Going Green 8

How Ecoscape Environmental Design is transforming Boulder’s backyards

Blossoming from its roots on 200 acres in Sunshine Canyon, Ecoscape Environmental Design has carved out a niche in the landscaping industry, turning backyards into both viable habitats and gorgeous outdoor spaces. For Bill Melvin, Owner and Managing Director of Ecoscape, each new project provides an opportunity: to surround people with the beauty of native plants and to create for them an eco-friendly retreat.

Far from the typical landscaping company, Ecoscape is known for its green approach, focusing dually on designing a beautiful space and on the integration of a natural landscape. As awareness of toxins in the world around us grows, many homeowners seek to create home gardens, and to do so using non-toxic materials. This is where Ecoscape comes in: its purpose is to take backyards and turn them into stunning yet sustainable sanctuaries.

When approaching a new project, Melvin and his team draw inspiration from the existing landscape, noting how the elements are currently thriving, and from the client’s desires. From grandiose outdoor living rooms to peaceful backyard escapes, projects often include features like hardscaped patios, water features, spiraling stonework and fireplaces. Man-made components or not, an ever-important consideration is how each design will work with the native terrain, as opposed to taking over it.

Ecoscape’s eco-consciousness does not limit its ability to turn properties into walkable works of art. Take, for example, one of Melvin’s favorite projects at a home on Mapleton Hill, where the clients loved growing and cooking their own food. This inspired the creation of an “edible oasis,” as Melvin deems it. A handful of raised garden beds boasting vegetables and legumes were built using buff sandstone blocks. Surrounding the beds are over a dozen berry varieties, flanked by half a dozen fruit varieties and a broad selection of culinary herbs. Raised beds provide an organized feel to the garden, while also offering the benefit of an extended growing season-their location a few inches from the ground provides extra warmth to the plants and allows for the easy addition of hoop-houses for protection. Overlooking a cascading water feature is a flagstone patio, and flagstone pathways curve through the gardens. The unique design of the Mapleton Hill project serves as just one example of the creative and functional spaces Ecoscape is crafting across Boulder.

In a valley renowned for its love of the outdoors, and its dedication to preserving the pristine natural beauty that surrounds, Ecoscape is doing its part to keep Boulder green, in every sense of the word.