Landscaping for water conservation in eastern Colorado

Material Information

Landscaping for water conservation in eastern Colorado
Kotewicz, Jill
Colorado Center for Community Development
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
vi, 88 pages : illustrations, forms, map, plans ; 22 x 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Landscape architecture -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Water conservation -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Landscape architecture ( fast )
Water conservation ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (page 88).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Landscape Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
General Note:
"Funding for this project was made possible through a contract between the Department of Local Affairs, State of Colorado, and the Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver."
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jill Kotewicz ; [prepared for] Rural Community Assistance Program, Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
12635291 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A77 1985 .K688 ( lcc )

Full Text


/(Commiytee Member's Name & Title)
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A landscape architectural thesis presented to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Landscape Architecture.
Spring 1985
Rural Community Assistance Program Center for Community Development and Design
University of Colorado at Denver 1100 Fourteenth Street Denver, Colorado 80202
Funding for this project was made possible through a contract between the Department of Local Affairs, State of Colorado, and the Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver.
CU-Denver is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.

Acknowledgments ...................... i
Abstract ............................ ii
Process ............................. iv
Introduction ................... 1
Water Supply ................... 2
History ........................ 3
Purpose and Methodology ........ 5
Semi-Arid Landscape Model ______ 7
1. Environmental Site
Analysis ................ 7
2. Seven Steps to
Xeriscape .............. 10
Results and Conclusions ....... 14
1. Owner/Developer ....... 15
2. Single-Family
Homeowner .............. 20
3. Planned Community
Homeowner .............. 27
4. Landscape Architect/
Designer ............... 30
5. Maintenance Personnel.. 37
Comparisons ............................... 41
Implications for Design ................... 45
Case Study ................................ 47
1. Site Analysis ..................... 48
2. Visual Sensitivity Analysis ....... 52
3. Drainage Analysis .................. 54
4. Program Development ................ 57
5. Concepts ........................... 58
6. Design Concepts .................... 60
7. Non-Water Conserving Design ....... 67
8. Cost and Savings ................... 69
9. Conclusions ........................ 72
1. Sample of Questionnaires............ 73
2. List of Projects and
Respondents ........................ 85
RESOURCES..................................... 88

Assistance in the development and production of this project included:
Dorothy Borland, Turfgrass Consultant Bernie Jones, Research Director, Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver.
Jim Knopf, Landscape Architect Dan Young, Director of Landscape Architecture, University of Colorado at Denver Bob Horn, Center for Community Development and Design
Special thanks to A1 Rollinger and Jack Gilcrest for their help in locating water conservative designs and to the landscape architects and designers whose projects were used in this research. Finally, thanks to all who shared their ideas and answered the questionnaires.

The purpose of this study is to identify landscapes that apply water conservation techniques and to identify the factors that are related to public acceptance of these landscapes, that will aid in future design of landscapes that conserve water.
Four types of projects were identified. They are: single-family residence, planned multi-family developments, public parks and business or industrial parks.
Questionnaires were developed and distributed to five categories of respondents: owner/developer, single-family homeowner, planned community homeowner, landscape architect/designer, and maintenance personnel.
Results were documented and summaries derived as they apply to future water conservation designs.
It is important to demonstrate cost savings to the owner/developer. To avoid misconceptions they need to be aware of the appearance of water conserving concepts.
For the single-family homeowner it is important to document direct benefits such as, lower water bills and less maintenance. Buffalo grass has worked well in residences. Alternative areas that are functional and reduce water use are successful. Shrub and ground cover areas work well and reduce water use.
In the planned community the designer and maintenance personnel play an important part because the planned-community homeowner generally has little involvement with the landscape. The planned-community homeowner must be made aware of benefits derived from the landscape such as lower monthly maintenance bills. There is an opportunity to provide information and guidelines to educate the planned-community homeowner about the water conservation ideas in their landscapes.
The landscape architect and designer are able to work with clients and influence them concerning water conservation ideas. Correct plant selection and landscape zoning are important. Alternative irrigation systems need to be investigated by landscape architects. Good communication with other landscape professionals is necessary to ensure success of water conservation designs.
It is important to employ maintenance personnel who are willing to strive for water conservation goals. Water savings must be documented. Specific maintenance scheduling for each site is essential.
Conclusions from the five categories of respondents are compared in terms of benefits, interest, education and relationships.

A site in Colorado Springs was selected to illustrate the summaries from the questionnaires. Development on this site consists of apartment buildings. Because of the severe shrink-swell capacity of the soil, it is necessary to eliminate as much irrigation on the site as possible. Design factors derived from the research are addressed in the case study.



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It is evident that the need is increasing to conserve water along the Eastern Slope of Colorado. Conserving water in the landscape could greatly contribute to this conservation effort.
The purpose of this study is to identify landscapes that have been designed to conserve water and to identify the factors that are associated with the public acceptance of these landscapes to aid in further design of landscapes that conserve water.
Areas along the Eastern Slope of Colorado are developing at a rapidly increasing rate. By the year 2000, water supply will not be able to meet the demand unless projects such as transmountain diversions and reservoirs are built. Many people move to and live in Colorado for its beautiful natural environment, especially in the mountains. These water projects will destroy much of the environment. Water conservation alternatives need to be practiced, to control the magnitude of these projects.
Water conservation in the landscape is definitely part of Colorado's future planning. When water conservation is suggested, people see a picture of deserts and a brown appearance, rather than green. It is essential to educate people in methods of conserving water in a landscape that is attractive and so remove this stigmatism. Water conservation will become part of our culture. Landscape practices in Colorado have attempted to follow the tradition of the English Garden. These gardens transferred well to the Eastern United States, but are not always suitable to Eastern Colorado and the semi-arid West.

Present water supplies for Eastern Colorado are from groundwater, the South Platte River and its tributaries, and transmountain diversions. Prevailing westerly winds unload most of their moisture to the west of the Continental Divide. This leaves the Eastern Slope with fourteen inches or less of precipitation a year, not enough to support the population or the landscape style we have created. The Colorado Open Space Council is currently working on a campaign to inform citizens of the implications resulting from the proposed projects for supplying water to the growing population on the Eastern Slope. The Colorado Open Space Council together with the Environmental Caucus, comprised of approximately thirty environmental groups, are proposing and promoting alternatives to the Denver Water Board proposals. The Denver Water Board proposals have a projected cost of two billion dollars and would include projects such as Two Forks Dam, the East Gore and Eagle/Piney and the Eagle/Colorado projects.
One of the most important aspects of the Environmental Caucus proposal is conservation. Studies have shown that "Outdoor watering accounts for fifty percent of the water used in residential communities, and it is estimated that Denver residents overwater their lawns by twenty-five percent."1 Wise use of water can be achieved through various means in the landscape: watering more efficiently and designing the landscape with alternative materials and plants that require less water.
The future will require the wise use of water to prevent unlimited destruction of the environment. There are many ways to meet the water supply and one of these is to reduce the waste of this resource so that there will be water in the year 2000, without destruction of the environment.

Historically, water supply has been a problem for Denver. The Metropolitan Denver Water Supply Environmental Impact Statement states, "In 1870, Denver population was 4,759, and water was a critical problem. The appropriation doctrine in 1876 stated 'first in time' is the 'first in right'. By the early 1900's all of the
dependable flow of the South Platte river had been appropriated."2 This was the start of the never ending demand to develop new ways to bring water to the growing Eastern Slope of Colorado.
Concerns over landscaping to conserve water have existed for some time. George Kelly is one of Colorado's primary leaders in these ideas. He has written many books for this region, and probably his most well known book is Rocky Mountain Horticulture is Different, which was written in 1951, with two new editions, one in 1958 and the other in 1967.
In 1977, the Denver Metro area experienced a drought, with less than nine inches of precipitation. This prompted water restrictions for lawn areas. After this dry spell, and observing the damage that was done, municipalities started developing ordinances to prevent disaster from occurring due to water shortages.
In 1980, the City of Aurora published the book Landscaping for Water Conservation in a Semi -Arid Environment to educate citizens on how to accomplish water conservation in their residential landscape.
The Denver Water board has been helping to promote water conservation. They have coined the term "Xeriscape", derived from the Greek word Xeros, which means dry. Their logo and word Xeriscape are both trademarked and used extensively to promote conservation education. A Xeriscape Task Force was originated in 1981, to create a demonstration garden to aid the public in understanding that attractive water conservative landscapes are possible. This initial Task Force was comprised of the Association of Landscape Contractors of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Sod Growers Association, The Colorado State University Extension Service, and the Denver Water Department. The Task Force has grown and today includes numerous prominent and successful professionals concerned with educating the public about Xeriscape. They hope to dispel the idea that Xeriscape is a rock-covered site with few plants. The concept of Xeriscape or Water Conservation to create a beautiful landscape is viable and growing. Many experts and professionals are starting to realize that this is a need for our future.

