Thursday, September 8, 2011

Remodeling With Grass

Remodeling With Grass

A good landscaping plan should be made simultaneously with the house plan because landscaping can determine the design of the structure.

Remodel with grass?  No, this is not about a new version of straw-bale construction, or using mood-altering drugs while building.  I’m talking about the ultimate in “green building”—incorporating landscape design into your plans, whether while remodeling your home or building a new one.  Good landscape design can expand living space, create a sanctuary, and lift the spirit.

According to realtors, three things determine the value of a house—location, location, and location.  Landscaping is an important aspect of any location.  For a graphic illustration of this point, find an attractive home, either in your neighborhood or in a magazine photograph.  Now imagine that same house sitting on asphalt in the middle of a parking lot.  See what I mean?

Since landscaping is usually done at the end of a construction project, many people wait until then to begin planning it.  By then, they are out of money and energy, and the landscaping goes on the “back burner”, sometimes for years (or decades).  Since mature landscaping takes years to develop, each year lost is important.  The people who bought my previous house are enjoying large trees that I experienced only as twigs, because for ten years I delayed planting: I was always going to plant “next year.”  Can any of you relate to this?

Even if you can’t afford your ultimate landscape plan now, incorporate a master plan as part of your initial design.  Good landscaping may determine the design of the structure—in order to protect existing trees, take advantage of views and shading, screen noise and neighbors, or create niches for ponds or waterfalls.  Many design/build contractors incorporate landscape architects as part of the design team, or you can put your own team together by hiring a landscape architect at the same time as the architect, in order to coordinate the designs.

Include a landscaping line-item in your overall budget to insure that the money will be available when you need it.  An allocation of only three to five percent for landscaping of project cost can improve a project immensely. The design typically costs less than one percent.  You can include this cost as part of the overall financing or mortgage.  After all, the landscaping should last as long as the house and appreciate in value.

A landscaping plan should:
§ Create lovely scenery as the plants grow. A twig-tree won’t become marvelous for years, but with proper under-planting the area can still be attractive. The plan should consider all phases of the plant life, so that views are maintained and features of the home accented.
§ Address damage mitigation to protect existing plants during construction.  Many plants, and topsoil, can be reserved on-site, and reused.  Good planning can prevent damage to plants, grass, and existing sprinkler lines during excavation, or damage to trees from cutting roots or compromising aeration with piles of excavation spoils.
§ Provide conduits for piping or wiring under sidewalks and driveways to accommodate sprinkler system pipes, lighting, or telephone and television wiring. 
§ Planning for drainage of water, including surface runoff, gutters, and downspouts, is important.  It must be coordinated with landscaping features to avoid damming water near the house, where it can enter basements and crawlspaces, or damage foundations.

If you don’t enjoy yard work, quality landscaping design can create low-maintenance yards.  Weed barriers and mulches can minimize weeding, sprinkler systems automate the watering, and xeriscape designs can minimize or eliminate watering altogether.  Perennials will provide color year after year, and slow-growing or dwarf plants will minimize annual pruning. 

Some of the most exciting remodeling projects I’ve seen have included ponds, water features, and waterfalls.  Rubber pond liners contain the water, and pumps provide the circulation. Water plants and fish add life and interest in a perfect symbiotic relationship.  Moving water adds visual excitement, and its sound has power to calm the savage beast.

Whether you decide to incorporate landscaping into your building program, or wait awhile, at least plant the trees.   That way you will be able to enjoy the shade, and brag about your foresight.

Tel: 303-444-0033          


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Saturday: Home & Garden FUN Fair

What are your plans this weekend? Come have fun with us!

You're invited to join us at the 3rd Annual Boulder Home & Garden Fair on May 1st from 10 am to 4 pm. Don't miss Boulder's PREMIER event for home and garden enthusiasts! Connect with over 70 local businesses available to help you jump-start spring projects!

Check out our video from last year!

Plant Sales * Food * Giveaways * Kids' Area * Live Music

Log on to for more info.

We look forward to seeing you there!

This event is brought to you by Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine and Accent Windows

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Organic Lawn Care to Wild Edibles - Harlequins Gardens Educational Classes

Offering classes with excellent teachers to guarantee you a successful garden. Classes are $10 to $15. It is best to pre-register for these classes both in case they fill up (most class sizes range from 12 to 25) and in case too few people register and we have to cancel the class.  You can register and pay for classes in person (cash or check), by mail (check) or reserve by phone and follow up with cash or check payment. HG does not accept debit or credit cards.
4795 N. 26th St. Boulder, CO 80301

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Weekend: Architects & Designers at Home. Historic Boulder Spring House Tour (proudly sponsored by BCH&G Mag)

Architects & Designers at Home
Historic Boulder Spring Home Tour

Each spring Historic Boulder hosts a tour highlighting architecture from Boulder's more recent past. One of the most popular tours was Architects at Home in 2008. This year we are reprising this theme with Architects and Designers at Home, offering an opportunity to see inside the homes of Boulder's innovative architects. The tour is scheduled for 11am to 5 pm on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25.

We have a couple of tickets to give away, if you're interested in going, let us know!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dandelion Festival April 24, Bandshell @ Canyon and Broadway 9am-4pm

Promoting awareness about dangers pesticide usage.
Lecture by Brigitte Mars about wild, edible, and medicinal plants of Boulder
Foods and other edibles made from dandelion (?)
Backyard gardening tips (achieving and organic lawn)
Face painting and dandelion crowns for children
Earth-Friendly exhibition booths
Local farmers' veggies and flowers
Dandelion Cook-off!

If Spring Greens are your thing, you may also enjoy this article from the Spring issue of Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boulder County is FULL of Incredibly Talented Artisans

We're always amazed when we discover new artists in Boulder county. And, while chatting with people for our Fall Furniture Issue we came across some amazingly talented furniture crafters. We were so thrilled with our discoveries, I've decided to share them with YOU!

Aspen Log Creations, 303-819-0301
Joyful Furniture, 303-565-6678
Reclaimed Creations, 303-378-1029
Sticks & Stones Wood Workers, 303-503-6066
The Western Craftsman, 720-261-2562

For a complete list of our Furniture Finds, check out "Home Furnishings" in the Resource Directory.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Events: Oct. 15 2009 Bonfils-Stanton Lecture

Wilderness as Muse is the topic of this lecture by Terry Tempest Williams, a writer, naturalist and conservationist whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times and numerous other publications. The theme of her lecture is restoring our connection to the land, to the sacred and to each other. In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society—their highest honor given to an American. Her lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Mitchell Hall at Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St. To register, call 720-865-3580, e-mail registrar @ botanicgardens .org, or visit Denver Botanic Gardens website and click on classes.