Landscapes of the Month: Maintaining a Modern Manor - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Maintaining a Modern Manor

Photo: David Patterson

Located in Boulder, Colorado, this client desired a landscape and outdoor living design that would imitate the relaxed elegance in the French countryside of a historic estate.

The residence is fronted by an extensive circle driveway and a formal courtyard entrance. The back of the home is open, and every single room leads outside. There are many outdoor social areas, which are spacious and geared for modern family living. The exterior of the home has an old-world feel which is blended well with clean, strong lines.

Photo: David Patterson

In 2018, the client brought in Lifescape Colorado, based in Denver, Colorado, to design and build this project and the company took on the weekly maintenance of this property after completion.

With their successful maintenance, Lifescape Colorado received a Gold Award in the 2022 Awards of Excellence.

The home had been designed with an ‘H’ footprint that led to the creation of distinct courtyards that needed to be maintained. The design of the landscape is intended to make the home more approachable, and tightly designed hardscape areas open up to lush lawn portions.  The back of the lot is a flood mitigation area, and it’s designed to resemble a streambed trail area that you might possibly come across in Colorado’s high country.

The side of the home offers references to provincial French living that contains trees and shrubs growing from the walls along the narrow driveway; it has a similar feel to what you may potentially see in a hillside house bordering a European village.

Photo: David Patterson

Gardens and vegetable beds are woven into pockets that surround the home. There is an elderberry bush that had been planted specifically for the homeowner’s preserve-making passion. There is also a small but plentiful garden that is an addition to the European charm of the home. There are also water features in the front and the back along with a large fire feature.

Due to the project’s location, the home had to be built according to the local program called “Green Building.” In order to follow the country’s complex green points system, there were strict guidelines and limits for permeable surface area, high-efficiency irrigation, xeric landscaping, organic soil amendments, existing tree preservation, and adding shade trees and mitigating light pollution.

Since there was a 100-year flood that occurred back in 2013 in Boulder, there are also rules set in place for drainage swells. An expansive space in the back section of the lot was designed to mitigate the possibility of the next 100-year flood. The terrain and location of this area would not allow for the formal style of the grounds to carry throughout the entire property.

For over three years, under Lifescape Colorado’s care, the entire 34,000 square feet have thrived. In agreement with strict green building rules, only 18 percent of the .8 acre lot is irrigated turf, and 84 percent of the site is permeable; the property care team is also in charge of all the lighting.

Photo: David Patterson

The existing locust tree that is in front of the home had to remain as part of the new landscape. The tree continues to thrive even though it is surrounded by an expansive new circle driveway.

The flood mitigation area, which is located behind the lawn at the back of the property, could have easily become a neglected space. However, the natural stream bed design has turned this area into something special; it is popping with xeric and native color, texture and height.

The homeowners also wanted a large, flat area that could be used for playing volleyball. In order to do this, the space needed to be infilled with a large amount of dirt to create a regulation-size volleyball court; the green space is maintained with a semi-organic fertilizer blend to enrich the soil over time.

Photo: David Patterson

The location of the home attracts all sorts of wildlife, including raccoons and deer, but also more dangerous animals, such as mountain lions and bears.

Deer pose a continuous threat to the long-term success of the grounds, so to compensate for this issue, additional attention to fencing and plantings is part of the residence’s regular care. Flowers and plants that are known to attract deer are avoided, and fence height has also helped to successfully prevent deer from entering the property.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your projects by July 10, 2023.