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Style Your Porch for Summer

Take your stoop from eyesore to idyllic in five minutes with these simple tips.

1. Plant In Threes

Choose a trio of containers in lieu of a single pot. (You get more visual interest from varying sizes.) Here, Alissa Shanley of B. Gardening Landscape Design filled porchcoverstoryphotomodern white planters with an arrangement of coral begonias, blue lobelia, and lime green helichrysum, all anchored by elephant’s ear.

Pots and Plants, Groundcovers Greenhouse, 4301 E. Iliff Ave., 303-758-8957,

2. Lay The Groundwork

Indoor/outdoor rugs come in color and pattern combos to satisfy every style. Find one you love and slide it under the swing, or use it to delineate a small seating area. (Feeling bold? Paint your porch floor to resemble a rug using a durable product such as Benjamin Moore’s Floor & Patio latex enamel.)

Becca Tile Reversible Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Blue, $249 (five by eight feet), Pottery Barn,

3. Add Softness

The trick to choosing pillows is to establish a palette of three colors first; then find a solid, a small pattern, and a large pattern in those hues. A variety of sizes or shapes gives the grouping extra flair.

Room Essentials Outdoor Pillow in Red Herringbone, $9.99; Threshold Oversized Throw Pillow in Blue Chambray Denim, $29.99; and Threshold Outdoor Pillow in Coral Flower, $14.99, all Target,

4. Table It

Drum stools and garden seats make perfect outdoor tables: sturdy, chic, and easy to move. Go with a deep, saturated color for a big style statement. On larger porches, a pair of tables guarantees plentiful spots for setting down glasses of lemonade.

Punched Metal Dimitri Drum Stool in Peacoat, $69.99, World Market, 770 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale, 303-758-0530,

Styling by Kerri Cole; Plants: Alissa Shanley, B. Gardening Landscape Design

- By Hilary Masell Oswald

b. gardening featured in June 2015 5280 Magazine

Posted in News and Blog

5280 Top of the Town 2016 – Reader’s Choice!

Our 20th annual list of the best places to eat, drink, listen to music, get pampered, and more


Landscape Design

Readers’ Choice: B. Gardening Landscape Design 1450 S. Washington St., 720-320-3949

- By Daliah Singer

b. gardening featured in 5280′s Top of the Town 2016 – Read the rest of the article here

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Edible Arrangements

This spring, try a potager garden and create your own fruitful oasis.

To many Denverites, the French word “potager” evokes the popular farm-to-table Capitol Hill restaurant of the same name. But to Denver landscaping team Alissa Shanley and Chris Silkwood, the traditional “kitchen garden” signifies a balancing act of form and function. EMR_5187Happily for one Country Club homeowner and her 2,200-square-foot plot, the duo behind B. Gardening Landscape Design is uniquely suited for the task of mixing flowers and vegetables: Founder Shanley specializes in flowers; Silkwood is an edibles master. Here’s a tour of the garden.

1. For summer-long color, mix in hardy annuals—such as geraniums, dahlias, zinnias, and salvia.

2. Showcase vegetables that have sculptural properties, like cabbages and gourds. Beets and Swiss chard do double duty with gorgeous foliage.

3. Keep things organized with a geometric structure. B. Gardening used breeze (finely crushed granite) edged with flagstone for the EMR_5218garden’s  pathways and planted lettuce in neat stripes.

4. Put tall plants in the back or in spots where they’ll shade a path (not smaller plants).

5. Use vertical space for veggies like cucumbers, beans, and snap peas, and add color with a tropical bloom like a mandevilla vine.

» Stick with a simple color palette. Shanley’s favorites: warm hues, such as reds, oranges, and hot pink; for a cool combination, purples and yellows; or the classic all white.


Soil Tips

• Amend Colorado’s thick clay—which can hold too much water—with locally made B.O.S.S. Compost.

• Choose an all-purpose organic fertilizer (Silkwood suggests FoxFarm’s Happy Frog line), and use it once a week on flowers and vegetables.

- By Jessica Larusso

b. gardening featured in March 2014 issue of 5280 Home

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Curb Appeal 101

A Platt Park bungalow’s porch and side yard get a facelift; here’s how to do it at home.

As yards go, this one in Platt Park barely deserved the name—at least, not as far as homebuyers Caroline and Sean McKibben were concerned. When the couple and their dog, Maple, moved into the bungalow in 2013, the front yard was a plot of red mulch, dull concrete, and gray rocks with not a  blade of grass to be seen. “We knew when we purchased the home that the yard was going to be a major project,” Caroline says, “but we were excited to personalize it. We’ve had fun with the small touches.”

