(303) 447-5789

Prepare for Planter Pots

Planter pots are a great amenity in most any landscape.  Whether it’s taking advantage of a small area or enriching a large area, planter pots offer a way to individualize your landscape.  Leaking Pot

 

It is not uncommon to think about adding your pots at the end of the project, but I encourage planning when it comes to this item.  The two primary goals of planning for your pots are; “get the water in automatically”, and “get the water out automatically”.  To get the water in I recommend drip irrigation coming up through the drain hole in the bottom of the pot.  It is also a good idea to consider a dedicated station on your irrigation clock as planters tend to need more water than plants in the ground.  Drip circle for container-photo

 

Getting the water out automatically can take some planning, but is well worth.  As you see in the photo above, this installation did not plan how to drain this planter pot.  Sadly this photo is from the new Transit Center at 30th and Pearl in Boulder.  The project is still under construction, and you can see they already have a problem on their hands.  This type of staining also can cause a slip hazard, which may leave a property owner liable if someone slips and falls.  holes for planter

 

So please continue to consider planter pots in your garden design, but don’t forget to plan ahead.

-Jim Haswell, Senior Landscape Designer

Water Conservation – By Volunteering or By Force?

Blackmore Rock Garden (large)

This turf-free Ecoscape design in south Boulder features native perennials, ornamental grasses, and very drought tolerant boulders.

Back in 2000 when Ecoscape got its start as a Boulder landscape company, we were in the height of our areas worst drought in over 300 years. We struggled but persevered doing what we love, installing landscapes that are appropriate for our region.

California has been experiencing their worst drought in many decades if not centuries. Last I checked their precipitation levels for 2015 were at around 5% of their normal rate. California in response has had to take drastic measures such as paying people to tear out their lawns. This attached link from today’s CNN Money outlines some of the great achievements being made in water conservation.

With our rain patterns these days here in Colorado, this type of extreme shift may not seem warranted. But you can realize a new lovely garden that uses 1/10th of your current water use on you lawns while creating an oasis in the process. We do live in a semi-arid desert after all.

-Bill Melvin

Smart Irrigation Month

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper declared that July is SMART IRRIGATION MONTH, but truthfully, it really begins when your system is activated in the spring, and continues through the final irrigation blow-out in the fall.  Strategies for being ‘smart’ range from managing your irrigation system to water-wise landscape design and cultural practices.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d422aaab4970c-450wi

While you may consider your irrigation controller to be a nebulous box mounted to your garage or basement wall, and may be tempted to ‘leave it to the professionals’,  there are some simple ‘smart irrigation’ practices you can do for starters:

  • Inspect your irrigation system monthly by walking around your property checking for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and other problems. Lawn equipment, thirsty raccoons, or improper winterization can cause damage, so be on the lookout for problems and get them fixed quickly.
  • Learn the basics about your controller: know how to turn your sprinkler system off, and do so after appreciable rain events. Remember to turn it back on, or have a professional install a rain sensor that does it automatically.

Certified-Irrigation-Designer-3

  • Adjust your controller timer to water in the early mornings when winds are calm and temperatures are cool to minimize evaporation (between 4am and 8am).
  • With July and August being the hottest months here in the Front Range, be sure to increase your irrigation cycle to account for increased water needs of your lawn and plants. Re-adjust settings as we head into September and October.

download

 

At Ecoscape, we value the preciousness of water and believe that you can have a beautiful landscape that is also water-wise.  By adhering to smart irrigation practices and working with our professional landscape staff, you can be sure you are part of making things better!  Schedule an appointment with our irrigation specialist, Richard Matteson, who can inspect, evaluate, and make smart technology recommendations to improve your irrigation system and  teach you some basic operating guidelines.

The Rains Continue to Hover Over Boulder…..

What ever happened to April showers bring May flowers?  So what do May showers bring? flowers in the rain - for blog

June weeds, July wildfires, August’s bountiful crops?

Time will tell, but for now, we all wait patiently for the sun to shine again. With over 6” of rain thus far in May, it’s no wonder our creeks are swollen and basements are soggy. And with another week of rain in the forecast, additional flooding may be inevitable.

In my 27 years in Colorado, I’ve never experienced such a wet period. Well, there was those 2 months of unending snow my first year I lived in Crested Butte. But that at least allowed for fun times, the best skiing of my life for certain!

Drain Box in stone

This drain box is set up to move the gutter water to another part of the yard.

Here are some helpful hints for property drainage that can go a long way toward saving you time, money, and headaches….

  • Cleaning gutters- eliminate overflow adjacent to your home and foundation.
  • Installing drain boxes- at gutter downspouts these boxes connect to drain pipe to get the water away from foundations
  • Creating positive grade- adjacent to your structure, this drains water away from your house.
  • French Drains & Swales – strategically placed move water away from your house. And with some thought, create passive irrigation for your landscaping.
  • Rain Gardens – create intentional low lying gardens that take advantage of the runoff of your property.
    Foold mitigation berm with boulder wall

    Flood mitigation was done here by creating a berm with a boulder wall and lining the spillway with rock.

