This new home’s small sloped backyard was transformed into a bird lover’s paradise. Birds and butterflies are invited in by colorful plantings providing food and shelter, and a water feature created specifically for them. Friends and family relax on the large patio, enjoying the wildlife and the beautiful landscape blending seamlessly into adjacent open space. This landscape conserves water, energy, soil and resources, while helping create clean water and wildlife habitat. Sustainable landscape installation best practices insured that all waste was composted, local and reusable materials were used, and organic waste was re-utilized as compost and mulch.
EIL Award 2012
This landscape was a lemon. Bentonite clay soil and narrow steep garden areas that either froze or baked, and nowhere for a passionate gardener to play; all dominated by a large monolithic house perched on a hill. Now these happy homeowners are sipping lemonade, surrounded by lush, colorful, water-wise gardens.
Local flagstone wall veneer brought out the beauty of the house, and repeating the stone in the new terraces wove together the house and gardens. Native xeriscape plants thrive in the heavy clay and provide brilliant color and pollinator habitat throughout the year. The finished basement has been transformed by enlarging the window wells into unique sunlit gardens framing a view of the Continental Divide. Pathways through edible landscapes and terraced gardens beckon from the front and back patios and decks, and roof runoff is directed into rain gardens.
EIL Award 2011
Abundant, colorful terraces framed by Lyons red sandstone transform a hot south-facing front yard into a delightful place to live outdoors. This landscape, in the award-winning ‘built-green’ Holiday neighborhood in north Boulder, complements the home’s modern green design and construction.
Sharing green building’s commitment to resource conservation, this landscape used local and recycled materials, avoids toxic materials, reuses and recycles construction debris, conserves water and reduces the home’s energy use. It also provides food for people and wildlife, is watered with rainwater and snowmelt, and creates a healthy diverse landscape enjoyed by the family and their community.
Grand Award 2002
A landscape to navigate by – this compass garden brings together the cultivated and the wild. Fragrant herbs, soft grasses and vivid perennial flowers in shades of purple and gold enclose a circular walk of purple-flashed brick. This raised garden overlooks the continental divide and prairie open space and is surrounded by a Blue Grama grass meadow.
This back yard has difficult access from the house, and its primary use is to create a beautiful view from the second story deck. The compass garden’s simple design and dramatically limited color palette draw the eye and provide a pleasing contrast with the wilder landscapes in and outside of the yard. Many culinary herbs are in the compass garden, and edible and native plants are integrated into the surrounding landscape.
EIL Award 2011
Landscapes can transform houses! Before landscaping, this was an ornate older house obscured by scraggly trees and surrounded by a struggling lawn. After landscaping it was a Victorian jewel, set in a lush, formal water-conserving landscape. In the front, sumptuous red and peach plantings accented with blue and purple surround a brick framed octagonal lawn. In the back, a grand pergola and terrace invite contemplation of gardens shaped by interlaced circles, the diameters of which form the Fibonacci series. These circles culminate in a gazebo inspired by the Victorian tradition of landscape 'follies': structures evocative of ruins. Gracious steps lead down around an Italianate fountain to the lawn and a garden inspired by the owner’s childhood memories of Yellowstone National Park.
Habitat Hero Rocky Mountain Audubon Award
SOMBRERO MARSH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER (OPERATED BY THORNE NATURE EXPERIENCE & BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT) – BOULDER, CO
Founded in 1954, Thorne Nature Experience offers summer camps, outdoor-learning field trips and In-School programs, reaching over 16,000 kids per year. Every fourth grade student in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) attends a day-long Field Trip Program at Thorne’s Sombrero Marsh Environmental Education Center. This center, a joint project with BVSD, has been in development since 1999. In 2011, Thorne Nature Experience began working with Matrix Gardens to develop habitat gardens to replace the weedy non-native plants that dominated their landscape, and the gardens were installed in 2013-14. They sum it up nicely by saying, “It has been rewarding to be part of designing and building these gardens that are intensively experienced by kids, used as outdoor education resources and provide valuable habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.”