Category Archives: Blogs

LANDSCAPE STYLES to Inform and Inspire your Dream Landscape

Regardless of your home’s architectural style or your personal tastes, you want your home to appear connected to the surrounding space.  By taking cues from the architecture of your home, its materials and the surroundings, your house can blend seamlessly with the landscape.  That is not to say that it must be a literal interpretation of a historic landscaping style but you can add aspects of those styles that are adapted for you.  Landscaping trends tend to overlap and merge more than architectural styles and, while garden styles may have originated in a specific location, they’ve migrated and can be readily adapted to any area.  This blog on different landscape styles will explore the following:

  • are they formal, informal or a combination of both
  • what is the overall sense and geometry
  • what are the design elements and material types for both hardscape and plants
  • what is the role of lawn
  • what furniture and décor is typical
  • what are the uses of form, line, color, and texture
  • what is the role of complementing versus contrasting elements to create harmony and/or tension and interest

Mid-Century Modern

This client wanted a mid-century modern feel for their new contemporary home, a style characterized by clean, simple lines, functional beauty and natural hues.  Their wish list included less grass and more planting areas, an expanded patio, a fireplace to provide privacy from the alley, a different style fence and a more level back yard.  They also wanted some play features for their children somewhere outside the main backyard space.

To make the yard more level, we built a board-formed concrete retaining wall around the perimeter of the back yard and brought in over sixty tons of soil.  A modern, semi-open fence was then added to the top of the retaining wall.  The existing concrete pad was extended and stone was laid over the top of it making a larger patio area.  A new fireplace, a mix of stone and brick, was designed to provide a private sitting area which tied together the materials in the patio and house.  Concrete slabs with joints for groundcovers were installed on two sides of the yard.  Brick trim separates the lawn from the new, larger planting beds.  To accommodate the children, an arbor was added to the long, narrow side yard from which swings and climbing bars were hung.  Climbing hydrangea will eventually cover the arbor and make for an attractive feature long after the swings are gone.

Modern Asian

Our clients had a large yard by Stapleton standards that did not include any builder landscaping other than a single tree.  They wanted a modern Asian feel with lawn, a sitting area around a fire pit, a shaded dining area, fruit trees, raised vegetable beds and a zen garden.

Before Photos:

Concrete was chosen as a less expensive alternative to stone combined with natural wood for a minimalist look.   The patio, fire pit and wall behind the wooden bench were constructed of concrete.  This wall not only provided a back to the bench but a sense of enclosure in the large, open yard.  A wood pergola was added over the new concrete dining patio to further tie the two materials together.  The zen garden, complete with an Asian style water feature, was placed adjacent to the sitting area with vegetable beds, fruit trees, black granite boulders and other plantings around the periphery.

After Photos:

Urban Gardens, Inc. Wins a 2015 CARE Award

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Urban Gardens, Inc. Wins a 2015 CARE Award

Urban Gardens, Inc., a landscape design and consulting firm located in Denver, Colorado and owned and operated by Sarah Christian, won a 2015 CARE Award. Sponsored by the Homebuilder’s Association of Metro Denver, the Colorado Awards for Remodeling Excellence, known as the CARE awards, are the largest and longest running contest recognizing remodeling of all types, including both commercial and residential projects. Categories are numerous and include kitchens, bathrooms, landscape, green building, and much more. CARE awards are judged blind by local volunteers, making it a fair competition that recognizes excellence in remodeling, no matter the authorship.

Sarah Christian of Urban Gardens, Inc. received a First Place prize for a landscape remodel project in the Stapleton Development in Colorado in the Landscaping category. This is her second CARE Award. The Tryggestad family wanted to redesign their small front yard and porch with an updated prairie style for their craftsman home. The round columns installed by the builder were the only round element on the front elevation and were replaced with new square columns with simple, clean lines more in keeping with the door, exposed rafters and multi-pane windows. To add a more contemporary look, the vertical wood railing on the porch was replaced with stainless steel rods run horizontally with a matching sliding porch gate to contain the family dog.

BEFORE

BEFORE

After

After

The steep, uninteresting existing steps were redesigned to be more gradual and reflect the long, low horizontal lines typical of the prairie style. The composite wood steps were replaced with natural materials, local stone laid in an Ashlar pattern with stainless steel lights installed in the risers. A stone wall was added across the front of the porch with the same feel as the steps and the ground level beds were outlined with stone edging.

