Friday, January 31, 2014

Considerations before using a PLOT PLAN or LOT IMPROVEMENT CERTIFICATE as a base for your Landscape Design

Most New Homes will come with what we commonly refer to as a plot plan.

Plot plans can contain a lot of information;

  • Spot Elevations.
  • Easements.
  • Percentage of Slope.
  • Foundation Measurements.
  • Drainage Patterns.
  • A few Key Measurements between foundation and property lines. 
These can be very helpful in designing a landscape for your New Home. But there are some important cautions before you get in too deep. 

  1. Your LOT still needs to be measured to ensure the house is in the right spot and that the changes were not made during construction. I have found many discrepancy's between paper and reality, everything from additions, and once the whole house was flipped on the lot.
  2. Check the Property Lines. Contractors do not always put the fence on the Property Line, you could gain a foot or lose a foot. I have found fences as much as 6' off the recorded property line. Also important to note is that you typically are responsible for 18"-10' from your Property Line to the Sidewalk, and many times the PLOT Plan does not show this area. This give the City space to install Street Lights, Parking Signs, or to widen the street.  
  3. When I am Designing a Landscape I need to know where the Windows, Window Wells, Downspouts, Gas and Water Meters, Hose Bibs, and where the Sprinkler Connection is located. 
To create a consensus design for my projects I like to hand measure the Property to get a real feel for Lot and the site conditions. Spending an hour or so walking the property gives me time to see the Sun and Wind patterns. Small slopes that are not reflected on the Plot will be remembered, as well as getting to know your neighbors and whether or not they have kids, dogs, or even the sounds of the neighborhoods. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Putting all of your eggs in a Basket, aka Color in one Season.

When I stared my landscape design company I developed relationships with local nursery's and got the opportunity to spend some time with their customers. Best of all I got to witness how they shopped and what factors were important to them in selecting plants. I also got to see first hand how the nursery managers would set up the store and their rational. It seems that most people will buy what is flowering and in season.

Every season the flowering plants were rotated to the front of the store, placed on end caps and the plants that were not "in season" were located in the endless rows at the back of the store. When I started working on some of there customers yards it started to become evident what seasons they were buying plants because everything blooms at once.
I call this the "impulse gardener", and explains why so many of my customers are not happy with their landscape and need a designers help. With just a little research and education any one can have a yard that offers interest from Spring through winter.

When I start a design project winter is the first season taken into consideration. This helps to establish a foundation for the rest of the plantings. Typically this will include evergreens, ornamental grasses, Hardscape, and boulders. Not only will these elements create interest but a backdrop for the rest of the year.

Next step in my process is developing height variations, contrasts, and foliage color. Usually this will be deciduous shrubs and some broad leaf evergreens. I especially find value in combining plants of dark foliage color like Diabolo Ninebark with brighter golden hues of Golden Vicary privet, or golden mock orange. But remember that dark colors will receded and bright colors will come forward.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I recently participated in Channel 9 News - Gardenline 9.
Had a great time but had 3 callers asking about Rhubarb, specifically the flowering of the Rhubarb.
Yes, it is flowering too early because of our wacky weird, unseasonal Colorado weather.
It is best to cut off the flower spike at the base so that the flower does not use energy that should be going in to the leaves and stems.
Harvest is typically starts in May but may not be until mid June if the Sun continues to hide.

For More Information:

Buffalo Grass

Typical Buffalo Grass Lawn
Typical Blue Grass Lawn (across the street)

Every year I get a few clients wanting Buffalo Grass; I am not a big fan of buffalo grass for a few reasons.
1- It has a dry- grey appearance
2- Because it does not green up until the Night time temperatures are in the high50's the weed will green up first making the weeds standout.
3-IT will not stand up to any traffic (Dogs or Kids)

For More Information:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Watering

Do not forget to Winter Water.
At least once a month when weather permits.
Your Yard will reward you for it!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Corner Lot

This Project, Designed my designer Dianne, is the epitome of curb appeal

Dog Friendly Yard

Some projects do not happen overnight. This project Took 5 Years, working one area at time and a summer or two off.
700 Square Foot Patio
Basalt Bubbling Water Columns
Flagstone Wall
Boulder Wall
Privacy Fence