Owner/Developer: This questionnaire for the
owner/developer addressed:
1. General information
2. Design issues
3. Installation
4. Plants
5. Irrigation
6. Maintenance
7. Final section addressing attitudes
Single-Family Homeowner: The questionnaire for the Homeowner included:
1. General information
a. location of site
b. designer
c. miscellaneous
2. Design concepts including plant material
3. Installation
a. general
b. plants
c. irrigation
4. Maintenance
a. for establishment
b. after establishment
5. Final section on attitudes about water conservation
Planned Community Homeowner: This questionnaire for the Planned Community asked:
General questions on the attitudes of the community representative towards the water conservation measures applied to their area.
Landscape Architect or Designer: The
questionnaire for the Landscape Architect or Designer included:
1. General questions on design philosophies
2. Questions specific to a project they had designed
Maintenance Personnel: The questionnaire for the maintenance personnel included:
1. General information
2. Design
3. Construction
4. Maintenance
a. for establishment
b. after establishment
5. Final section addressing acceptance
Conclusion: These questionnaires were then distributed and responses tabulated. Information from the analysis of these questionnaires can aid in the design of other landscapes. Results and conclusions from the questionnaires are discussed in Chapter IV.


seh/ii-arid landscape h/iodel
For those not familiar with a semi-arid landscape, a brief description follows of the importance of an environmental site analysis and the Seven Steps to Xeriscape. These seven steps are currently used by the profession to help promote water conservation.
Eastern Colorado's environmental characteristics are important for people in Colorado to understand when considering landscaping. An analysis of the site considered for the landscape design is essential. Climate, micro-climate, topography and landforms, soil types, existing vegetation and available water are all essential elements to be considered.
The precipitation in Colorado can vary from seven to twenty inches, depending on the year, with an average precipitation of fourteen inches per year. One third of this precipitation falls in April and May, often with no further precipitation the rest of the summer. This dry climate is complicated by extreme temperature variations, strong winds and intense sunlight. There is little that we can do to change overall climate, but we can create micro-climates that modify the effects of climate.
The reflective or absorbtive qualities of the material need to be considered when designing. Examples of highly reflective materials are concrete and brick. These materials will radiate heat and light and make the surrounding area warmer. Examples of absorptive materials would be plants, such as groundcovers or grass. These materials will cool the surrounding area.
Westerly winds can drop much of their moisture before they reach Eastern Colorado. Wind can alter the climate in other ways by increasing the severity of cold temperatures. This is called the windchill factor. Wind can desicate plant material and dry out soils. Knowledge of how to plant for windbreaks is necessary to help modify this wind factor.
Topographic orientation and shading effects from structures and trees will also create a micro-climate.
After analyzing climatic and micro-climatic factors that exist for the site, the possibility of creating other micro-climatic areas can be considered. These types of considerations can help greatly to modify the effects of the sometimes harsh Colorado climate. They also help in designing a landscape where water is saved through buffering winds and cooling and shading -areas of the site.
Characteristics that create existing microclimates on a site need to be documented. Seasonal sun patterns, wind direction, and warm or cool temperature pockets should be noted.

Analysis of surrounding and site specific topography is important. Will water from other areas flow into the site? Are there any potential erosion or drainage problems? Will the topography of the site retain some of the moisture or water flow to use for the landscape? Steep slopes may cause erosion problems or loss of available water.
The orientation of slopes can also create a micro-climatic condition, for example: the
windward side of a slope can receive more moisture and generally retain soil moisture longer than the leeward side. A north facing slope will receive less sun than a south facing slope.
Knowing the water flow patterns of a site can help in designing a landscape to utilize water to a maximum potential. Swales and depressions act as collection areas for moisture and can be designed appropriately, as can higher, dryer areas.
Knowledge of the existing soil will include various factors. One is the topsoil depth.
Topsoil is a layer of soil on the surface that usually has the most available nutrients and the best soil texture. It is important to retain this topsoil on the site. Identification of the different soil types will aid in knowing how that particular soil type will affect erosion, drainage and soil stability. Each soil type can have a different pH, porosity, texture, structure, available nutrient supply and available water supply. Existing soil properties will aid in irrigation scheduling and using plants that prefer certain soil characteristics; for example, acid or alkaline.

What vegetation grows naturally on the site? This will aid in knowing whether the landscape will add a significantly different vegetation type to the site. In most cases, on the plains, the new landscape is significantly different.
During the design process a choice needs to be made on what kind of plant material will best suit different areas of the site. There may be areas that are hot and dry and exposed to the sun. These areas would be prime locations for some of Colorado's native drought tolerant species. Other areas may be shaded and sheltered; these could be considered for other plantings that are more exotic. A landscape in Colorado can have a definite identity with our native vegetation. This kind of thoughtful design usually results in a reduction of water-hungry plants, but remains attractive.
Where is the water coming from to the site? Is it ground water or a municipal water supply? How much is that water going to cost? These are all factors that will determine how necessary it will be to conserve water.
Water patterns will have already been noted in the topographical analysis. Water infiltration can be discovered from the soil analysis. The level of water tables is important to know as well as the existing soil moisture content. In order to conserve water, a balanced water cycle is preferred. This can be achieved through the proper analysis of existing available water sources, and by taking measures to correct any problems.
After analysis of climate, topography, soil, existing vegetation and available water is made, an overall understanding of the site will be possible. Ideas will begin forming on what are the best ways to design for this site, using water conservation concepts.
These analyses need to be considered throughout the stages of planning and design for the site.


This chapter includes results and conclusions from the questionnaires distributed to gather information on water conservation practices in the landscape. Results and conclusions are presented individually for each category of respondents; Chapter V will include a comparison across categories.
Response rates were as follows:
Eight questionnaires distributed Five returned 63% response rate
Single-Family Homeowner Thirteen questionnaires distributed Twelve returned 92% response rate
Planned Community Homeowner
Twelve questionnaires distributed Eight returned 67% response rate
Landscape Architect and Designer Fifteen questionnaires distributed Fourteen returned 93% response rate
Maintenance Personnel
Fifteen questionnaires distributed Seven returned 47% response rate
Respondents were cooperative and shared their information. This cooperation correlated with response rates. This can be attributed to the fact that Landscape Architects and Designers are eager to communicate their ideas, and singlefamily homeowners have a personal interest in their landscapes. The planned community responses did not show a deep commitment to the landscape. The owner/developer and maintenance personnel were the most difficult to locate for interviews.

In the Owner/Developer category, eight questionnaires were distributed and five were returned, a response rate of 63%. In this category the developers were also the owners of the projects. Therefore, for the purpose of this study, owners and developers are in the same category.
Results and conclusions are discussed as follows: o design o plants o strengths o weaknesses o cost or quantity o public acceptance o general information
Owners and developers were difficult to contact. Concern with the landscape is generally at the surface level. There was difficulty in getting responses.
Results and Conclusions
I. Design
Results: In the initial planning stages, all of the owners and developers requested a landscape design that would reduce water consumption.
Reasons given were: o reduce water cost o experiment with drought tolerant grasses o to determine public reaction o carry surrounding natural areas through the site.
There are definite reasons to conserve water and they are significant enough to motivate owners and developers to try new or different landscaping techniques.

II. Plants
Results: Out of five cases, native plants were requested in three cases, and drought tolerant plants in two cases.
Two owners requested buffalo grass, two requested "native" grasses, and one requested a durable grass. The owners who requested buffalo grass were not satisfied with its appearance and replaced it with bluegrass. Reasons for
dissatisfaction included complaints from the public and weed infestation. The owners who used "native" grasses were pleased with the effect, and the durable grass was also satisfactory.
Native plants are popular, but there is concern that these plants should be drought tolerant. There is a preference for plants identified as "Colorado" plants, for example, pines, spruce, and cottonwoods.
All owners were willing to use alternative grasses, but it is evident that they were not always familiar with the appearance of these grasses and the management and maintenance techniques needed for a good stand of these grasses, especially buffalo grass.
The "native" grasses were accepted because they were originally on the site and blended with the surroundings for an effective design. The durable grass was a brome/fescue blend and has been proven durable on the site for handling light to moderate pedestrian traffic and remaining green through the hot summer months.
I. Strengths
Results: When asked "What worked well on the site?" interviewees responses included:
o mass planting of shrubs o clustered buildings with large open spaces
o open space blending with natural surroundings
o a definite style to the design Conclusion:
Ninety percent of the projects were described in positive terms. This indicates success and acceptance of several concepts listed in the results.

