What do you picture when you imagine Colorado? Skiing in the soaring Rocky Mountains? Rolling plains and lush farmland? Log homes and scenic vistas? Wherever you go in Colorado, people seem to be pretty relaxed and very connected to the outdoors. Landscaping tends to focus on taking advantage of the local materials, embracing native plants, and creating comfortable and relaxed outdoor living spaces.
When we think of a Colorado-style landscape, we think of big trees, big boulders, and big views. Evergreens, hardy deciduous shrubs and trees, prairie grasses, and hardy native flowering plants are the most common plants for Colorado-style landscaping.
Here are a few ideas, along with some Colorado-inspired landscaping plants, to bring a touch of the Centennial State into your Illinois backyard.
Colorado Style Outdoor Living Spaces
Colorado outdoor living spaces often focus around a large fire pit on a flagstone patio. Furniture is often oversized with thick comfortable cushions and arranged around the fire pit, so you can still enjoy the outdoors on crisp evenings.
Colorado can experience some pretty wild weather, from blazing sun to torrential thunderstorms and whiteout blizzards. Many homes in the state feature roof overhangs over outdoor living spaces, so you can still go outside and marvel at the power of nature.
Boulders, readily available in the Rockies, are signature decorative features in Colorado-style yards. Not surprisingly, rock gardens with hardy alpine plants are also common.
Colorado Style Landscaping Features
Landscaping style varies quite a bit across the state of Colorado, but it’s safe to say that stately evergreens and long grasses fit the aesthetic. Planting with evergreens doesn’t have to be boring; they come in a million different shades of green, plant shapes, and growing habits.
There are also plenty of hardy flowering shrubs and native plants you can incorporate for a pop of color. Landscaping can either be simple and sparse to emphasize gorgeous views, or dense and lush to create a sense of privacy and wilderness in the middle of the city.
Juniper, which is available in many varieties ranging from creeping groundcovers to tall trees, is one option that is perfect for Colorado-style landscaping. It’s excellent as a groundcover or as a hedge and comes in shades of green from golden to blue.
Switchgrass is a native prairie grass that also grows well here in Illinois. In Colorado, these grasses can reach heights of up 6′ tall in some places. They add texture and layers to a yard and a sense of movement with every whisper of wind.
Colorado Blue Spruce is an obvious choice if you have room for a larger evergreen tree. Its dense foliage is excellent for screening and privacy, but be warned; these trees can reach massive proportions, from 60-90′ tall, and 30-45′ wide.
When it comes to flowering plants, columbine is a favorite Colorado native flower. It prefers rocky soil and dryer locations, similar to its native home in the mountains. Coneflower is another common flower in Colorado that we can grow here in the Quad Cities area. Sedum is also popular and does particularly well in rock gardens. Black-eyed Susans are another option that grow happily both in Colorado and here in Illinois.
The best part of creating a Colorado-style backyard landscape is that all of the plants we’ve listed above are hardy enough for Illinois winters, drought-tolerant, and don’t require extra watering once they’re established. Ready to start designing your own Colorado-style landscape? Come have a chat with our experts at the garden center. We’ve got all the materials you need to bring a little bit of the Rockies home.