York Street Turf Replacement Project

May 9, 2023 Mario Bertelmann , Assistant Curator of Shade Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens strives to be ever more sustainable and conserve our precious water resources in the state of Colorado. With the recent passing and approval of House Bill 22-1151, the Turf Replacement Program, new incentives will be available starting this year for Colorado businesses, nonprofits and HOAs to remove unused turf areas and replace them with more drought tolerant landscapes that are appropriate for our semi-arid climate. In response to this, the Horticulture Department combined forces with the Gardens’ Green Team to reimagine the turf areas along York Street and create a modern and innovative demonstration garden.
In March, we started removal of turf along the east side of York Street, which was then replaced with a stunning and drought-tolerant garden that will showcase the use of native and xeric perennials, ground covers and bulbs. The area will fill in quickly and prevent the unwanted heat island effect. A squeegee gravel mulch was used to allow for ideal drainage while also retaining soil moisture. This new feature will not only look incredible as it formally greets visitors but will also reduce water consumption in the area by up to 100,000 gallons per year once it is fully established. 

In addition to conserving water, this project aims to inspire visitors and the public to take on similar projects in their home and business landscapes to conserve valuable water resources while simultaneously enhancing aesthetics without the use of artificial turf or excessive rock, which can be ecologically and environmentally counterproductive. 

The entire project will be documented using time-lapse cameras recording each step. Signage will educate the public on the steps involved and the plants selected to create this new roadside display.  

This exciting endeavor is one of many that Denver Botanic Gardens is currently spearheading to make Colorado greener and protect our natural resources. Stay tuned to see this amazing transformation and visit the Gardens to learn more about these drought tolerant and tough plants for your home garden! 


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