IV. Weaknesses
Results: When asked "What did not work well on the site?" respondents mentioned: o weed problems
o buffalo grass did not stay green long enough
Responses to weaknesses with the projects indicate desire for green lawns and an inability to accept "weeds" (preference for
monoculture). In the future the owner must be encouraged to know the character and appearance of the grass specified for the project, and any management and maintenance practices that are necessary for that grass, for example, until the grass becomes established, seeded turf areas will have a greater tendency for weed infestations than sodded turf areas.
V. Quantity and Cost
Results: All respondents agreed that attempts to conserve water were significant. Only one owner had any quantitative information on amount of water saved. This was at a site that was primarily buffalo grass. There was approximately seventy-five per cent reduction of water use in the first two years after installation. Unfortunately, this site was converted to bluegrass and the water savings no longer exists.
There is a greater need to document water savings in terms of quantity and cost. The seventy-five per cent savings in the one case did not offset the need for a quick, green, weed-free grass. More education is needed to inform owners about significant water savings and management and maintenance costs to establish a good stand of grass.

VI. Public Acceptance
Results: Three owners responded that the public had accepted the site design and were aware that water conservation was a goal of the project. Two other respondents did not believe these facts, but stated there were too many weeds and the area looked unkempt.
Public acceptance is a key element in the success of these projects. Previous knowledge of the site design correlates to the acceptance level. This indicates that all projects attempting new or different alternatives in landscaping to conserve water must include public education, preferrably from the outset.'
VII. General
Results: When asked the question "What first comes to mind when dryland landscaping is mentioned?" respondents answered: o cactus o yucca
o"native" plantings and grasses
One of the five respondents was born in Colorado, the remaining four had spent an average of ten years living in Colorado.
Favorite aspects of Colorado included:
o natural character, scenery, diversity, o mountains
o clima-te, lack of humidity
The responses indicate the need for education that dryland landscaping can be different in this semi-arid area. Different terms for 'dryland' might be used successfully, for example: natural landscaping, Xeriscape, low water landscaping,
landscaping in a semi-arid environment, or landscaping for Colorado.
Only one of the respondents was born in Colorado, but this did not correlate with any attitudes toward the landscape.

Owners/Developers are willing to try water conservation alternatives, and several factors contribute to their acceptance of these alternatives.
Conclusions are as follows: o There are definite reasons to conserve water and they are significant enough to motivate owners and developers to try new or different landscaping techniques.
o Owners need to be aware of the appearance of alternative grasses.
o Brome/fescue grass is a good alternative to bluegrass, because it is a mix of cool season grasses and stays green almost year round.
o Owners must be aware that seeded grass may have initial weed infestations.
o Water savings must be documented to help increase public acceptance of turfgrass alternatives.
Concern over public opinion plays a major role in the attitude of the developer towards the landscape. Public acceptance affects the future of the landscape, whether it will remain the same or change in favor of water conservation.

In the category of single-family homeowners, thirteen questionnaires were distributed and twelve returned, a response rate of 92 percent.
Results and conclusions are discussed on the following:
o design o plant material o activities o irrigation o maintenance o quantity or cost o general information
Finally, case studies are documented for the nine landscapes that featured buffalo grass.
Results and Conclusions
I. Design
Results: The respondents requested landscapes that would conserve water. The reasons given included:
o desire for natural look o low maintenance o cost of water
o consistent with surrounding vegetation
o different and challenging
Responses were equally distributed among the various reasons for conserving water. These factors have a direct effect on the homeowner and have motivated their landscape decisions.
Reduced Water Bills

II. Plants
Results: Twelve respondents requested native plants. Of these twelve, one was not sure what native plants were, and another said he believed natives would be able to survive neglect. One respondent did not request native plants. Eight respondents requested specialty plants, including fruit trees, groundcovers, roses and perennials.
Five respondents requested buffalo grass, two requested a drought tolerant lawn, and three requested an alternative to grass, such as drought resistant ground covers and shrubs.
These responses indicated a previous knowledge of types of plants suitable for Colorado, or native to this region. The extensive listings of plants desired showed a strong affection for plants. There was a strong interest in planting buffalo grass lawns.
Results: Areas desired for the landscape included:
o vegetable garden, fruit trees o relaxation area o social area deck or patio o bluegrass play area for children
Two respondents requested a garden, three requested an area to relax, three requested an area to socialize, and two more requested an area of bluegrass for children to play.
Home landscaping can be designed to suit the owner and incorporate water conservation techniques. Bluegrass turf areas for children were limited in size.
Patios and decks were incorporated into the landscape in some cases and can be high use areas that lower water use substantially.

IV. Irrigation
Results: From the twelve respondents, seven had a type of built-in irrigation system, two of these had drip irrigation for shrub beds and
gardens, and three had the systems only for lawn areas. Three
respondents hand watered.
Irrigation systems for homes are popular, but often not installed due to cost constraints. The systems can eliminate over-watering when properly designed and maintained. When hand watering, it is difficult for the homeowner to ascertain the amount of water being applied, and therefore an uneven application rate can result. The ratio of sites with irrigation systems only in lawn areas, indicates the knowledge that shrub areas require less water than bluegrass turf. One of the sites without an irrigation system had native grass that will not require much water once established, thereby saving the owner the cost of installing an irrigation system.
V. Maintenance '
Results: When asked if their landscapes required less maintenance, responses were:
o Nine respondents said less maintenance
o One respondent said more, because of the extensive area of the site
o One respondent said less watering and mowing but more weeding o One respondent did not know
The majority responded that maintenance was less than with a more traditional landscape, a definite benefit for this type of landscape.
VI. Quantity or Cost
Results: Nine respondents said their landscapes required less water, two said their water bill was cut in half, and one reduced it by two-thirds. Three respondents did not know if any water had been saved.
Some figures on money or water saved were available. More documentation needs to be done of cost savings figures.

VII. General
Results: Respondents were asked "What comes to mind when dryland landscaping is mentioned?" Seven responses were positive; they included: o drought resistant plants o buffalo grass
o native plants, rabbitbrush, sagebrush
o diversity of plants
Four responses were negative; they included: o weeds
o rock and yucca o barren
Of the twelve respondents, three were born in Colorado, nine moved to Colorado with an average residency of thirteen years.
Responses to "What they liked most about Colorado?" were: o natural appearance o mountains o climate o seasons
o variety of terrain o access to rural and urban areas
The movement of people from the East to the West is apparent from the above information. Newcomers to Colorado liked the State and remained here.
VIII. Buffalo Grass Case Studies
Nine respondents planted buffalo grass. For purposes of comparison these are documented in the following chart.
o Weed problems decrease each year o Homeowners who water more also mow and fertilize more often o Seeding rates vary from 3 lbs. to 8 lbs. per 1,000 square feet 3 lbs. of buffalo grass seed and 1 lb. blue grama seed per 1,000 square feet were most common, o The majority of weeding is done by hand with occasional chemical treatments.
o The majority of respondents stated that it took 2-3 years to establish a good stand of buffalo grass, but two homeowners stated that they had good stands in one growing season.

Case Study Time for Good Stand Seeding Irrigation Rate per 1000 sq. ft. Fertilization Mowi ng Weed Control
1 1 year 8 1 bs buffalo Twice a year Once a week 3-4 times a season with chemical
Comments: Owner planted buffalo mix that contained rye seed, rye was perennial and returned the following years, has a different appearance from buffalo grass, the This was a The rye is lawn looked problem because some a cool season grass blotchy. of and
2 2 years 2 lbs buff. 3-4 times 1 lb blue season grama Twice a year 5 times season Hand, 1-2 times week, Chemical used sometimes
Comments: The native landscaping does not require the care of a traditional landscape.
3 3 years 1-2 times month, 1" Once a year Once a month Daily, a bushel
Comments: Cacti planted in buffalo grass, problem for weed control, they were removed. Less watering and mowing compensated for extra weeding.
4 First year 3 lb 3-4 times buffalo season Once a year Trim flags Used Round-up periodically for bindweed
Comments: Buffalo grass was an experiment on small area of lot. Germinated in six days, looked like a fine mist.

Case Study Time for Good Stand Seeding Rate per 1000 sq.ft. Irrigation Fertilization Mowi ng Weed Control
5 2 years 3 lbs. buffalo Twice a None season Once a year Hand, once a month
Comments: Buffalo grass planted on south slope with sumac and scrub (before planting) with Round-Up R, reduced weed problems, little maintenance needed. oak. Area sprayed Now established,
6 3 months 3 lbs. buffalo only natural Once a 3 lbs. blue precipitation year grama None Twice a season by hand
Comments: Homeowner was familiar with native grasses. Had buffalo lawn at other residence.
7 2-3 years 6-7 lbs. buffalo only natural None precipitation Once spring Once fall Hand, until established Spot with chemical
Comments: Watering for first year to establish, then stopped. Weeds first year. a problem
8 Too long 3 lbs. buffalo None 1 lb. blue grama Every 3-4 weeks Hand, when necessary
Comments: Used buffalo grass because of large backyard. Owner felt would have helped grass establish better. more soil preparation
9 3 years 3 lbs. buffalo 2-3 times a None season Every 2-3 weeks Chemical control during problem years
Comments: Buffalo grass needs regular watering to establish. "I was more than once every 2-3 weeks after seeding. This was a reason why it took 3 years to get a good stand." told not to water mistake. This was the

The homeowner's knowledge was broadened by the process of working with designer and contractor, and personally maintaining the landscape. This knowledge was valuable for evaluating water conservation practices.
Conclusions are as follows: o A water conservative landscape has definite benefits to the homeowner, these include: lower water bills, lower
maintenance and enjoyment of their 1andscape.
o Interest and knowledge of plants was significant. After planting buffalo grass it was appreciated for its soft texture and visual qualities, and the fact that it requires less watering and mowing.
o Planned alternatives to bluegrass provided areas for the homeowner's activities and reduced the use of water.
o Incorporating drought tolerant plants into the landscape reduced the use of water as well as the cost of an irrigation system.
o Maintenance was reduced in the water conservative landscape.
o Water bills were reduced by as much as two-thirds.
o The words "dryland landscaping" were positive and negative to different individuals. The positive aspects need to be stressed.
o Many homeowners were newcomers to Colorado. This indicated a need for increased efforts to make homeowners aware of educational programs such as the Colorado State Extension Service.
Continued water conservative landscape practices by homeowners will be a significant contribution to saving water and public acceptance of these landscapes.

