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

Summerhome Garden Is A Xeriscape Oasis In Denver, Colorado

Summerhome Garden is a gardener’s dream come true. Owner Lisa and horticulturist Kevin are on a mission to inspire others and show their community just how awe-inspiring xeriscaping can be.

Garden owner Lisa is a lover of plants, seeds, and global travel. A past environmental engineer and entrepreneur, Lisa is passionate about science and math. Since she began volunteering at Denver Botanic Gardens in 2016, she’s started to apply those principles to a more creative pursuit. Lisa is now dedicated to helping others understand how we can thrive—one plant, one butterfly, one bee, and one bird at a time.

Lisa met horticulturist and garden designer Kevin P. Williams at Denver Botanic Gardens, whose work has led to the creation of public gardens throughout the city. He has also worked and gardened at The High Line in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He has a passion for combining bioregional plant palettes with unconventional sources of inspiration like hardcore punk - or in this garden, graffiti - to create dynamic, captivating gardens.

In this garden project, Lisa and Kevin share their passion for creating gardens that inspire people and bring people together, while creating a planting that celebrates the unique plants and climate of Colorado and creates a sense of place.

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

Planting A Pocket Park

When the property next to Lisa’s home came on the market, she had a vision. Imagine if there was a beautiful open space, tucked right into the heart of her growing and developing neighborhood? A space where pets and kids could roam, an oasis The old home was removed, and the lot was prepared for its new life as an amazing xeriscaped garden.

Planting this garden was no small feat - but some pretty unusual circumstances came together to make it happen. In May of 2022, Denver Botanic Garden was closed due to COVID-19 guidelines in Colorado, and the enthusiastic community of garden volunteers was itching for a way to get their hands in the dirt. Thanks to her inspiring vision - and likely thanks to her warm and outgoing personality - Lisa was able to recruit these volunteers for her planting project. Working safely in shifts, they planted thousands of perennials as a community of volunteers. A true example of the power of the plant community!

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

Inspired Garden Design

Horticulturist Kevin provided a creative and unexpected design approach for the garden.

“The design for SummerHome Garden was modeled on graffiti, a type of wild, surprising expression that is a perfect starting point for a naturalistic garden. By densely planting and seeding steppe-adapted plants, we created a novel plant community suited for Denver’s climate with tons of potential for change.”

— Kevin Philip Williams SummerHome Garden Designer & Horticulture Specialist at Denver Botanic Gardens

With a creative vision, Kevins translated the layers of pattern, color, and texture of street art into layers of pattern, color, and texture with living plants. 

Perennial gardens line walkways and steps though garden terraces

Taking In The Details 

Beyond the stunning plants, the landscape of Summerhome Garden includes layers of details that make it an incredibly engaging and serene experience for visitors. 

  • Gravel pathways wind around the pocket park, inviting visitors to peacefully walk their way through the plants as they buzz and hum with lively pollinators. 
  • Stone benches provide places to sit, rest, and soak in your surroundings. 
  • Water features add a gentle, soothing soundscape to the garden, truly giving it the feeling of a relaxing oasis. 
  • Sculptural elements bring year-round interest - but also play a role in creating habitat in the garden. In addition to metal sculptures, the garden includes artisanally crafted pollinator houses placed throughout the garden. 
Ornamental Grasses and ice plants line this stone stairway

Summerhome Plant List

Lisa and Kevin carefully and intentionally chose plants for this garden that would thrive in the garden without soil amendments, heavy watering, and lots of maintenance. Many beautiful and resilient native plants are included in the garden, as well as selections of introduced plants that are well-suited to Colorado’s climate. 

With the goal of inspiring and encouraging other local gardeners, their plant list emphasizes perennial species that are widely available in the horticultural trade. Fortunately for all who love this garden, they have shared their plant list - most of which are available to order from High Country Gardens.  

