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‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue Grama Grass was introduced by David Salman, as was  Agastache x ‘Ava’, named for his wife, Ava.

A Stunning Showcase Garden In Castle Rock, Colorado

Tucked into a cul de sac in a suburban Castle Rock, Colorado neighborhood, there is a secret garden oasis at the home of Ryan and Allison H. Every inch of this backyard is a showcase of waterwise perennials, colorful blooms, and hummingbird habitat. Read on to learn more about the hard work behind the garden, and learn more about the waterwise plants thriving in Castle Rock's challenging climate.

This is not your ordinary backyard garden! Ryan and Allison have completely removed all of the lawn in their backyard, carefully creating a stunning, steeply sloped garden that feels like paradise to visit. Ryan H. is a gardener on a mission – he is passionate, dedicated, and hopes to inspire others to transform their yards as well. 

The garden homeowner in his garden, plus a photo of a hummingbird visiting the garden.

Happy Hummingbirds

This tremendous transformation from turf to waterwise plants has attracted lots of wildlife. Ryan said that they really designed the garden with hummingbirds in mind, and the garden is truly a magnet for hummingbirds.

Ryan and Allison think that there are around 10 different birds who now call the garden home. They’re mostly ruby-throated hummingbirds, and one aggressive rufous, who all love the garden. The yard is bordered by tall trees that also help provide nesting space. The hummers happily chirped and darted around to the Agastache flowers and more. 

A lush perennial garden with bestsellers such as ornamental grasses, lavender, penstemon, and more

Garden Design Inspiration

Ryan takes inspiration from Piet Oudolf, who is known for large scale, naturalistic plantings. This Colorado garden is a showcase of High Country Gardens bestselling perennials - including many introductions from David Salman. Ryan had become a dedicated plantsman, constantly learning by experience and seeking out information and advice from local plant experts.  

The design is very intentional – Delospermas (Ice Plants) hug the stone stairs – but also help prevent erosion on the steep yard. Similarly, Thymes line the gravel path down the sideyard – and helped prevent washouts in this summer’s heavy rains.

Perennial gardens line walkways and steps though garden terraces

Putting A Personal Touch Into The Garden

It’s not just the plant selection where the Harters’ personalities shine through. Throughout the garden are little gems to discover – tiny toy soldiers they found abandoned in the yard when they moved in have been promoted to a lifetime of garden exploration, and a little armadillo sculpture will make you smile. At the time of our visit, Halloween wasn’t far away – and there was a little skull sculpture tucked into the garden to give a hint of the holiday to come. Colorful pots and sculptures add even more intrigue to the garden.

Ornamental Grasses and ice plants line this stone stairway

Steps To Xeriscaping Success

Walking through the garden, you wind along pathways down the terraced hillside, soon becoming enveloped in waterwise plants. Stone stairs lead to a beautiful patio - a space where Ryan and Alison can relax and unwind after all their hard work in the garden. They included a beautiful sitting area that allows them to sit back and enjoy the beauty of their hard work.  

An Adventure Through The Garden

It’s easy to see that this dedication has paid off. This garden is a magical landscape – an amphitheater of amazing plants. Looking through the garden, you’ll discover beautiful succulents tucked into every nook and crevice. The terracing, stone steps, boulders, and gravel mulch provide endless nooks for plants to grow. The journey from the peak to the valley of the garden is an engaging and delightful experience – constantly changing throughout the seasons.  

Yes, this waterwise garden is a labor of love that keeps them busy. Ryan and Allison tend extensively to the garden during the growing season, and Ryan’s photos and writing bring his gardening indoors for the winter. However, with gardening, there is always something new to look forward to. For this Colorado couple, the front yard is next. Stay tuned for their next beautiful waterwise yard transformation!

waterwise garden

Explore Our Palette Of Waterwise Perennials

Beyond the dazzling garden designs, our waterwise plants contribute to a robust ecosystem where people, plants, and wildlife thrive. 

Part Of The High Country Gardens Waterwise Plants Learning Center

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