This category includes two different types of planned communities. One type is designed with common space for the enjoyment of everyone living there. In such developments there is a homeowner's association that hires a maintenance company to maintain the landscaped open space.
The second type of planned community is designed with separate landscaping provided for each homeowner. The individual homeowner is responsible for maintaining the landscape.
Eight questionnaires were mailed and four were conducted as phone interviews, a total of twelve questionnaires distributed. Four of the questionnaires mailed were returned. This results in a total of eight responses, (67% response rate).
Results and conclusions are discussed for the following: o design o strengths o weaknesses o general information
Results and Conclusions
I. Design
Results: Of the responses to the question, "Are you aware of landscape planning done in your development to conserve water or preserve the natural environment?" five were affirmative and three were negative.
Of the responses to the question, "Was landscaping of the development a factor in your choosing to move here?" one was affirmative and seven were negative.
There was knowledge that landscape planning to conserve water had been done, but this did not negatively or positively affect the choice to live in the development.
II. Strengths
Results: Responses to the question, "What do you like best about your landscape?" included: o minimal plants o trees, plants used o can use less water o grass does not turn brown in midsummer
Responses were positive towards the landscape plants used.

Results: Responses to the question, "What did you not like about your landscape?" included: o woodchip mulch wasn't stable under windy conditions o initial erosion of seeded areas o maintenance problem with weeds and trash.
o some plants were not attractive Conclusions:
The response to the unattractive plants could be attributed to the fact that they had only been installed for one year. Two findings from the phone interviews were that the respondents thought the brome/fescue grass was crabgrass, and that areas of the development seeded with
brome/fescue were not successful because of numerous weeds and lack of visible grass cover.
IV. General
Results: When asked, "What comes to mind first when dryland landscaping is mentioned?" respondents answered: o cactus and yucca o concrete o natural rock o coarse grass
One respondent answered, "I don't know."
Responses to the question, "What are your favorite plants?" were: o lilacs o evergreens o aspens, pines o tulips
Three respondents did not have any favorites.
Responses to the question, "What are your favorite aspects about Colorado?" were:
o contrast between mountains and plains
o natural appearance o cedars
One respondent did not know.
Five of the respondents were brought up in Colorado and three had lived here for an average of four and a half years.
The majority of responses to dryland landscaping were yucca and cactus. A large percent of respondents in this category were raised in Colorado. There is a low level of knowledge about plants in comparison to the homeowners who were directly involved with their landscape design.

Water conservative landscape designs can work in planned communities. The homeowners responsible for the maintenance of their own landscapes were interested in answering the questionnaires. The landscape was not a major priority for the homeowners who did not maintain the landscaping themselves.
Conclusions are as follows: o Landscaping to conserve water did not affect the decision to live in the community.
o Specific plants were commonly the favorite item of the landscape.
o Initial problems, such as erosion and small plants, were encountered due to undeveloped landscaping. These problems will disappear as the landscape matures.
o The homeowners complained of weeds and trash in the common open space area.
o The wider leaf blades of brome/fescue grass were mistaken for crabgrass.
o Newly seeded areas were not well accepted because of weeds and lack of visible grass cover.
o Reactions to the words, "dryland landscaping" were negative.
The fact that homeowners' responses showed a low level of knowledge and involvement with the landscape could prove to be an advantage. There are two ways this could be advantageous:
1. The designer and maintenance personnel can play a larger role in the landscape. They have the responsbility to provide a landscape that is best for their client.
2. This is an opportunity to educate the homeowners about water conservation. They should be aware of the benefit of a lower monthly maintenance fee resulting from their own landscape. In the case of the homeowners who have to maintain their own landscape, guidelines and recommendations can be issued to help them.

In the Landscape Architect/Designer category, fifteen questionnaires were distributed and fourteen returned, yielding a response rate of 93 percent.
Results and Conclusions are discussed as follows:
o design
o specific design objectives o strengths o weaknesses o future
o feedback from clients o general information
Landscape architects and designers are generally skilled in communicating their ideas to their clients. This was proved from the responses to the questionnaires where a genuine interest in water conservation was evident.
I. Design: Responses to the question, "Why do you design to conserve water?" included:
o in client's best interest responsible image
o it is necessary to conserve water in a semi-arid environment to meet the needs of the future o cost of treated water is increasing
o save on cost of irrigation system o to retain some vestige of semi-arid landscape o to prevent overwatering o long term savings on water costs
These responses indicate that designers are aware of reasons to conserve water. These reasons can aid in communicating with clients to convince them of the benefits of water conservation and of the wisdom of incorporating these concepts into their designs.

II. Specific Design Objectives:
When asked to discuss site design objectives and constraints responses included:
o to carry the surrounding natural planting theme throughout the project
o costs, budget constraints o to lower water use o experiment with low-water plants o lower maintenance o size of site
o to provide a responsible image o working with expansive soil o correcting drainage problems o to use site run-off for supplemental water for the landscape
o Cost was a limiting factor, in most cases. This reinforced the point that in order to convince people to try water conservation ideas, they must be assured that they will save money.
o This is a factor that can favorably affect water
conservation implementation. With so much building in undeveloped areas it is advantageous to preserve as much of the character of this land as possible.
3 1
Responsible image
o This was expressed several times. Landscape Architects have a responsibility to design a site than can act as a model.
Low maintenance
o It is necessary to design a site that can be feasibly maintained. Most of the respondents said they had designed sites to require less maintenance, for example by including large natural areas.
o Other design issues were working with poor soils to prevent damage to buildings and dealing with potential drainage problems.

III.Strengths: When asked the question "What
worked well on the site?" respondents answered: o dryland, drought tolerant, natural or 'native' grass (6 responses) o plant selection low water (5 responses)
o buffalo grass (3 responses)
Other responses included: o landscape zoning o irrigation zoning, including drip system
o planting buffalo grass and native plants on hot southwest slope o little disturbance to existing vegetation during construction, and preserving existing plants along gulches o proper soil preparation o grouping housing with natural open space between
o brome/fescue sod stays green for long period
o cottonwoods in detention ponds require no irrigation o stockpiling topsoil and replacing for landscaping
o use of roof and site run-off to provide water to landscape

The landscape architects who use buffalo grass were very satisfied with it. There was also positive response to the use of 'native' grasses. This indicates an appreciation for Colorado's natural environment and willingness to incorporate some natural, low water use areas into a site design.
Low-Water Demand Plants

IV. Weaknesses
Results: When asked the question, "What did not work well on the site?" respondents answered: o installation of complex irrigation system not necessary in certain areas o drip irrigation unable to monitor water distribution in heavy clay soil o shrub sprays instead of drip irrigation would have worked better for some plants o buffalo grass needs irrigation for establishment o management tried to create a manicured look with native grass o over-watering and over-fertilizing raised maintenance costs o Homeowners Association needs to be educated on water conservation principles o four responses replied no problems
Several problems are associated with the irrigation system. This indicates the need for further investigation of the irrigation system, including installation of temporary irrigation systems for establishment. There are mixed attitudes towards drip irrigation, which is relatively new.
Communication between landscape architects, owners and maintenance personnel is necessary to insure implementation of the design.
Results: When asked the question, "Has this changed anything you will do in the future?" respondents answered: o work more closely with Homeowners' Association o plant detention ponds with bluegrass instead of dryland grasses because of extra moisture o educate management in initial stages of project o limit use of drip irrigation o better site preparation o provide temporary irrigation for establishment of natural area o will not irrigate low areas of site the same as other area

o define areas of bluegrass and separate from native grass areas o better zoning of irrigation system
o provide maintenance guidelines for site
Ninety-three percent of the respondents had learned something from the design and made suggestions for improvements. It is necessary to develop new techniques and broaden the level of knowledge and experience to increase the acceptance of water conserving landscapes.
The public accepts what is commonly practiced, therefore the more water conservation is practiced the more it will be accepted.
VI. Feedback from Clients
Results: Twelve responses were positive. Five other responses included: o the public is concerned about costs, not native plants o the public is not used to the appearance of native grass and does not understand water conservative principles o native grass takes too long to establish
o one respondent complained that pi non pines are low quality pines o public complained about a highly visible area not being green
Although the majority of responses were positive a major concern revolves around public acceptance of the use of different methods of landscaping. The public still wants to have a lush green appearance as seen in other climates.

