Urban Farming

Chef Maggie O’Toole is a culinary teacher and the owner of Foodfest, a cooking school that teaches children, teens and adults to cook from scratch.  She strives to empower cooks, especially young ones, to become educated consumers who shape the food landscape and demand fresh over packaged food and sustainable over mass produced.

We are thrilled to have twice had the opportunity to help support Maggie’s cause by designing and building spaces for edible gardens that could be used in her cooking classes.  In 2015, we built raised vegetable beds and a custom outdoor kitchen in the backyard.

Two years later in 2017, we expanded the urban gardens to the front/side yard, designing even more raised vegetable beds and a fun square foot garden along the house.  Covered benches around the perimeter of the garden provide space to rest a bit and escape from the heat.

Before Planting

After Planting

For more information about Foodfest, please visit www.chefmaggiesfoodfest.com


Client Testimonial:

The garden design has allowed me to realize my dream for a truly urban farm with a tremendous crop output.  I have always hoped that I could have a landscape that would yield enough produce for me to be able to fully sustain my household for the entire summer.  This has happened with Sarah’s design. The small Stapleton side and back yard was transformed into a rich modern oasis of bounty!  I have also been able to utilize my garden as a learning interactive classroom for my cooking classes with the variety of plants that I grow.   Small doesn’t need to be limiting with Sarah’s efficient and unique design!

Spanish-Southwestern Beauty

This client contracted with us to redesign the front yard of their home, located on a large corner lot overlooking open space with breathtaking views of the Colorado Front Range.  Their goal was to eliminate the grassy slope and replace it with a terraced retaining wall and new stairs since the original ones had experienced some settlement and cracking.  They also wanted to replace the large, overgrown shrubs with lower maintenance plantings. To accomplish their goal, we explored different shapes, layouts, levels and material options that were in keeping with the Spanish-Southwestern landscape style.


Geometry and Materials:
Spanish-Southwestern style landscapes are a combination of formal and informal.  They can be formal with straight lines that provide a more human scale against the large, open landscape.  Plant design can make the space less formal, softening the formal hardscape lines.  We chose to use a geometric combination of straight lines and bold curves that echoed the arched entryways.  For hardscaping materials, we matched the brick in the house with a complementary local, red flagstone that tied in with the clay roof tiles and was reminiscent of southwestern landscapes.  A cracked, settled section of the stairs was re-poured while the remainder of the original stairs was reused.  The harshness of the concrete was softened with a tinted sealant that complemented the house color and brick was added to the stair risers.  More formal plants were used adjacent to the entry stairs with less formal, more natural plants used elsewhere such as dwarf pines, yucca, ornamental grasses and succulents to blend with the surrounding natural landscape.


Hardscape Design

Plant Design

Northfield Modern

When this client moved from one Stapleton home to another, we were happy to have the opportunity to work with them again to create a new outdoor space.  As before, they wanted a simple, modern look.  They desired areas for sitting around a fire pit, dining, outdoor cooking and a water feature.

We chose the existing covered porch adjacent to the kitchen for the dining location and the remaining areas and features were located on the new patio.  The patio was poured with large joints that were filled with crushed black granite to define the separate functional areas and to contrast with the concrete.  Furniture for the sitting area was centered on a stainless steel fire pit.  The outdoor kitchen made of cabinetry suitable for outdoors was located adjacent to the dining area while the water feature was centered on both the dining and sitting areas allowing the sound to be enjoyed from either area.

A year later, the client contacted us again wanting to take the project a step further by designing something to further define the open patio space and make it feel less exposed.  We designed a metal pergola with architectural screens for a modern look and to provide partial shade and architectural interest.  The wood support beams provide a warm, natural element to contrast the modern elements and tie in with the dining chairs and cedar fence.  The cut-outs in the metal panels provide interesting shadows that move with the sun.