  • Achnatherum calamagrotis ‘Undaunted’- silver spike grass
  • Agastache rupestris- sunset hyssop
  • Agave havardiana- Harvard’s century plant
  • Agave neomexicana- New Mexico century plant
  • Allium bulbs- various types
  • Amorpha canescens- downy indigo bush
  • Andropogen gerardii ‘Windwalker’- big bluestem
  • Anemonoides Blanca- blue anemone
  • Aronia melanocarpa- chokeberry
  • Artemisia filifolia- sagebrush
  • Artemisia frigida- sagebrush
  • Asclepias syriaca- common milkweed
  • Asclepias tuberosa- butterfly weed
  • Atriplex canescens- saltbush
  • Baptisia alba- false indigo
  • Camassia esculenta- Camas lily
  • Castilleja integra- Indian paintbrush
  • Castilleja linarifolia- Indian paintbrush
  • Catanache caerulea- Cupid’s dart
  • Cercis canadensis var texensis- Oklahoma redbud tree
  • Cercocarpus ledifolus- curl leaf mountain mahogany
  • Chilopsis linearis- desert willow
  • Clematis scotii- sugarbowl clematis
  • Coryphantha sulcata- pineapple pincushion cactus
  • Coryphantha vivipara- Prairie beehive cactus
  • Daucus carota ‘Dara’- purple
  • Queen Anne’s lace Delosperma- various species
  • Echinocereus baileyi v longispinus
  • Echinocereus engelmanni
  • Echinocereus fendleri
  • Echinocereus x lloydi- Lloyd’s hedgehog
  • Echinocereus mojavensis
  • Echinocereus rechenbachii
  • Echinocereus x roetteri
  • Echinocereus russanthus
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus- claret cup cactus
  • Echinocereus viridiflorus
  • Eremurus- foxtail lily
  • Ericamaria nauseosa- rabbitbrush
  • Erygium plenum- sea holly
  • Escobaria orcuttii- pincushion cactus
  • Escobaria vivipara- pincushion cactus
  • Escscholzia californica ‘Purple Gleam’- poppy
  • Euphorbia cyathophora- Fire-on-the-mountain
  • Euphorbia marginata- Snow-on-the-mountain
  • Fallugia paradoxa- Apache plume
  • Fritillaria- various species
  • Helictotrichon sempervirens- alpine oatgrass
  • Ipomopsis aggregata- Scarlet gilia
  • Ipomopsis rubra- standing cypress
  • Krascheninnikovia lanata- winterfat
  • Liatris ligulistylis
  • Linum lewisii- blue flax
  • Lonicera reticulata ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’- honeysuckle
  • Lycium pallidum- pale wolfberry
  • Mammillaria- various pincushion cactus
  • Monarda punctata- dotted bee balm
  • Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘Undaunted Ruby’- muhly grass
  • Nolina Opuntia polyacantha- plains pricklypear cactus
  • Opuntia- ‘Walk in Beauty’ varieties
  • Pediocactus simpsonii- mountain ball cactus
  • Penstemon grandiflorus
  • Penstemon strictus- Rocky Mountain Penstemon
  • Phacelia campanularia- desertbells
  • Pinus monophylla- single leaf piñon pine
  • Prunus besseyi- Pawnee Buttes sandcherry
  • Prunus x virginiana ‘Sucker Punch’- Canadian chokecherry
  • Quercus gambelii- Gambel’s oak
  • Rhus typhina- staghorn sumac
  • Ribes aureum- golden currant
  • Rubus deliciosus- Boulder raspberry
  • Salvia argentia- sage
  • Salvia darcyi X microphylla ‘Windwalker’- sage
  • Salvia pachyphylla- Mojave sage
  • Salvia reptans- sage
  • Salvia ringens- sage
  • Salvia yangii- Russian sage
  • Schizachyrium scoparium- little bluestem grass
  • Sempervivum- various species
  • Shepherding argentea ‘Totem’- silver buffaloberry
  • Solidago rigida- Goldenrod
  • Solidago speciosa- Goldenrod
  • Sporobolus wrightii- Prairie dropseed
  • Symphyotrichum lateriflorum- ‘lady in black’ aster
  • Tulipa humilus ‘Persian Pearl’
  • Tulipa parrot “Black Parrot”- black parrot tulips
  • Tulipa turkestanica- Turkish tulips
  • Veronia baldwinii
  • Yucca glauca- small soapweed
  • Yucca filamentosa- Adam’s needle yucca
  • Yucca rostrata- blue beaked yucca
  • Veronia baldwinii- iron weed

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

Visiting The Pocket Park

“I’m thrilled to offer this open space as a gift to my urban neighborhood. Please enjoy–take time to breathe, grow and thrive!” - Lisa

Yes, you can visit Summerhome Garden to take in the beauty yourself! Located in a residential neighborhood, it is important to be respectful of the neighbors. The park is open daily between the hours of 9am and 6pm. 

Visit them virtually via their website: Summerhome Garden


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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