Inspiring Landscapes

20 May 2023

Five local landscaping companies were among those receiving 2022 ELITE Awards from Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC), a program of recognition with the goal of elevating the landscape industry through excellence.


“The ELITE Awards recognize professionalism and innovation, as well as business practices and original projects,” according to the ALCC website. “The cornerstone of the program is what ALCC has always recognized: professionalism, executing work to the highest possible standards and doing so with integrity. These commitments are the bedrock of ALCC's core values. In addition, this program also recognizes a company's commitment to sound business practices, the ability to innovate, to have a culture wherein employees can excel, to practice environmental stewardship, to treat customers well and to give back to the community.”

Changing Landscapes

Changing Landscapes won the following:

  • Gold ELITE Award for Sustainability – Sliker Residence

Paul Hartman, president of the 36-year-old company, said this project was a contemporary home site, designed to blend into a rural area surrounded by farmland and pasture.

“Working with the clients, we created a dry-land, native, xeric plan,” he said. “In order to create a garden, we built a retaining stone wall, punctuated with boulders around the house, which solved an issue of steep grades, as well as retaining soil and modifying the grade. We maintained a line of existing Honeylocust trees, preserving wildlife habitat and roosts for hawks, eagles and other species. Our clients were thrilled when the perennial gardens attracted both native and honey bees to their new hives.”

The award reinforces Changing Landscapes’ mission of creating sustainable landscapes in the arid Colorado climate, Hartman said.

“Every job is unique and important, no matter the scale or budget,” he added. “Much credit for our ongoing success is due to our employees, some who’ve stayed with us for 20 years or longer.”

Environmental Designs

Environmental Designs won the following:

  • Gold ELITE Award for Landscape Construction – Suburban Resort
  • Gold ELITE Award for Commercial Landscape Maintenance – JBS USA Corporate Offices
  • Gold ELITE Award for Community Stewardship – Community Roots Holocaust Memorial and Learning Garden
  • Silver ELITE Award for Residential Design/Build – Big House on the Prairie
  • Silver ELITE Award for Plant Design – Sunset House
  • Silver ELITE Award for Sustainability – Centerra Residential Irrigation Efficiency Upgrades

Suburban Resort was a renovation featuring two fire pits, large patio spaces and a significant reduction in water use. JBS encompassed integrative pest management and sustainable landscape management practices. Community Roots was part of the Daffodil Project, a worldwide effort to create a Holocaust Memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils in remembrance of children. Big House, a collaboration with Skycastle Construction / Rodwin Architecture, renovated the landscape to an at-home retreat. Sunset House called for a sleek, low-maintenance landscape that felt lush and inviting. Centerra involved upgrading a homeowner association’s landscaping and irrigation system, to impart a park-like setting with reduced water consumption.

“The projects won because they are examples of our best work,” said Rachael Shuler, construction sales manager for the 34-year-old company. “They show our commitment to the environment, our clients and our community.”

LID Landscapes

LID Landscapes won the following:

  • Bronze ELITE Award for Landscape Construction – Majestic Mountain View

The project created four new outdoor living spaces, three that capitalized on the view and one that allowed for more private gatherings and a kids’ activity space, said Ryan Campbell, design build manager/project director for the 43-year-old company. Among the features are a dining space protected by a steel pergola, an automatic, retractable shade screen, a fire pit with large moss rock boulders in the background, surrounding beds filled with perennials, grasses and structure plants and landscape lighting in transition areas to highlight steps and plant material, he said.

“We were able to create so many entertainment spaces within a small lot to capture and maximize their incredible view of the Flatirons,” Campbell said. “All the materials used blended in seamlessly with their existing architecture, allowing their new outdoor living spaces to feel like an extension of their home. All in all, an incredible project that allows our clients to maximize all of the incredible weather we have throughout the year.”

Lifescape Colorado

Lifescape Colorado won the following:

  • Gold ELITE Award for Residential Design/Build – Denver Icon
  • Gold ELITE Award for Plant Design – Rooftop Doubleheader
  • Gold ELITE Award for Residential Landscape Maintenance – Manoir Moderne

While each project has a different style, there is a common thread of inspiring outside enjoyment, said Rachelle Folsom, director of marketing and business development for the 47-year-old company.

Denver Icon involved a prominent family wanting to up their game for outdoor living during the COVID-19 lockdown, while Rooftop Doubleheader was a combination of distinctly different outdoor living spaces, with a cohesive aesthetic thread for two adjacent rooftop residential penthouse units, she said. In addition, Manoir Moderne was a residential project that Lifescape designed and built in 2018, taking over weekly maintenance upon completion, Folsom said.

“Each project involved significant challenges that had to be managed and overcome with creative, livable and functional solutions,” she said. “The variance in the style also shows that Lifescape delivers highly personalized solutions. We are always innovating and seeking the best way to bring our clients’ dreams to fruition.”

Tree of Life Landscapes

Tree of Life Landscapes won the following:

  • Bronze ELITE Award for Plant Design – Maestoso

The Maestoso project transformed a suburban backyard into a graceful garden with dramatic waves of color and blooms throughout the year, said Johnny Moore, senior landscape designer for the 25-year-old company.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to work with clients who were seeking to create a truly beautiful garden surrounding their home,” he said. “They were idealists and had a very specific idea in mind, but needed help figuring out what it looked like. They desired to find a natural-based design, so we derived a swirled patio design based on the Fibonacci sequence, utilizing boulders and plants as a backdrop.”

The company hopes Maestoso will inspire others to strive for greater creativity and better use of plant design, Moore said.

“We believe that while good hardscapes are inextricable from an excellent landscape, plants should play a central role,” he said. “Using them well can be difficult and complex, but this is something our design staff has specialized in and continues to study.”

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