Viriditas Luxury Landscape Design Company, Boulder, Denver, Colorado

Zaria's Realm

The Dream

The client wanted a mountain garden linking the house to a swimming pool and hot tub: a private sanctuary in a dramatic natural setting.

The Challenge

Zaria's Realm posed very some challenging conditions. The garden had to be built on top of steep rocky terrain. It needed to accomodate a hot tub and swimming pool, plus a strong architectural feature—thirty feet of ceiling-to-floor sliding doors at two corners of the house. And finally: the site was in the direct path of mountain wildlife, and needed to be protected.

The Garden

These three conditions defined much of how we needed to approach the design for Zaria's Realm.

For protection and privacy, we designed a 12.5' steel wall, covered with patina-colored concrete tiles, to harmonize with the exposed concrete of the house. (We back-filled 4 feet of the wall, so only 8.5 feet would show, giving the wall an organic appearance in the landscape.) In addition, we added an elegantly unobtrusive fence to keep out wildlife, while at the same time not visually separating the garden from the beautiful natural surroundings.

Viriditas used unconventional construction techniques to create a harmonious and integrated landscape: we supported the pool area; added multiple play areas, an outdoor dining patio on one side and an outdoor living patio off of the great room; we installed waterfalls, a kiddie pool, an attractive fire feature, and put flower beds everywhere.

The garden plantings are distinctive and include many Heritage plants acclimated to our area by Seeds of Change. We used several varieties of Amaranth, French brocade marigolds, purple dahlia, sacred Mayan blue corn, and Azetec tobacco. In addition there are Colorado native perennials, shrubs, specialty conifers, and character pines.

We also used environmentally sustainable practices: by utilizing the native rock (crushed on site) and adding heavy amendments of compost and bark mulch, we made 'mountain soil' on the spot for landscaping use.

As part of the landscape design element, to accomodate the steep site we created unique 'floating' rock planters for the north side of the home. These are on the same level as the upstairs hallway: there they act as a beautiful focal point and receive much more light, allowing for a much longer growing season than the ground level plantings. These forms visually line up with the existing elevation on the opposite side of the driveway and create a subtly beautiful effect that echoes the original rock formation at the site.

Zaria's Realm gives this young family a beautiful and eminently usable garden that extends the open interior living space over 70 feet out into the yard on one level — a dynamic, seamless transition from interior to exterior. The different areas are separate yet fully integrated into the site.