VII. General
Results: When asked the question, "What first comes to mind when dryland landscaping is mentioned?" respondents answered: o sparse vegetation o rockscapes o little lawn area o natural, wild, native plantings and grasses
o negative image to public o diverse landscape with low water plant material
Of the fourteen respondents, only three were brought up in Colorado. The average length of time the others lived in Colorado was eleven years.
When asked the question, "What do you like best about Colorado?" respondents mentioned: o mountains o climate
o combination of outstanding outdoor environment and good economic opportunities o diversity of environment
This indicates the trend to move to Colorado that has occurred over the last ten to fifteen years, and the fact that when people move here they are likely to remain. Although the majority of the respondents were non-natives, it was indicated from the responses to the other questions that a strong effort was made to learn about Colorado's environment and native vegetation. The beauty of Colorado was recognized and the fact that the state is different from their previous residences.

Successful water conservation design will be a
key element towards the goal of public acceptance
of water conservation.
Conclusions are as follows:
o It is important to convince clients of the benefits of incorporating water conservation practices on their sites. Saving the client money will have the most impact on the implementation of these ideas. An added incentive could be to convince the client that he will be projecting a responsible image to the surrounding community.
o Acceptance of buffalo grass depends on knowledge that it takes time to become established.
o Native grasses incorporated into a design can save water and maintenance costs.
o The misuse of the word "native" needs to be corrected to avoid misunderstandings.
o Success of a site depends on proper plant selection and location.
o Prior to installation, alternative irrigation systems need to be investigated to better match the changing needs of the plants.
o Communication between landscape architects, owners and maintenance personnel is necessary to insure implementation of the design.
o It is necessary to develop new techniques and broaden the level of knowledge and experience to increase the acceptance of water conservative landscapes.
o The landscape architects stated that the public still wants the landscape to have a lush green appearance as in other climates.
o The majority of landscape architects that responded have moved to Colorado from other geographic areas, but have shown a strong effort to learn about the Colorado environment.
It is necessary for the public to appreciate native vegetation and the natural environment. Landscape architects are definitely trying new ideas and their acceptance is necessary for the sake of the designer and the future of the environment.

In the maintenance personnel category, fifteen questionnaires were distributed and seven returned, a response rate of 47 percent.
Results and Conclusions are discussed as follows: o design o strengths o weaknesses o quantity and cost o public acceptance
Maintenance personnel were difficult to locate on several of the projects. There is a high personnel turnover and several sites have different employees each season. Little information is available on the care of these sites.
I. Design: When asked about design objectives
for the project, respondents answered:
o to blend with natural surroundings o to lower water usage with use of alternative grasses and native pi ants
o to lower maintenance Conclusion:
Awareness of goals to conserve water is the first step to proper maintenance.
II. Strengths:
When asked the question, "What techniques have worked well on the site?" respondents answered: o use of wood mulch in shrub beds o soil preparation
o stockpiling topsoil during construction and replacing before landscaping
o using basins around plants that need extra water.
o natural grasses on site required low maintenance
Responses to strengths of the project can provide vital information on techniques to use in future projects.

III. Weaknesses:
When asked the question, "What techniques did not work well on the site?" respondents answered: o control of weeds in shrub beds o control of weeds in buffalo grass o masses of wildflowers did not produce much color after the first few years
Weeds are an everpresent maintenance problem in a landscape. In most weed control programs a selective herbicide (a weed killer that kills most broadleaf weeds but not grasses) is used regularly. Weeding in shrub areas is an intensive labor task that includes hand-weeding or spot spraying of Round-Up,R (a non-selective herbicide that will kill all plants when applied to the leaf surface.) Most maintenance
companies focus on the chemical spraying of turf and do not employ the labor needed to weed shrub areas. Use of pre-emergent weed control can be used in shrub areas to eliminate intensive hand-weeding.
Owners and maintenance companies involved with landscapes that include extensive shrub areas need to be aware of the maintenance involved. They also need to know that the maintenance will decrease as the shrubs fill in. Projection of the decrease is necessary to convince clients that water conservative landscapes can be maintained at a low cost.
Sod has become the prevalent method of installing turf areas because it provides an instant effect with few problems. Seeding a lawn is a task that takes patience. Weed control is necessary until the grass becomes established. The prevalence of sod over seed is a deterrent to the widespread use of buffalo grass because seed is the only available commercial source at this time.

IV. Quantity and Cost:
Four respondents said that attempts to conserve water were significant due to:
o removal of irrigation heads in natural areas, after establishment o precise timing of irrigation system
Two respondents said that attempts
to conserve water were not
significant due to: o conversion of buffalo grass to
bluegrass o maintenance personnel does not
have control over watering, and
owner overwaters Conclusions:
No quantity or cost information on water saved was available, indicating that this is not a primary concern to the maintenance companies. Temporary irrigation is sufficient for establishment of natural areas.
Communication between maintenance personnel and owners is necessary to achieve water-saving measures.
V. Public Acceptance:
Four respondents said that the public accepted the site as maintained. Two felt the site was accepted to a degree, one that the site was not accepted, with one abstention. Reasons for public acceptance included: o design of the site where natural areas blend with the natural surroundings
o previous educational information on site design
o site is different with many flowering shrubs and perennials
Seven respondents said the public did not know that water conservation was a goal of the project, and one said that the public did know. This information did correlate with the acceptance responses.
Effective site design and education on the reasons for the design contribute to the public acceptance. The use of new and different techniques can be accepted if they are visually exciting to the public. In one case, this included plantings of different flowering shrubs and perennials.

Results of water conservation planning are
tangible with correct maintenance. This can
be measured by reduced maintenance and water
Factors to consider include:
o Awareness of goals to conserve water is the first step to proper maintenance
o Mulch, soil preparation and using basins around plants are installation factors that contribute to saving water.
o Natural grass areas require minimal maintenance.
o Stockpiling topsoil during construction and replacing it before landscaping proved to be worth the expense.
o Weed control in shrub areas is an intensive labor task that is reduced as the landscape matures.
o The prevalence of sod over seed is a deterrent to the widespread use of buffalo grass because seed is the only available commercial source at this time.
o The large turn-over in maintenance personnel indicates a need for more stability in the landscape management business. The success of a landscaped site depends on a long-term maintenance program.


oGiviP aRISoNS
For purposes of comparing the five categories of respondents, the information is charted on page 44. Conclusions derived from Chapter IV are divided into four categories: benefits, interest, education, and relationships.
All five categories of respondents derived
some benefits from water conservation
o Tangible benefits such as lower water bills and less maintenance were apparent to the single-family homeowner.
o Benefits such as lower costs and image of a quality environment need to be stressed to owner/developer.
o The planned community homeowners did not readily perceive the benefits from water conservation landscapes.
o Landscape architects realize the benefits of water conservation landscapes as a marketing tool and a favorable contribution to their reputation. They
believe they have a responsibility to design for water conservation.
o Maintenance personnel felt it was
necessary to conserve water but did not express any direct benefits. They could, however, use water conservation methods as a marketing tool directed to clients who have expressed a desire to conserve water.
Different levels of interest occurred
among the categories of respondents.
o Landscape architects and designers expressed high level of interest in water conservation.
o The single-family homeowner also expressed a high level of interest in conserving water. This is a result of the direct
benefits they derive, such as lower water bills, less maintenance and enjoyment of a quality environment. The fact that the
landscape is an extension of their homes creates a high interest. The singlefamily homeowner also expressed a high level of interest in the natural
environment and plants.
o The owner/developer respondents were
interested in conserving water, but their primary concern was the public acceptance of the project and the ability to sell or rent property.
o The landscape is not a primary interest to the planned community homeowner who is not directly involved with the maintenance or design of the project.
o There was a definite lack of interest from the maintenance personnel. This is an area where the majority of conservation should occur. Problems arise due to the lack of knowledgeable long-term personnel.

There are opportunities for continued education and exchange of ideas on water conservation. These opportunities need to be expanded and realized.
o From the respondents there was a 2:1 ratio of newcomers to Colorado to people who have grown up here. This creates a need for knowledge that programs exist, such as the Colorado State Extension Service, to educate newcomers to Colorado about landscaping that is suitable for the climate.
o Single-family homeowners who have implemented water conserving techniques are a resource that can be tapped to broaden the level of knowledge.
o Owners/developers tend not to be aware of what water conservation alternatives really are or look like. They are willing to try ideas because they sound very attractive, in some cases when the landscape is installed they are not satisfied with the appearance and they want to change it.
o Landscape architects and designers are working with developers to try some techniques and to continually make an effort to teach them to appreciate the landscape and to irrigate correctly.
o Maintenance personnel are often in the same position of educating the client that the water conserving landscape does not need the same amount of maintenance (watering, mowing and fertilizing). There are also cases where the maintenance personnel needs to be educated to different techniques of maintenance and not apply the same formula to every landscape.
o The planned community homeowners need to be educated to what has been done in the landscaping for water conservation.

