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    There is nothing quite like spring — when the birds chirp good morning and dormant plants and bulbs come to life and emerge from the earth. It is a time of renewal and promise. It’s also a time when people, especially residents at Sterling Ranch, are eager and inspired to plan their landscaping and summer gardens. 

    In Colorado, Mother’s Day is often considered the official kickoff for gardening outdoors. The ground is warming and the threat of frost is low. April, therefore, is when the big planning push happens: people build garden beds, begin working the soil and procure seeds and starter plants. Are you among the many excited for spring planting? Read on for suggestions to ensure your high plains garden is a success.

    Landscaping at Sterling Ranch: 8 pre-approved plants

    In the West, we must remain conscious of our plant choices and their water needs. As the ground thaws and your planning switches into high gear, get a head start on your garden with this list of beautiful, water-wise shrubs, perennials, evergreens and grasses. Bird-friendly varieties are marked with an asterisk.*

    Blanket Flower

    Botanical Name: Gaillardia Aristata*
    Common Name: Blanket Flower
    Type: Perennial
    Description: A low-growing member of the sunflower family, these flowers boast bursting red petals with vibrant yellow tips


    Botanical Name: Penstemon Grandiflorus*
    Common Name: Beardtongue
    Type: Perennial
    Description: This prairie-wildflower-turned-landscape-favorite brings elegance to any garden bed

    Little Bluestem Grass

    Botanical Name: Schizachyrium Scoparium*
    Common Name: Little Bluestem Grass
    Type: Grass
    Description: Dainty blue-green stems sway in the breeze, reminiscent of the open space that stretches beyond the community

    Rocky Mountain Zinnia

    Botanical Name: Zinnia Grandiflora
    Common Name: Rocky Mountain Zinnia
    Type: Perennial
    Description: With a name like this, you know this water-wise plant with yellow flowers is a native plant suited to our unique Colorado climate

    Boulder Raspberry

    Botanical Name: Ribes Deliciosus
    Common Name: Boulder Raspberry
    Type: Shrub
    Description: Attract birds and bees to your garden with these low-growing, thornless plants that sport white flowers and irresistible red berries

    Russian Sage

    Botanical Name: Perovskia Atriplicifolia
    Common Name: Russian Sage
    Type: Shrub
    Description: From the salvia family, these wispy purple flowers top tall stems of smell-good, light-green sage leaves

    Rocky Mountain Penstemon

    Botanical Name: Penstemon Strictus*
    Common Name: Rocky Mountain Penstemon
    Type: Evergreen Perennial
    Description: This fragrant, hardy, drought-resistant, nectar-heavy plant boasts showy royal-blue flowers

    Creeping Juniper

    Botanical Name: Juniperus Horizontalis
    Common Name: Creeping Juniper
    Type: Evergreen
    Description: Unassuming and vigorous, this ground cover brings year-round color to your yard

    Need some guidance? The Sterling Ranch Community Authority Board (CAB) hosts Homeowner Landscape classes from March through September. Check its event calendar for class offerings.

    Quick tips for garden success

    Gardeners at Sterling Ranch benefit from the expertise shared by others. “We conducted a five-year test garden with the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to determine what garden and landscape plans would be best for Sterling Ranch,” says Harold Smethills, cofounder of Sterling Ranch. From this test, here are some actionable tips to ensure your garden and landscape are bountiful:

    • In any new landscape, apply two to three inches of compost (unbagged is best) atop your soil and till it in four to six inches deep wherever you are going to plant.
    • Plant all your available space as soon as the weather warms.
    • Always use an organic-based fertilizer for your lawn or garden areas.
    • Use planter boxes or raised beds for vegetable gardens.
    • Container gardens need specially mixed media (potting soils) that do not contain any natural soil.


    “We conducted a five-year test garden with the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to determine what garden and landscape plans would be best for Sterling Ranch.”

    Harold Smethills

    Sterling Ranch Founder

    Thrive with us

    Spring is a special time in Colorado. Our incredible location at Sterling Ranch is particularly suited for bountiful gardens. Planning a move? We invite you to swing by and explore our unique, sustainability-focused community. Delight in our public spaces bursting with new growth and tour our 10 inspiring model homes. Open daily.