September 23, 2011 | Sarada Krishnan, Director of Horticulture


As we look for ways to conserve our natural resources and create sustainable communities, Denver Botanic Gardens in partnership with Sterling Ranch has helped create low-water sustainable landscapes at their demonstration site at Allis Ranch in Douglas County. Sterling Ranch will be Colorado’s first rainwater harvesting community and this project will set a new standard for water conservation in Colorado.

To achieve a goal of using only a third of water used by traditional communities, we have created demonstration gardens that showcase use of water-wise plants and various irrigation systems. The different planting schemes include:

  • Water-Smart Garden with very low water use ornamental plants with low maintenance.
  • Traditional Garden utilizes common ornamental plants of low to moderate water use requiring moderate maintenance.
  • Backyard Oasis showcases the use of a patio with shade plants and other aesthetic amenities such as a water feature, fire pit and planter boxes.
  • Open Space Garden features low water, naturalistic meadow garden.
  • Edible Garden with vegetables, fruits and berries planted in traditional rows and raised beds.


As the community starts build-out over the next 20 years, these demonstration gardens will serve as a teaching tool educating the public on how to create attractive living spaces while conserving one of our precious natural resources – water.


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