Some builders’ clients may take a whole-home approach to sustainability, seeking help designing outdoor areas that are just as environmentally conscious as their homes. Xeriscape landscaping, once thought to be the best way to tackle drought and create a sustainable outdoor space, isn’t the only way that outdoor trade contractors address their clients’ environmental concerns. Colorado landscapers today take a holistic approach, incorporating smart technology, efficient landscaping tools, organic pest control, wildlife habitats and lighting in their sustainable landscape designs.
Tim Flanagan, co-owner of Sustainable Landscapes Colorado (SLC) in Lakewood, promotes a three-phase approach when creating sustainable landscapes for his clients.
First, he improves overall irrigation efficiency and cuts water costs by installing smart controllers with built-in water-saving features, high-efficiency drip systems and improved coverage with more efficient nozzles and spray heads. He then implements sustainable maintenance practices, such as fertigation, the injection of fertilizers into an irrigation system. Finally, he replaces turf areas that are smaller than 8 feet wide, or on more than a 10% slope, with a selection of plants that are easier to maintain and irrigate.
“There are two different types of landscapes–existing versus new,” says Flanagan, adding that 95% of his company’s business is commercial and 5% residential. “We deal with a lot of existing landscape projects, and the challenge is how we can incorporate sustainability, whether it’s through turf technology, irrigation or a maintenance program, while considering a number of factors–fertilizer, labor and gasoline.”