When it comes to landscape design at The Canyons™, we know that our residents are always working to balance beauty with conscientious, Earth-first choices that benefit native species. The good news is that by choosing to incorporate native plants into your flowerbeds, you’ll have more options than you know what to do with! The choices can be overwhelming, so we’ve collected a few tips to help you surround your beautiful home with even more beautiful plant life.
As you begin your native plant journey, you’ll want to first make sure that you have a little knowledge under your belt about your local climate. The Canyons™ falls within what the Colorado Native Plant Society calls the “Front Range and Foothills Region” of Colorado. This region, like its name implies, rests in the footprint of the Rocky Mountains and is naturally home to a wide variety of biomes — from evergreen forests to waterfowl’s favorite marshes and wetlands. This diversity of ecosystems presents the budding native plant gardener with plenty of opportunities to experiment and explore, but you’ll still need to be careful to understand your specific location. Just because a plant grows natively nearby doesn’t mean that it will thrive against a heavily shaded wall or in soil that has been too recently altered or fertilized. Take into account our Castle Pines microclimate and reference the Colorado Native Plant Society’s guide about which plants thrive where.
Why Native Plants?
When it comes to native plants you’ll find too many benefits to name — but here are some of the most significant positive impacts of planting hardy, region-specific flora in your yard: Native plants almost always require less water than many similar non-native landscaping mainstays, with Colorado natives often thriving in tough, clay-heavy soil that would have to be broken up, amended, and fertilized to support their non-native counterparts. In addition, because native plants evolved to exist in their specific environment, they are usually lower maintenance and perennial — which means that they’ll re-bloom year after year with consistent pops of color.
Most of all (as you’ll see when you walk our miles of trails), native plants provide the best habitat and food for wildlife. For example, the white-tufted evening primrose is a host plant for the hawkmoth, while all varieties of native penstemons provide nectar for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Once you’ve seeded native plants and encouraged ecobalance in your garden, you’ll likely also encounter an organic reduction of unwanted critters — as any ecosystem in balance naturally keeps out-of-control pest populations in-check without pesticides.
A Feast for All Senses
Once you’ve taken care of all the planning, the fun part can officially begin. When preparing your garden with native plants, you could adhere to the traditional landscape design principle of “tallest in the back” to make sure that every flower in your garden is on full display. This is usually a good idea — especially for conventional landscaping — if you want to make the most of your hard work. However, native plants start blooming earlier (and later) in the season and sometimes only last for a short time, so a better strategy for planting a native garden may be to plan for seasonal ebb and flow and build your garden around color schemes so you’re never without showcased flowers. Beyond that, a native garden might especially benefit from incorporating sensory details — like a small fountain or an interesting feature made out of local wood — that can boost both your garden’s beauty as well as its ability to support native wildlife and pollinators.
Whether you exclusively use native plants in your landscaping or simply add native flora here and there, you really can’t make a bad choice — especially when you live somewhere that’s already so in-touch with its natural surroundings. Whatever you incorporate is sure to make you feel more connected to your environment and to the lovely community of conscientious gardeners at The Canyons™. Visit our community today and tour our beautifully decorated model homes.