Life of the Party

Where It Began

After purchasing the empty lot south of their property, the owners of this home in Denver’s Observatory Park neighborhood collaborated with the team at Lifescape Associates to turn neglected terrain into a high-impact, low-maintenance paradise. “Should you desire a private resort in your backyard,” says Lifescape founder Charles “Randy” Randolph, “this is it.”

“We started with the pool,” Randolph explains, where one switch triggers four sets of cascading waterfalls, transforming the cantilever-edge pool into a Tuscan-inspired fountain. Trickling water enhances the ambiance while drowning out the sound of traffic.

Creating the right atmosphere was key. The homeowners, who entertain frequently, needed a large-scale space for crowds as well as a quiet gathering spot for intimate conversation. A fire pit situated near the hot tub accommodates masses, while the terrace, with its crackling fireplace and cozy seating, is ideal for small soirées.

The Process

The project took six months to complete. Creating a lush landscape in Colorado is no easy feat, and the team also took careful measures to consider the environment. “Conservation and sustainability—that was our driving mantra,” says Dan DeGrush, landscape designer and LEED-Accredited Professional at Lifescape. For new plantings, DeGrush chose native, drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs and groundcover plants, and he preserved a large maple tree the homeowners wanted to protect. Minimal sod saves water, as does the drip irrigation sprinkler system.

Perfect Touches

Eco-friendly features round out the design. For example, Kichler LED outdoor lights—which consume 60 percent less energy than conventional lights and use bulbs that have a 15-year life—line the pathways, walls and ceilings. For the patio and pool deck, DeGrush tapped local resources, using Colorado buff flagstone, and an old fire pit was given a new veneer of Telluride stone (also used for the pool walls). TREX decking—composed of recycled plastic, wood dust and hardwood fibers—covers the hot tub deck. Perhaps these green elements explain why Michael Hupf, owner and CEO of Lifescape, has dubbed this backyard “the poster-child of outdoor living.”


Landscape Architecture: Lifescape Associates, Denver, (303) 831-8310,

Categories: Landscaping & Gardening