Return To Blog

Denver Landscaping with Native Plants

Arresting beauty with native plants increase the value of your landscape

March 23, 2018

While there are many different styles and forms of landscape design, there is a growing demand for native plant material.  There many inherent advantages to utilizing native plants in your Denver Landscape.  Native plants are already adapted to our climates, soils and our environment.  This does not mean that a landscape is planted with just plants that are native in our natural areas in Colorado.  Native plants also provide great habitat for wildlife. There are climates throughout the world that are very similar to our climates that may have adaptive plants to our areas.  Native species tend to have lower water requirements and have higher resistance to insects and disease issues. While investigating and planning your design, be sure to assess your yard for microclimates.  These areas include sun, shade, sun/shade, areas with varying moisture levels (such as, beds that include gutter down spouts), views from the interior of the home, curb appeal, screening issues. 

Planting with native plants still allows a variety of seasonal colors, growth habits, and textures.  Great landscapes are not built over-night as it takes great thought, preparation, and time to allow for plant growth.  The process should begin with research and site planning.  Colorado State University, in cooperation with other local horticultural entities provide some wonderful and helpful information on designing and planting with native plants.  A great design includes the diversification of plant material to showcase itself throughout the different seasons, and incorporates cobbles and landscape boulders.  It will be significant to check the plant hardiness and heat zones of the desired plants.  For more information please follow the link:

The Denver landscape provides a great opportunity for an assortment of native plant species as we border the Eastern Plains and the Rocky Mountains, allowing us the capability of planting specimens native and adapted to both regions.  Denver landscape soils tend to be high pH with little organic matter.  Soil types vary between clay and loamy soils.  It is important to understand the soil types the plant material prefers as some native plants prefer loamy soils, while others can adjust to growing in clay soils.  It is important to note with heavy clay soils care should be taken when providing supplemental watering. Over-watering in these soil types can cause water-logged soil leading to decreased oxygen levels resulting in root dieback, root rot and/or plant death. Care should be taken when amending clay soils to ensure the correct form of amendment is being applied, as the addition of sand to heavy clay soils may in fact turn the soils into concrete.  Sandy or heavy loam soils will benefit from the addition of organic matter as it will increase the water holding capacity of the soil, as sandy or loamy soils drain quickly.

When utilizing native plants in your Denver landscape there is typically less maintenance.  The amount of maintenance desired may be gauged by how manicured a homeowner desires the landscape to be.  Mulching of the plant material with a shredded mulch or even wood chip will aid in the prevention of weed germination/development, improve moisture retention, and increase the organic matter over time as the mulch breaks down.  Allowing flowers to develop seeds and allowing some leaf litter to collect at the base of the plants becomes food sources for birds and shelter for beneficial insects, respectively.  Planting a variety of native plants will also provide a home for beneficial insects, such as honeybees, as well as areas for beneficial insects to lay their eggs. 

Some great choices for native plants in your next Denver landscaping project include:
Yarrow Sages Milkweeds Blue flax Bee Balm
Penstemons Coneflowers Grow low sumac Goldenrod Cacti & succulents
Little blue stem grass Serviceberry Mountain mahogany Golden current Snowberry
Rocky mountain maple Rocky mountain juniper Pinion pine Ponderosa pine Pussytoes
If you need assistance in designing and installing your next native plant project contact your local and professional tree and lawn care company, American Arbor Care.  We are here to assist you in creating the gardens of your dreams to increase the value of your residence and its beauty, as well as the over-all health of your trees, lawn and shrubs.
 Your local Denver Tree Specialist

(Photo courtesy of CSU horticulture blog)