Communication needs to occur betv/een all
people involved in water conservation
o Owners/developers need to communicate with landscape architects and maintenance companies, and to trust their professional judgement.
o Communication between the single family home-owner and landscape architect provides valuable information to both parties.
o The developer's relationship with the planned community homeowner could allow him to use water conservation design as a marketing tool. The maintenance company can also use water conservation concepts as a marketing tool to the developer.
o The landscape architect must communicate with other landscape professionals to aid in the progression of water conservation. The landscape architect's relationship with the client can be strengthened through good communication and avoidance of misunderstanding about water conservation design concepts.
o Maintenance personnel and client must work together to satisfy the water conservation goals.

BENEFITS -need to be stressed -cost -responsi ble image -most apparent -lower waterbills -less maintenance -quality environment -not readily perceived but needs to be emphasized -lower monthly fee -quality environment -marketing tool -reputation -marketing tool -innovative maintenance concepts
INTEREST -public acceptance important -landscape not a primary concern otherwise -high level, landscape extension of home & personality -appreciation for natural environment -landscape not a primary concern -pay for maintenance so it must be satisfactory -high level -correction of misconceptions of uninterested designers needs to be addressed -lacking -awareness is apparent but needs to be followed through -long term employees
EDUCATION -Colorado Environment & water conservation -Colorado Environment & techniques possible -information exchanae possible -high level of experimentation -awareness of site design and whv it was designed that way -Colorado Environment -Colorado Environment -exchanae of knowledae -long term employees and qualified education -continued education on techniques
RELATIONSHIPS -Communication with LA & maintenance co. -learn from designer and exchange information -marketing tool of developer & maintenance co. to homeowners association -communication with other landscape industry professionals & with owner/client -communication with client to satisfy real needs

Several factors derived from owner/developer responses can benefit water conservation design. These include:
1. Motivational factors such as lower costs and responsible image need to be stressed.
2. To avoid possible misconceptions about alternative grasses owners should be aware of:
a. advantages and disadvantages of seeding versus sodding
b. differences between cool and warm season grasses
c. establishment requirements and post establishment requirements
d. optimum mowing height
3. Owners ability to trust and give control to maintenance personnel is important.
Several factors derived from the single-family homeowner responses can benefit future water conservation designs.
These include:
1. Homeowners must receive direct benefits such as lower water bills.
2. Alternative maintenance procedures are less watering, less mowing, but more attention to weed control.
3. Alternative areas for activities or uses require little or no water.
4. Buffalo grass has proven successful in several residential landscapes.
5. Use of extensive shrub areas provides an attractive low water alternative to lawn area.
Several factors derived from the planned community homeowner responses can benefit future water conservation designs. These include:
1. Designer and maintenance personnel have a large role in these landscapes because of the low level of involvement with the landscape on the part of the homeowners in planned communities.
2. Homeowners should be aware of the benefits of lower monthly maintenance fee resulting from their landscape.
3. Homeowners who maintain the landscape can be issued guidelines and recommendations to help them.

Several factors derived from the landscape architect/designer responses can benefit future water conservation design. These include:
1. Landscape architects have the ability to influence clients.
2. Proper plant selection and landscape zoning affect the success of a water conservation design.
3. Alternative irrigation systems need to be investigated.
4. Communication between landscape architects, owners and maintenance personnel is necessary for success.
5. Innovative ideas will help in water conservation acceptance.
Several factors derived from the maintenance personnel responses can benefit future water conservation designs. These include:
1. The designer needs to know how or by whom the project will be maintained.
2. Tangible factors such as lower water use and lower maintenance costs need to be documented to prove benefits.
3. The maintenance schedule needs to address the specific project and not 'overmaintain.'
4. Alternative weed control methods for specific problems must be used.
5. It is important to strive for long-term maintenance personnel with dedication to achieving water conservation goals.
fe^tssreeH tTse&&


In order to address what was learned from the research a case study was performed on a site in Colorado Springs. This site is being developed by a company in the Denver area and an achitect has designed the apartment buildings for the developer. This site was chosen because the soil conditions make it necessary to limit the amount of irrigation and provide adequate drainage. The soil engineer has made recommendations as to where the buildings should be located for best soil stability.
The site is approximately fourteen and a half acres, and will have five apartment buildings constructed on it.
Design concepts are addressed mainly from the results of the questionnaires from the owner/developer and planned community homeowner. Results from the other three categories of respondents are also taken into account but without the same emphasis.
The first step was to make the site analysis before any planning was done on the site. Then a visual sensitivity analysis and drainage analysis were completed. The visual sensitivity analysis was made to prioritize views on the site. The drainage analysis was to analyze drainage and grading patterns and to start developing concepts and methods to utilize the drainage to the maximum potential.
Finally, design concepts were developed addressing the results from questionnaires and comparing the water conservative design to the non-water conservative design that might typically be utilized.

(see following plan for further explanation.)
Climatological data available from the Colorado Climate Center summarizes weather data for the general area of Colorado Springs as follows:
Precipitation is light, 7"-20" yearly, and over 80% falls between April 1 and September 30, much of it as heavy downpours accompanying summer thunderstorms.
Temperatures are mild, extremes either in summer or winter are rare. Humidity is low and wind movement moderately high. The west-to-east Chinook wind movement is important in moderating winter temperatures.
The existing topography of the Rockridge site consists of slopes ranging from 3% to 35%.
On the northern portion of the site, slopes are the steepest, (20 35%).
Drainage is directed to the north and off the site.
Existing Vegetation
Existing vegetation consists of native and naturalized grasses and wildflowers.
Vegetation in areas adjacent to the site consists of native grasses, including buffalo grass and blue grama, and shrub masses, including scrub oak, with scatterings of ponderosa pine, pinon pine and Rocky Mountain juniper. With an elevation of 6000 feet, this vegetation zone could be classified between the plains zone, 4000 6000 feet and the foothills zone, 6000 8000 feet.
Soils on the site were found to be clay, with a shrink-swell capacity of 10" or more. Because of this, it was recommended to the developer that irrigation of grass and plants should be kept to an absolute minimum. This recommendation was a primary factor contributing to the developer"s desire for a water conservation landscape.

Scenic Resources
The scenic resources of this site are quite diverse. A distinct asset is the view of majestic Pikes Peak to the southwest, and also, the juniper-pine vegetation.
Other views from the site mainly consist of building developments and would not be considered as desirable as the mountain view.
Undefined Boundaries
Because the southern edge of the site is open and no apparent future development is planned, the boundary is less defined.
The main entry to the site is located on the northeast boundary. This position is attributed to the major road (Rockrimmon Boulevard) along the northern side of the site and the easterly side being relatively flat. Automobile circulation will occur along the flatter areas of the site. A large number of parking spaces will be needed to accomodate the users.
Pedestrian circulation will occur mainly at entrances to buildings and to recreational areas.

( N

O |O tO *0 so 10
to tO *)0 U>
5 1

(see following plan for further explanation)
This analysis was done to prioritize visual zones.
1. Building Edge
The area adjacent to the building ranks high as a visual priority because it will have a high impact on the apartment residents. An attractive concept at the front entries is desired to welcome visitors.
2. Main Entrance
The main entrance to the development can highlight and support the image of Rockridge Apartments.
3. Scenic Views
The view of Pikes Peak is an amenity to the site and it also helps to create a contextual feeling. This view should be framed and therefore would become a special vista for all users to enjoy.
4. Auto Circulation
This ranks low on the visual priority scale and buffering with evergreens would soften the visual impact of the asphalt.
5. Suburban Views /
-------- ------ j.
These rank low on the visual priority scale, but they do provide context and orientation to the development north of the site.


