Summer is just around the corner which means days at the pool, Sounds of Centerra and plenty of outdoor activities. Prepare your landscaping for warmer temperatures, while also being respectful of the wildlife that call The Lakes home. Here are several tips and ideas to gear up your yard for summer.
Let Loveland Inspiration Take Root
The Lakes is a community that lives in harmony with the world around it, which means encouraging residents to design and care for their outdoor spaces with conservation in mind. One way to do this? Reduce your lawn size to save on maintenance time and water consumption. For those areas that do contain turf, be sure to water during late evening or early morning hours to reduce evaporation. Watering your lawn during peak temperature hours can waste 20-25 gallons of water per day!
Brighten your yard with native plants designed to thrive in the Colorado climate. These plants support pollinators and birds and require little to survive (good news for those without a green thumb). Get inspired at High Plains Environmental Center’s Native Plants Demonstration Garden, where you can see these native plants in their natural state and determine which is right for you. Beyond the fact that native plants are beautiful and an integral part of Centerra’s environment, they provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Create a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat
Something else to consider as you create your outdoor oasis is the opportunity to become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. In 2018, High Plains Environmental Center and Centerra celebrated Centerra’s designation as Colorado’s first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), indicating a commitment to creating spaces that welcome native wildlife. In order to be deemed a ‘wildlife habitat,’ residents must meet the following requirements:
The NWF intentionally makes these requirements easily attainable so that residents can become certified without having to fully renovate their space.
Work with What You Have
There are other ways to prepare for warmer weather without a complete overhaul. Clean up any debris that may have collected during the fall and winter, like twigs, branches and leaves, being sure to properly dispose of these items. If this debris makes its way to open spaces, it can interfere with the growth of native grasses and weed management. Fertilize your lawn to replenish nutrients that were likely stripped during winter using a slow release fertilizer, which minimizes the number of annual applications needed, followed by a short weeding and deadheading session to make sure last year’s plants are ready for the season ahead. The best time to mow is mid-morning around 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 am, which ensures that the overnight condensation has dried, and the temperature is still low enough that your lawnmower won’t overheat. Set your mower height to three inches or above; leaving grass longer can prevent drought stress and help minimize weed growth.
Infuse your yard with colorful flowers to provide food for insects like bees, wasps and butterflies! The best time to begin your flower garden is late spring (mid-May to June) in order to avoid any late snow storms Colorado may send our way. You can discover landscaping inspiration on The Lakes’ Green Thumb Pinterest board.
However large or small your yard, it has the potential to become a piece of the living, breathing ecosystem that is The Lakes. Grab your gardening gear and let’s get growin’!
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or an amateur, join Sheila Webber for a bird walk around Equalizer Lake on the first Saturday of each month, from 8am – 10am, from February – October 2019.