    Keep those rain coats handy, fire’s stoked, and pray for sun!    And remember, just 1 month till summer.        sunglass smiley face Bill Melvin

Boulder County Home & Garden Fair at the 29th Street Mall

Jim at 2015 Garden Fair booth

Ecoscape’s head landscape designer, Jim Haswell, shares a conversation with a cheerful attendee. Owner, Bill Melvin and designer Laura Green, were also on hand at Ecoscape’s booth.

It’s been raining, raining, raining…but on Saturday, May 16, the sun came out to cloudless skies and Boulder embraced a perfect May morning.  Ecoscape joined 40 other vendors for the 8th annual Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine’s Garden Fair at the 29th Street Mall.  Our friends from Harlequin Gardens and Farm Tub were there too.  Ecoscape’s plant filled and colorful booth was right next to the good folks from Mountain Mist Pool and Hot Tub.  Lucky for us they were grilling up a storm on their Green Egg Grills and sharing samples.  At Western Disposal’s booth, they were distributing info on their recycling programs and Green ‘N Gro compost.  Linda Wigod, the marketing executive for the magazine had arrived at 3:30 in the morning (!) to make sure the event got set up properly and was still chipper by the afternoon.  Editor, Carol Brock and husband Tom Brock made the Garden Fair possible, with their continued dedication to publishing the best in beautiful homes and sustainable gardening around Boulder County.  Many Thanks !

~Karina Z

Glimpses of Spring Growth

Have you ever been walking around your yard and stumble across something you forgot you planted the previous year?  Last fall I was super gung-ho to plant elderberry bushes.  I had been buying elderberry syrup for years to boost my daughter’s immune system and to  help with coughs, but wanted to have my own bushes after discovering how well they grow in our area.  On a snowy afternoon last fall, I bought two pots of Sambucus nigra ‘Madonna’ with light green verigated foliage, and two pots of Sambucus Canadensis ‘York’Allium-1 from Harlequin Gardens.  On impulse as I was making my purchase, I threw in a small bag of Allium bulbs.

At 7600 feet in thAllium-2e Arapahoe National Forest, I live where intentional  landscape is also known as putting out a critter salad bar, but heard that deer and chipmunks would avoid these onion genus bulbs.  I was surprised and delighted in early April to discover that all five bulbs were up!  With that unexpected  joy came a new worry….will the elk and deer leave them alone?   Is it better to know they are growing and look out for them daily, or was it easier to be blissfully unaware of their existence?

A small herd of elk cows started hanging out in our Meadows towards the end of April.  Late May to early June is the time elks give birth, so I thought these soon-to-be mamas may have been looking for a safe haven.  I should have known better, they were looking for some veggie canapes.  photo-4Two plants got munched down to the ground.  Oh well I thought, share the yield, at least there are three left.  To my surprise, the two plants made an amazing comeback and proceeded to send up a flower stock.  Then a week later, some  mule deer were passing through and one of them just had to sample the allium. It appears that the bulb was yanked from the ground like a prize, only to be spat out as the intense onion flavors were released.  I rescued the half eaten plant and tucked it into a soil filed a pot on my deck.

Allium with bud

The saga continues as the rain falls this first week of May. It got me thinking about the lessons I learned in permaculture training about companion planting.  Even thought the critters tried to eat the allium plants, clearly they found them distasteful.  Instead of five bulbs, I really should be planting 50!  I imagine fences of showy purple allium globes, protecting  their fellow shrubs and perennials, so much prettier and fragrant then a metal fence! ~Karina Z

Hello Spring!

Welcome to Ecoscape’s blog, a place where we plan to share sustainable ideas, gardening tips, environmental issues facing our local community, permaculture ethics, and landscape design inspirations.  We are also passionate about plants!  So you will find posts on specific herbs, edible and flowering shrubs, native perennials, ornamental grasses, trees, and even turf grass and weeds (yes, turf and weeds are plants too!).

Bill Melvin, the one doing the heavy lifting with the boulder, is our company founder and managing director.  Since 2000, Bill  has developed Ecoscape Environmental Design to be a full-service landscape company with a strong ecological focus.  It’s no accident that big boulder is on his shoulder, environmental responsibility is a weight he carries seriously.  He’ll step in to share some of the projects he’s working on, and his perspective as a father, permaculture designer, and community business leader. Bill Moves LARGE boulder

You’ll also hear from other Ecoscape voices…each person on our staff brings a unique body of landscape experience, knowledge, and stories from the field.  Boulder County is also known as an epicenter for localized food, innovative start-ups, good music & culture, and healthy lifestyles, so we’ll be sure to blog about some of these interactions as it relates to our work on the land.  Check back to our Ecoscape blog frequently, we are committed to writing with gusto!                        ~Karina Z