Colorado Springs Landscaping Design Basics and Fundamentals – 2024 Review

In general, landscaping design does not suffer from strict rules; however, there are a few basic concepts and fundamentals that can help improve your overall landscaping project. As with most creative fields, it’s essential to learn the guidelines before you break them. So, whether you’re a Colorado Springs homeowner interested in a do-it-yourself venture or researching landscaping contractors to execute the design and installation, the following ideas will improve your experience.

1. Climate

The Southern Colorado region and climate can support various styles of landscaping if paired with an appropriate irrigation system. Colorado Springs, for instance, is generally dry and mild for the majority of the year, with cooling temperatures from October through March. Therefore, it’s critical to understand how Colorado is classified in the Plant Hardiness Zone. The USDA classifies zones by average minium yearly temperature as well as proximity to the equator along with elevation.

Taking elevation into account is equally as important since cities and towns bordering the Rocky Mountains are at least a mile above sea level. Furthermore, such factors will influence the types of plants you incorporate into your landscape design. More on this later, or click here to learn more.

2. Square Footage

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One of the most important factors to take into account when prepping your landscaping design is the square footage of your yard.  For obvious reasons, you need to know the exact size of your yard in order to stay on budget by ordering precise amounts of landscaping materials. One of the worst situations to find yourself in is over-ordering, especially heavy items such as a decorative rock that is sold by the ton.

Not only will square footage influence the number of materials you require, but it will also dictate the type of machinery and tools that you can effectively utilize in the space. For example, a backyard with limited access may not lend itself to larger machines such as a skid-steer loader to install decorative rock.

As a result, this will either require paying more to rental specialty machines designed for tight spots or more manual labor. At the start of the project, your motivation may inspire you to give up a couple of weekends out in the sun, but landscaping construction is full of the unexpected. In the end, you may prefer to outsource manpower via a landscaping contractor.

In short, square footage dramatically influences your overall landscaping budget. To learn more about hiring a Colorado Springs landscaping professional to help you design and budget your project, try researching companies who are members of the ALCC (Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado) like Peloquin Sprinklers and Landscaping.

3. Slope

The city of Colorado Springs stretches from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, which means several neighborhoods and housing developments have sloped plots. Depending on the steepness of the grade, it may be possible to scape the soil to fit whichever landscape design you choose. On the other hand, drastically changing the grade may not be practical from safety and monetary perspective. If the latter, think of incorporating a retaining wall into your layout.

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You can use a variety of materials to build the retainage, such as railroad treated timber or the more popular option, stone blocks. While the retaining wall will increase the budget, it often is worthwhile since it elevates the landscaping by adding dimension as well as shape to the yard and can even help with erosion control.

In addition to aesthetically making the natural grade of your yard work to your advantage, you should also consider drainage. Homebuilders typically perform a final grade on the property to ensure water drains away from the house’s foundation. Still, with so many moving components in construction, it’s recommended that you personally inspect how your yard drains before installing the landscaping materials or hiring a professional to ensure that your housing investment is adequately protected.

Should you encounter draining issues, it may be necessary to install drain pipes or extensions to the gutter downspouts or even regrade the soil with proper machinery.

4. Material

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The most common landscaping materials are decorative rock, sod (aka grass), and mulch. Out of the three, decorative rock, especially if it’s not locally quarried, is the most expensive. That being said, it is almost the most diverse and beautiful. Large landscaping supply retailers will have an array of rocks, ranging in size with the most popular being inch and a half.

Sod, on the other hand, is generally less expensive and acts as a natural air conditioner. However, even though sod may be cheaper to install initially, you need to factor in the cost of maintenance and upkeep, such as mowing and watering.

Depending on the type of mulch that strikes your eye, it can be a relatively inexpensive option, but you will need to add new mulch every few years since high Colorado winds tend to blow the material away over time.

Generally, an exquisite landscaping design will incorporate all three of the elements described above and use safety stell edging to separate the components with sleek curves.

5. Plants

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Trees, shrubs, and flowers are the final details of any landscaping design and will add shape, dimension, scent, shade, and especially color. As mentioned earlier, the Plant Hardiness Zone is an excellent system to help you understand the types of plants that will thrive in your yard. Your local nursery should be able to explain this in great detail for each plant as well as other factors like soil type and health, seasonal temperature, altitude, shade vs. sunlight, and hydration needs.

As you select your plants for your landscaping, try to choose trees, shrubs, and perennials that will give you color year-round. For example, deciduous trees provide color until they shed their leaves in Autumn, whereas evergreen trees remain green throughout the year. Blue Spruce trees and shrubs are an excellent option for Colorado.


Colorado is already a beautiful state, full of splendor, and wonder to inspire any resident with their landscaping design. While there are several more elements and practices that homeowners should learn and take into account the five basic principles outlined above are a terrific starting point to ensure your project is a brilliant success.