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Goodbye thirsty turf! And hello, future stunning, water-wise garden

Denver Botanic Gardens replacing high-profile turf strip along busy York Street.

Editor’s note: This TAP story is by Mario Bertelmann, assistant curator for shade gardens at Denver Water partner Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens in March began removing a strip of thirsty, decorative turf along York Street. A new, water-wise garden will grow in its place. Photo credit: Denver Botanic Gardens, Scott Dressel-Martin.

Denver Botanic Gardens strives to be ever more sustainable and conserve our precious water resources. 

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 residents, businesses and nonprofits to remove unused turf areas and replace them with more drought-tolerant landscapes that are appropriate for our dry climate. 

In response to this, the Botanic Gardens’ horticulture department combined forces with its green team to reimagine the turf areas along York Street and create a modern and innovative demonstration garden.

In March, crews started removing turf along the east side of York Street, which will be replaced with a stunning and drought-tolerant garden that will showcase the use of native and xeric perennials, ground covers and bulbs. 

Transforming the strip of decorative, thirsty grass into a showcase of native and xeric plants will take time and will reduce valuable water consumption by up to 100,000 gallons per year. That’s time well spent. Photo credit: Denver Botanic Gardens, Scott Dressel-Martin.

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 people to take on similar projects in their home and business landscapes to conserve valuable water resources while simultaneously enhancing aesthetics. 

Meet Denver Water customers who have made the switch to natural Colorado landscapes.

The project will commence in early- to mid-May. Plants will take a full season to fully establish, and the entire project will be documented using time-lapse cameras recording each step of the project. 

A rendering of the new water-wise garden the Denver Botanic Gardens will plant along York Street. Image credit: Denver Botanic Gardens.

Signs will educate the public on the steps involved and the plants selected to create this new roadside display.

This exciting project is one of many that Botanic Gardens is currently spearheading to make Colorado greener and protect our natural resources. Stay tuned to see this amazing transformation.

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