In 2021, #Denver-area Garden In A Box customers planted 100,000 square feet of low-water gardens instead of grass – News on Tap – Coyote Gulch


Do you recognize these plant names? Moonbeam coreopsis. Stonecrop joy of autumn. Blond ambition.

They may not be familiar to most homeowners, but they are examples of aquatic plants that are growing in popularity in Colorado every year.

Aquatic plants mostly rely on what Mother Nature provides, requiring no extra water or only a few inches during the growing season.

Plant Select, which favors low-water plants that thrive in the Colorado climate, describes this plant as an “impressive and highly ornamental form of native western grass with tall, upright stems.” We think it lives up to its name: Blonde Ambition. Photo Credit: Denver Water

The plants are an alternative to Kentucky’s thirsty bluegrass and thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. Aquatic plants also provide additional benefits such as low maintenance and added color. Many also attract birds, bees and butterflies.

Denver Water promotes water conservation efforts on customer sites and encourages them to find out about incorporating aquatic plants in their landscapes.

Check stories and tips Denver Water customers who have added Garden In A Box kits to their landscape designs.

Good sources of information include Resource Central, which offers the popular Garden In A Box program, and Plant Select, which promotes plants that need less water and thrive in high plains and Rocky Mountain regions.

Elie Zwiebel and his partner, Laura, stand outside their home in the Athmar Park neighborhood of Denver, showing off the results of their Garden In A Box. Photo Credit: Denver Water

Resource Center

Since 2012, Denver Water has regularly supported Resource Central, a Boulder-based nonprofit that promotes water conservation programs.

One of its programs, Garden In A Box, offers a variety of aquatic plants as well as garden designs by plant number from landscape professionals. The kits also contain information on plant care and maintenance needs.

A Garden In A Box, after a few years, will delight owners and passers-by. Photo Credit: Denver Water

Customers can choose from gardens with names such as “Naturally Native” and “Painted Shade”, indicating the type of plants in each garden and the type of conditions in which they thrive.

Programs like Garden In A Box are important to Denver Water because among its customers, outdoor water use accounts for approximately 50 percent of single-family residential water use. Converting a section of lawn into a water garden is one way to reduce a home’s outdoor water footprint.

“Garden In A Box started in 2003 and we’ve sold over 41,000 kits through fall 2021,” said Elisabeth Bowman, conservation engagement manager at Resource Central.

“Interest in gardens grows every year in the metro area, so we are happy to see so many people looking for waterscapes.”

Between 2003 and 2021, Resource Central estimates it has helped plant 3.1 million square feet of low-water landscapes, saving 228.6 million gallons of water over the life of gardens sold to Front Range customers.

A homeowner near Denver City Park removed grass from his front yard and planted a garden in a box. Photo Credit: Denver Water

Denver Water pays Resource Central more than $15,000 a year to set up four garden collection events in Denver each spring, so customers who live in and near Denver Water’s service area don’t have to. to go far to get their gardens.

More than 10,000 gardens have been sold to Denver-area residents since 2014.

Garden In A Box offers aquatic plants and professional designs in every kit. Image credit: Resource Center

“Denver Water is an important partner to us, the support they provide makes it easy for Denver residents to pick up their kits. Over 1,000 of our gardens go to Denver residents each year,” said Melanie Stolp, Head of Resource Central’s Garden In A Box and its Slow the Flow water efficiency programs.

And the results of customer purchases are amazing.

Just take a look at Resource Central’s 2021 numbers for Denver Water:

  • 1,834 Garden In A Box kits sold to customers who live in Denver and the surrounding suburbs of Centennial, Edgewater, Greenwood Village, Lakewood, Littleton and Wheat Ridge.
  • 100,000 square feet of low-water gardens planted, according to Resource Central estimates.
  • 9.5 million gallons of water saved over the life of these new gardens, according to Resource Central estimates.
  • A Resource Central employee loads a Garden In A Box kit during the 2021 Spring Pickup event. Photo credit: Denver Water

    “The Garden In A Box program helps people start small, by converting a section of lawn from turf to low-water plants,” said Jeff Tejral, former water efficiency manager for Denver Water. who guided the partnership with Resource Central.

    “It helps people learn more about these plants, how to care for them, and the beauty they can bring to their homes. From there, they often convert more sections of grass into waterscapes.

    Customer surveys indicate that about two-thirds of Garden In A Box buyers have little or no experience with aquatic plants, according to Tejral.

    The Garden In A Box kit comes with a plant guide by number for a professionally designed landscape using aquatic plants. Photo Credit: Denver Water

    This is why each garden is accompanied by a guide who helps customers throughout planting and the first years of the garden’s life.

    The gardens were sold in the spring and usually sell out quickly. Resource Central continues to increase the number of kits available each year to meet growing demand. The organization also ran a fall sale for about four years and in 2021 increased its offerings by 35%.

    Plant Select helps gardeners find aquatic plants that thrive in Colorado and the retailers that sell them. See their The 10 best plants from 2020.

    The fall 2021 sale is sold out. Another fall is planned for 2022.

    Bowman encourages anyone interested in purchasing a Garden In A Box to visit the Resource Central website and subscribe to their newsletter.

    A Garden In A Box kit planted in the Hampden neighborhood of southeast Denver. Photo Credit: Denver Water

    In addition to Garden In A Box, Resource Central also offers other water conservation programs through its water utility partners, including:

  • Lawn removal service program.
  • Slow down the flow consultations to improve water efficiency indoors and outdoors.
  • Free webinars on water landscaping organized in the spring.
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