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(see following plan for further explanation)
A drainage analysis was done using the parking lot layout and building locations. This was to help establish vegetation zones and accomplish maximum utilization of on-site water.
1. Building Edge
It is absolultely essential to avoid irrigation near the building foundation; therefore, slopes will be steep enough to direct flow of water away from the building.
A section of gravel next to the foundation with a trench drain to carry water away from the foundation to the planting area would be beneficial.
2. Swales
Drainage swales designed to direct and move water away from the buildings can provide opportunities to install plants that can utilize this extra water.
3. Slopes
Slopes will not be steeper than 3:1. The steeper slopes along Rockrimmon Boulevard have a northern orientation and this will help to reduce moisture loss. The slopes will be planted with "natural" grasses that will stabilize the slope and will not require supplemental irrigation once established.
4. Flat Areas
These are areas on the site that have the ability to absorb moisture better than the steeper slopes and plant selection will correspond to this.
5. Asphalt Drainage
This is designed mainly with sheet drainage directed towards the vegetation areas.
i 1

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Factors influencing development of this site are attributed to the developer and the user. Because this site will have apartments it is assumed that users will be small families, singles, or young couples with relatively low to moderate incomes. It is vital to provide an area for recreation and relaxation. In this case, apartment dwellers could be compared to homeowners in a planned community development.
It was learned through the planned community resident research that there was little direct involvement of these people with their
landscape. This provides opportunities for the landscape architect and maintenance personnel to have more control of the landscape.
The developer has concerns over the
rentability of the apartments and the appearance of the overall site. This presents a challenge to satisfy the owners'needs and provides a water conserving landscape. From the owner/developer research it was found that owners are concerned with two things: saving money and the public's opinion of the site. Both these elements can be accomplished in the water conservation landscape and will be addressed through the conceptual design stage.

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The non water-conserving (traditional) design differs from the water conserving design as follows:
1. Square footage of sod,
water conserving - 40,000
non water conserving 120,000
2. Amount of trees and shrubs,
water conserving trees 200
shrubs 725
non water conserving trees 180
shrubs 345
The use of shrubs that require relatively low supplemental irrigation allows a design with plant cover that most people would not think possible in a water conserving design. The use of low water shrubs and drip irrigation also allows placement of shrubs closer to the building foundation than shrubs requiring regular irrigation and use of spray irrigation system. 3
3. Small islands are planted in the nonwater conserving design. In the water conserving design planting on small islands is reduced or designed so that irrigation is not required.
4. Bluegrass sod is used for the volleyball court in the non-water conserving design. Sand is used for the volleyball court in the water conserving design.
5. Because irrigation will supply plant needs in the non-water conserving design, no effort is made to utilize drainage.

Sod Seed
Bluegrass/Rye mix .20 sq.ft. .04 sq.ft.
*Brome/Fescue .30 .04
Buffalo grass .40 .07
Cost does not include soil preparation or grading, and does not reflect current price fluctuations. Prices are stated for purposes of comparison only.
Availability of these grasses as sod has existed in the past. At the time of writing this report they are no longer available.
If the 'natural' grass area is seeded when natural conditions are right and the owner is willing to wait for a good stand of grass, considerable savings can be made. The irrigation system can be eliminated in the natural area.
A manually controlled water supply can be made available to the natural area but the owner must be willing to employ someone to activate it when necessary.
Plant Sizing
The size of the plants installed on the project can affect cost considerably. Smaller plants will use less water and suffer less transplant shock. This helps shorten the establishment period and therefore reduces the amount of needed irrigation. Unfortunately, the desire for instant effect has far outweighed this trade-off and larger, more mature plants are generally used.

Rough estimates were made for the two different designs.
For the non-water conserving design, maintenance for one season was estimated as $20,000. This would include the following:
- mowing, once a week
- grass fertilized, 4 times a season
- weed control, 3 times a season
- pruning as needed
- spraying maintenance on shrubs as needed
- aerations, 2 times a season
- sprinkler inspection weekly after mowing
- leaf removal, once a season
- weed control on mulch beds as needed
- lawn edging
For the water conserving design maintenance for one season was estimated at $9,000.
Maintenance on the sod includes the same tasks as listed above, and maintenance on the natural grass includes the following:
- mowing, once a month (with deep irrigation once a month)
- sprinkler inspection after mowing
- weed control, 3 times a season
- fertilized, once a season
See the following chart for water saving possibilities.

WATH2, v/Arep- eo+epULH
A & <5
6WIH66 AHALY£1£ %" wAmt^ pep weep-IH ^1H& PEP- 7 WPEPA 1 v WATS2- PEP WEP^ IH 6UHME^PEP H weep£> Vi" \MAt1SP PEP V^EP- ih pace Ffc*2' i(9 '+Jee&? 1 &" 2- PEP WEEP-IH APPIH6 FOP H 1" \M^P PEP \jJEEP IH 6UMMEP PEP h\JUEEP* l/f." WATEP PEP vi^EEP IH PACE teP IO VjjEEPO r NWATEP PEP noHtH PEP H hoHtl+E
KAHT Vc3 0&&M IH E*LU*C> C&X& VATEp P5P- feAetH 1.75/rn^ H^NPr \U&Tp£- eep^a\ (P\i5/\ood MONEY A^Pt7 <3;06O~') AMocwrop MJACEPLYE? PpP-f^AYl IH6ALCN0 ooscop VPfE^ FpP- 6&>&M #l75|m£) HoHpY 0A\Et2 <:pp?m
OP 2.£0 120,000 £&j>p&p0ex CP&JPPNJD &P&? Z typoe 4Qof**&v&ax wine &\.coo 4 4?A09 #?(>£££ PE£T feLu&^fv^vitm' etcco t&\we,'?&ex * pujPapa^ \wtepvev m?v&- ^mu&A ^h^tufaeap^ ipmphpp AO ppp AlHEPuLE-P /}09% *ipz£

Factors that affect acceptance of water conserving landscapes were identified in this research project. They include benefits such as lower water bills and lower maintenance costs. Misconceptions need to be addressed and efforts need to be made to educate people about water conservation concepts. More communication between persons involved with water conserving landscapes is important to insure success.
There has been increased interest in buffalo grass for lawn alternatives, especially by the single-family homeowner. The use of alternate surfaces for outdoor activities as well as the use of shrubs and ground cover masses have worked well to reduce water use.
The future of the landscape depends on the wise use of water. More support from government agencies and more understanding by developers is needed. Commitment by landscape professionals as well as individual homeowners is important. Continued research on water conservation is
necessary. Plants and their drought tolerant levels need to be investigated, as well as the changing attitudes and acceptance levels of the public.
Further evaluation of this research will be possible as the design process continues and the landscape for Rockridge Apartments is installed. The attitudes and acceptance levels of the developer and the apartment occupants can be analyzed.
Only after continued visibility of water conservative landscapes as an attractive component of the Colorado landscape will these ideas be accepted.


Samples of oue&tignnaires

To Whom It May Concern
I contacted you earlier to let you know that I an doing this research. My name is Jill Kotewlcz, and I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado, at Denver, in the Landscape Architecture program.
I am trying to find landscapes designed and installed with water conservation in mind.
It would he very helpful to me if you could complete the following questions.
If you have any questions or additional comments, please contact me
at or leave a message at 366-0797.
Please return the questionnaire to
Jill Kotewicz
101*0 S. Virginia Avenue
31dg. 7, *301
Denver, CO 90231
Thank vou.

Project __.______________________________________________________________
Location/address ________________________________________________________
Access __________________________________________________________________
1. Were there any specific design objectives you had for your project?
2. Please name some Important uses or activities you wanted to be Incorporated* _______________________________________________________
3. Did you specifically request or need a landscape design that would reduce water consumption? _____________________ Please discussi ________
U, Did you request native plant material? Please name native plants desired* ________ 5
5. Did you request any other special kinds of plant material? If so, please name themt __________________________________________________________________
Did you specifically call for some alternative from bluegrass turf? (the kind of turf most used in this area) ______________________
7. Please discuss any specific requirements or needs you had for the irrigation systemi ____________________________________________________
8. ./hat do you like best about your developments landscape?
9. '/hat do you dislike about it?
1. Do you feel attempts at water conservation have been significant?
Please explain
2. Do you have any cost or quantity information on water saved?
3. Has the area generally been accepted by the public? *4-. What have been the complaints? _____________________

Has tha maintenance program been successful?
Do you think that the public knows that water conservation was a goal of this project? __________________________________________________________
Do you feel water 13 a necessary resource to conserve? _________________
Please explain____________________________________________________
'./hen dryland landscaping is mentioned, what first comes to your mind?
//here were you born? _____________________________________________________
'./here were you brought up? ______________________________________________
How long have you lived In Colorado?_______________________________________
'/hat are your favorite plants? ______________________;___________________
Do you like unmown grass? __________________________________________________
Why? _______________________________________________________________________
Do you like to drive through Eastern Colorado's plains and rural areas?
VZhat do you like best about Colorado?
What la your favorite color? _________________________________________
Are there certain things about landscaping to fit Colorado's semi-arid environment that you feel are or are not aesthetically pleasing?
For future development, will you consider using water conservative methods? Please discuss 1
Jill Kotewlcz

