Foothills Terrace Farmby Tom Sunderland
How One South Boulder Family Transformed an Eroded Hillside Into a Family Friendly Produce Farm
This summer, one family will be making fewer trips to the grocery store and will spend more time together picking fresh produce from their newly terraced hillside and enjoying home cooked meals with 5 star views of Boulder’s majestic flatirons! Given the current high demand and empty shelves at grocery stores resulting from the Covid19 outbreak, timing couldn’t be better for this family’s inspiration to make their yard a better place.
Driven by the need to repair a steeply pitched and heavily eroded area of their South Boulder home, and inspired by the family’s passion for urban farming and sustainable agriculture, the homeowners partnered with Boulder based landscape design-build- maintenance firm Native Edge Landscapes to help transform their dreams and ideas into reality.
Priorities for the project included 1) the repair of the existing hillside heavily damaged by a previous home remodel, 2) save and incorporate the only existing tree, 3) to make the space accessible and family friendly with raised veggie beds and a small patio space to take in views of the nearby flatirons, and 4) a way to safely access the lower areas of the yard.
Native Edge Landscapes Designer, Adrian Flynt worked with the homeowners to develop a design that would use a series of raised timber garden beds to retain the hillside and also support a network of circulation paths.
Dry stacked buff sandstone walls and a dry creek bed were added to create small xeric planting beds for pollinator habitat and to help control storm water runoff.
“We wanted a space where we could wander through little pockets of spaces. We knew we wanted to expand our garden and make the most of this terraced space. I wanted a cafe table under a tree where we could relax, and when Adrian brought me his plan with a patio that included the tree that was already here I was thrilled.”-Homeowner
A cozy buff stone dining patio was designed into lowest terrace of the gardens where there could be privacy from the house and full flatiron views could be enjoyed. To ensure gardening materials could be easily transported up and down the hillside using carts or wheelbarrows, an access ramp was incorporated. Finally, the design featured a buff flagstone dining patio carefully designed around the sole existing tree which was a key design anchor point that drove the levels and elevations of the overall plan.
To access the patio, a central staircase featuring subtle low voltage step lighting would be structurally integrated into the raised timber beds. Granite boulders were used to creatively transition buff sandstone wall materials and provide contrasting decorative accents.
Each bed features its own irrigation zone. A drip zone supplies supplemental water to the perennial areas and spray zones provide supplemental water for establishment of native areas. The entire irrigation system is controlled by a “smart” controller that allows for automatic weather adjustments, proactive leak detection and remote smartphone control.
The lowest area of the yard was restored to native grass and is terraced in a manner that will allow for future planting.
“We loved what Adrian came up with. Each planter box has it’s own irrigation zone that we can adjust according to what is planted there. We also really like the mixture of the timbers with the stonework. We wanted the neighbors who lived across the way and could see in our back yard something that fit with the landscape and this stone is the perfect color. We also love the intricate work done by the stonemason.”-Homeowner
Native Edge Landscapes is a local, reputable, and well established custom landscape design-build and maintenance firm well known for its local expertise as well as it’s collaborative and creative approach to challenging outdoor projects. To learn more about this project or to discover what’s the possibilities are for your own backyard or community space, visit www.nativeedgelandscapes.com. Or give us ring… 303-245-9166.