Plantings included symmetrical massings of ornamental grasses and low perennials and groundcovers with interesting textural foliage that repeat the horizontal line of the prairie land and sky.

Sarah’s work was judged by the strength of design ideas, aesthetic and market appeal, sensitivity to existing structure, appropriate use of existing building elements, function and flow, craftsmanship, and overall presentation and compliance with entry requirements. When asked, Sarah stated, “I’m very honored to receive this wonderful acknowledgement from a jury of my peers. I’d like to thank my clients, Mike & Jen Tryggestad, for a great collaborative effort…” To read more, click here to view official press release.

Urban Gardens, Inc. of Denver Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

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 Urban Gardens, Inc. of Denver Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World
Denver, Colorado, January 19, 2015Urban Gardens, Inc. of Denver, Colorado has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The landscape architectural design firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Urban Gardens, Inc. among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Urban Gardens, Inc. on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/sarah-christian/urban-gardens-inc

About Urban Gardens, Inc.

Sarah Christian is a registered landscape architect with 20 years of experience.  She owns and operates Urban Gardens, Inc.  For more information visit www.urbangardensinc.com.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit  www.houzz.com

Plants that Repel Mosquitos

Credit: www.apartmenttherapy.com

Credit: www.apartmenttherapy.com

With all the rain Stapleton has had last fall and this year, there is a lot of concern about mosquitos.  Don’t spend our short but glorious summers being held captive inside by mosquitos.  Oils found in certain types of plants, especially herbs, are natural mosquito deterrents that will help keep your garden mosquito-free.  You can place them in pots or in the ground to create mosquito free zones and/or make your own natural repellant by crushing the leaves with a mortar and pestle to release the oils and then adding it to vodka, another mosquito repellant.  Let the mixture sit for 12 hours.  Once infused, add your natural repellent to a spray bottle and use as you would any store-bought mosquito repellent. Continue reading

WHEN TO PRUNE (Continued from How to Prune)

If pruning is necessary, you can do light, corrective pruning any time of the year.  More severe pruning of most deciduous trees and non-blooming shrubs should be done during their dormancy in the late winter to early spring before they leaf out.  Insects and disease spores are less likely to infest pruning cuts during this time.  This is especially important for fruit trees that are vulnerable to fireblight.  It is also easier to see the plant’s form when it is without leaves.   In spring to early summer, energy reserves are being used for new growth and heavy pruning can weaken a tree or shrub.  By late summer and early fall, plants begin storing their energy reserves in their roots to use in dormancy for next season’s spring growth.  Pruning should be limited during this time since it may encourage new growth that would not have time to mature before being subjected to freezing temperatures.   By late fall after they have lost their leaves and there have been several hard freezes, more of the energy reserves are in their roots and there is less stress on the plant.

Continue reading

PROPERLY PRUNING (Continued from Why Prune)

Pruning shouldn't be noticed HTprune2

“A good pruning job is like a good haircut.  It should hardly be noticed at all.”

PRUNING TYPES:

Many shrubs will look their best when allowed to grow to their natural form with just occasional pruning of dead, damaged or diseased wood.  Avoid making cuts at a uniform edge creating a round ball or other unnatural shape or across the top of a shrub.   This is a Continue reading

WHY PRUNE?

If a plant is planted in the right place, minimal pruning will be required.  People often don’t do their research on a plant’s mature size and plant it in a space that is not big enough.  Windows may become covered or paths or gates may become obstructed by growth.  Furthermore, plants can be placed too close together by those in search of instant gratification and a full look.  A few years later, the plants have to either be drastically pruned or removed.   Over time, excessive pruning weakens and disfigures shrubs and results in a lot of unnecessary work and yard waste.
Overgrowth can block windows or take over an area.Research a plant’s mature size and plant it in a space that is big enough.

However, If you have selected a plant whose mature size fits its location, there are several reasons when pruning is appropriate. Continue reading

Urban Gardens, Inc. Wins a 2013 CARE Award

PR picUrban Gardens, Inc., a landscape design and consulting firm located in Denver, Colorado and owned and operated by Sarah Christian, won a 2013 CARE Award.  Sponsored by the Homebuilder’s Association of Metro Denver, the Colorado Awards for Remodeling Excellence, known as the CARE awards, are the largest and longest running contest recognizing remodeling of all types, including both commercial and residential projects.  Categories are numerous and include kitchens, bathrooms, landscape, green building, and much more. CARE awards are judged blind by local volunteers, making it a fair competition that recognizes excellence in remodeling, no matter the authorship. Continue reading