Steep-slope terraced outdoor living Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green NowHow Changing Landscapes met homeowner goals
Foothills Terrace is the Boulder property for which Changing Landscapes, Inc., Longmont, received the 2021 Gold ELITE Award for Residential Landscape Construction. Paul Hartman, president, says his clients bought the property and moved from Texas. “They scraped the existing house and started over.” When Hartman and his team started constructing the landscape, the new house was mostly built but not complete, so coordination between the builder and Changing Landscapes was a necessity.

In addition to the steep slope, access to the back of the property—where the outdoor living features were to be located—was limited. The general contractor assisted Changing Landscapes in accessing the area by boarding up a basement window and filling the window well and surrounding area with soil, to create a path for the skid steer—the only equipment Changing Landscapes’ team could utilize to get to the back. Albeit the skid steer was a large one that could lift up to 2.5 tons.

The skid steer got a workout! Up the back (and front) slope it cautiously hauled 100 tons of boulders, delivered by semi-trucks in four loads over the span of a month. Additionally, the skid steer moved 15-20 tons of soil from the house construction to help retain and stabilize the boulders. Some of the excavated soil was amended and used in planting beds. All the soil from home construction was put to use in the overall landscape.

“We installed water-wise xeric and native perennials throughout the landscape, including ground covers, grasses, trees and shrubs,” Hartman says. “We also planted the clients’ pots with dianthus for a burst of summer color, alongside succulents—sedums and ice plants—to display vibrant winter color.” The homeowners planted the vegetable garden.

A water-conserving irrigation system with a smart controller, integrated with a Wi-Fi weather station was selected for sustainability.

The challenge of irrigating on steep slopes became a lesson to be learned on this project by Hartman’s team. “We soon noticed dry patches. Now, we no longer install the type of drip method we did at that time,” he comments. “We recognized how difficult it could be to install this system on slopes and still get the water where it needs to go. If we had to do it over, we would opt for pinpoint drip.”

Hartman often works with the Foothills Terrace contractor, Luckett Builders, on new projects. He says they have a cooperative relationship, supporting each other’s requirements to ensure project timelines and priorities are met. “It’s become a win-win situation.”

As for the homeowners, he notes that they were easy to work with. “They were clear and exacting about what they liked, but they were also flexible and open to suggestions,” reflects Hartman.

This is an abridged article. Read the full article in Colorado Green magazine.

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