Contact _____________________________
Project _____________________________
Primary User ________________________
Location ____________________________
Access ______________________________
Vegetation Zones Check ones Plains
Type of Project _____________________
Soil Type ___________________________
Owner's Phone
Foothills___ Other _______
3. Did you request any other special kinds of plant material? If so, please name them_________________________________________
k. Did you specifically ask for an alternative to a bluegrass lawn? ( the
kind of lawn most people have in this area)___________________________
If so, please explain ________________________________________________
5. Are there specific activities you wanted to be able to do in your yard?
Landscape Design by ___________________________________________Year ___
Construction and Installation by ______________________________________
Year and Duration _____________________________________________________
1. Did you specifically request a Landscape Design that would reduce water consumption? ____________________________
Please discuss __________________________-_______________________
6. Did this include decks or patios? _______ Please explain
7. Was a built-in irrigation system part of your landscape plan? ______
8. If there are any other design issues you feel need to be discussed
please do soi ______________________________________________________
2. Did you request or want native plant material? Please name native plants used _____________________
INSTALLATION (if you do not have this information, please let me know who would have it.)
1. Was soil prep used? _______________________________________________
If so, how much per 1000 square feet? _____________________________

Explain how your grass areas were Installed*
.. Seeded __________________________________________
.. Sodded _________________________________________
.. Other ____________________________________________
3. If seeded, do you know the seeding rate and mixture?
How long did it take for a good stand of grass? __________________
5. Please note any other factors you feel are important to the grass installation procedure* _______________________________________________
1. Are vour trees, shrubs & groundcover areas separate (teds) from the
lawn area? _________________________________________________________
2. If so, are these bed areas mulched? _________________________________
a. With what material? ___________________________________________
b. Is plastic liner used? ________________________________________
3. Please list kinds of plants that have proven to be the most drought
tolerant: __________________________________________________________
1. Do you have an irrigation system? ________________________________
2. Does your irrigation system have different zones for plants with
different water requirements? ___________________________________
Do you use any drip irrigation? _________________________________
1. Have weeds been a problem? Please discuss _________________
2. How often do you weed during the growing season?
3. Do you use chemical weed control? _______________
If so, how often? _______________________________
5. How often do you mow? (native, bluegrass areas) 6
6. Have you had any problems with diseases or pests?
7. Does your landscape require any special pruning of trees, shrubs, etc.?
8. How often do you fertilize?
a. Trees and shrubs ____________________________________________
b. Lawn _______________________________________________________
c. Other ______________________________________________________
9. Do you feel your landscape requires more maintenance than a more
traditional landscape? __________________________________________

Have you done any quantity or cost comparisons on water used before and after your landscape design was installed? ______________________
2. Do you feel your landscape was more or less expensive than a more
traditional one? ___________________________________________________
Please explain* ____________________________________________________
1. Do you feel water is a necessary resource to conserve? Please explain i ___________________________________________
2. When dryland landscaping is mentioned, what first comes to your mind?
3.. Where were you. bom? _________________
U. Where were you brought up? _____________
5. How long have you lived in Colorado?
6. What are your favorite plants? ______
Name your favorite native plants
8. Why are they your favorites?
9. Do you like unmown grass? _____________________________________________
Why? __________________________________________________________________
10. Do you like to drive through Eastern Colorado's plains & rural areas?
11. What do you like best about Colorado?
12. What is your favorite color? _______________
13. Do you consider yourself a gardener? _______
1^. What do you like most about your landscape?
15. './hat do you dislike about your landscape?
16. Do you know of any other landscaped homes or other areas that are trying to conserve water? _________________ Please list:_______________

17. Is there anything that you can tell me about your likes and
dislikes of the above landscapes ?_
18. Are there certain things about landscaping to fit Colorado's seml-arld environment, that you feel are or are not aesthetically pleasing?
19. If you were to move to a new house, would you want another landscape that was water conservative? ______________
What would you do again? _______________________________________
'./hat would you not do again?

Project _____________________________________________________________
Location/address ____________________________________________________
1. Were you aware of landscape planning done In your development to
conserve water or preserve the natural environment? ____________
2. What do you like most about these areas?________________________
3. What do you dislike about these areas?
U, When dryland landscaping Is mentioned what comes to mind?
5. Where were you born?________________ Brought up?
6. Do you have some favorite plants? ________________
7. How long have you lived in Colorado? _______________________
8. Do you feel that we need to conserve water? ________________
Please explain ____________________________________________
9. What Is your favorite aspect about the Colorado Landscape?
10. Was landscaping of the development a factor In your choosing
to move here? ________________________________________________
Ii5 so, why? _________________________________________
11. If you have any more comments about the landscape or open areas of your community, please discuss.

1. Why do you design with water conservation In mind?
11. What Is your favorite color? ___________
QUESTIONS ABOUT_____________________________
1. Please discuss major design objectives
2. 'What first comes to mind when someone mentions dryland landscaping?
2. Please discuss any limitationsi
______________________________________________________________ 3. What water conservation principles have worked well?
3. What are your favorite drought tolerant plants? ------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------
h, What water conservation principles have not worked well?
L-. What are your favorite native plants?
5. Has this changed anything you will do in the future? _______
5. Where were you born? _________________________________________ ____---------- ------------------------------------------
6. V/here were you brought up? __________________________________ -------------------------------------------------------------------------
?. How long have you lived in Colorado? --------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------
8. Do you like unmown grass? _____ Why? __________________________ _________________________----------------------------------------------
6. '.What kind of feedback are you generally getting from your clients?
9. Do you like to drive through Eastern Colorado's plains and rural areas? ------------------- --------------------------------------
______ 'Why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. '.What do you like best about Colorado? ________________________________ 7' yOU pU" n doing future deslgns usln Mater conservation
methods? ____________________________________________________

Contact ____________________________________________________Phone
Project ____________________________________________________Owner
Location/address ________________________________________________
Access __________________________________________________________
Vegetation Zone _________________________________________________
Soil Type _______________________________________________________
Type of Project _________________________________________________
Objectives/crlteria _____________________________________________
Limitations ____
CONSTRUCTION (if you do not have this information, please let me know who does)
Installation period ___________________________________________________________
Soil Preparation _____________________________________________
. Cultivation ___________________________________________________
Fertilization ________________________________________________
Seeding Mix __________________________________________________
List native or drought tolerant plant material
List other plant material
Describe any special planting techniques
Duration _________________
Irrigation _______________
Reseeding ________________
Mowing ___________________
Watering _________________
Fertilization ____________
Watering frequency _______
Mowing frequency _________
Fertilization ____________
Disease/pest control _____

1. Do you feel attempts at water conservation have been significant? Please explains_________________________________________________________
2. Do you have any cost or quantity Information on water saved?
3. Has the area generally been accepted by the employees/publlc?
4. '.-/hat have been the complaints?
5. Has the maintenance program been successful?
6. Do you think that the public knows that water conservation was a goal of this project? ___________________________________________________________
7. Would you consider using other sites to try water conservation or
dryland landscaping? _____________________________________________
What do you feel you have learned from this experience? __________

Business or Industrial Parks
Inverness Carole Kastler
Tishman no reply Lynn Moore/SLP
Midland Bank/Greeley Glen Stainton/THK
Toddy's Shopping Center Mick Todd Jim Sell *Mick Todd
Hewlett Packard no reply Herb Schaal/EDAW no reply
Rocky Mtn. Energy no reply Herb Schaal/EDAW no reply
United Bank of Boulder Joel Simon/Boulder Landscape Management
+ Answered questionnaire in absence of person involved -- Unable to locate

Single Family Residences
Downing Residence Same Owner Owner
Peterson Residence Same *Peterson/George Kelly Owner
Amman Residence Same A1 Rollinger Owner
Kosmiski Residence Same A1 .Rollinger Owner
Vandermeer Residence Same A1 Rollinger Owner
Moore Residence Same A1 Rollinger Owner
Duboff Residence Same A1 Rollinger Owner
Daly Residence Same *Daly/Karen Valenzuela Owner
Rinaldi Residence Same Joanne Rondon Owner
Gilcrest/Wenk Residence Same Owner Owner
Buckner Residence Same Owner Owner
Webster Residence Same Owner Owner
* Answered Questionnaire in absence of Landscape Architect
Planned Community
Shanahan #2 McStain/ Carolyn Hoyt Becky Martinek Becky Martinek "
Shanahan #4 II II II II
Villa Heights Lakewood Housing/ Steve Gundell Gilcrest/Shapins/Moss Individual homeowners
Highlands Ranch Mission Viejo Co./ no reply Dick Marshall Carl Ferguson
-- Unable to locate


Public Parks ; 1 . .
Belmar Lakewood Ross Williams Mike Mladjan
Hodgson Lakewood *Todd Oppenheimer
Footbridge Littleton Susan Anderson Susan Anderson
Meade Littleton Susan Anderson Susan Anderson
Green Acres Medians Littleton Susan Anderson Susan Anderson
Shoot-out Park UCD Bill Wenk Kathy Stewart/Newheight Group
Fire Station #5 Westminster Bob Lienaman Mike Bello/SLP Rich Dahl
Country Club of
Colorado, Colorado Springs -- Stan Metsker
Aurora Central Library Aurora Linda Strand
* Answered questionnaire in absence of person involved
-- Unable to locate