose to offset waste.” This applies to construction materials as well, which are recycled when possible. The company strives to retain and save plants including maintaining healthy trees on the site, re-homing them if necessary.

On this property, the design respected existing grasses and trees. The team worked around the existing honeylocust trees at the property perimeter to minimize disruption of the abundant bird species roosting in them – including hawks and eagles.

The design incorporated numerous perennials –including ground covers such as ice plant – to provide new habitat for animals and insects.

The existing brome grass was incorporated into the design, which did not require a sprinkler system, thereby conserving water. “We kept the existing topsoil, enriching it with composted yard waste and tilled it into beds,” Hartman adds.

Changing Landscapes Inc. received ALCC’s 2022 Gold ELITE Award for Sustainability for this project – Sliker Residence.

Article was featured in our May/June Colorado Green issue.

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