Many of those details are the handiwork of Alissa Shanley and Chris Silkwood of Denver’s B. Gardening Landscape Design. The McKibbens hired the firm to transform their outdoor space into a welcoming introduction to the home’s exterior, which also received some simple but impactful renovations.

The challenge, says Shanley, was blending the couple’s individual tastes. Caroline, who hails from Vermont, wanted something traditional rstumpf_7218and pretty; Sean, a Colorado native, prefers a more contemporary aesthetic. “We needed clean lines, but not too modern,” Shanley says. “Something to fit the house.”  So she planted a right-angle border garden around the porch and anchored it with soft hydrangeas.  Complemented by a colorful window planter box and a strategically designed side yard, the effect is charming and timeless—and keeps all the McKibbens (including Maple) happy.

Side Yard Tips

Three things to consider when tackling your own side yard:

The View

In many historic bungalows, the living room windows look out onto side yards. Instead of staring at a blank fence, plant tall, narrow trees—such as Chanticleer pear trees—for a little scenery.

The Sun

Even though they’re narrow, side yards receive drastically varying levels of sunlight. Here, B. Gardening opted for an asymmetrical design: blue oat grass and black Mexican beach pebbles for the sun-baked side and a lusher landscape of green mountain boxwoods, Annabelle hydrangeas, and Japanese forest grass on the shadier portion.

The Flow

This space connects the front to the back, meaning it’s bound to be used as a walkway—so set it up like one from the get-go. Here, the square steppers (Pennsylvania blue flagstone) are set in an aggregate of gray breeze and granite.

Create a Border Garden

B. Gardening’s top tips for planting a low-maintenance border garden around your front porch.

Use good mulch. Shanley recommends Soil Pep (try a garden center), which is made with composted bark products, retains moisture, and acts as a soil conditioner. Design note: Avoid red mulch. “It competes with everything,” Shanley says. “Your mulch should be neutral—a background to everything that is beautiful.”

 Keep it simple. Pick two or three plants for the space and repeat them (here, Shanley used hydrangeas rstumpf_7132  and boxwoods, which add height). Too many types of plants in a small garden can look messy.

 Study the light. Some plants won’t make it in the sun (and others won’t thrive without it). Never plant      hydrangeas where they’ll catch full afternoon rays; they work here because the McKibbens’ garden is    shaded by a large tree.

 Install an irrigation system. “It’s the best way to be responsible, water-wise,” Shanley says. Feeling    tech-savvy? Sean used Denver-based Rachio’s Iro sprinkler controller, which responds to current and  historical weather data, to connect the system to his smartphone.

 Fill Your Planters

 So you have a classic window planter—but what do you fill it with? “I like to use things that trail a little bit  so they drape over the side, but not so much that they grow down the front of the house,” Shanley says. For  the McKibbens, she chose calibrachoa, which blooms all summer as long as you feed and water. The porch’s hanging planters feature petunias and fuchsia flowers.

b. gardening featured in June 2015 issue of 5280 Home

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Game of Thorns

Don’t get stuck with the wrong rose!

It’s easy to get stuck in the idea that the common bouquet of a dozen red roses is the only type out there. Lo and behold there are multitudes of roses that vary in size, shape, ease of care, etc. If roses are something you’re thinking about adding to your garden, it’s important that you choose the right type so you don’t get stuck fighting an uphill battle.

Before you get started on planting your rows of roses, it’s important to note that virtually all roses need at least four hours of direct sunlight every day. If you’re landscaping your yard in Denver where we’re located that might not be too much of a problem. However, if that’s not something your property can offer, then it’s probably time to consider other options.roses

Other questions you might want to ask yourself: What do I want to get out of my roses? Are you looking for something fragrant? Something that will climb? Ground cover? Making a list of specific features you want your roses to have can help narrow down your search.

How much time are you willing to dedicate to your roses? There are lower maintenance rose options if you don’t want to pay a landscaper or gardener to come tend to them regularly. As always if you’re in the Denver area and have any questions regarding your landscape design feel free to give us at B. Gardening a call! We’ll work with your needs and budget to make sure you get the garden you’ve always wanted.

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September 2012 issue of 5280 Home.

b.gardening featured in the September 2012 issue of 5280 Home.

b.gardening featured in the September 2012 issue of 5280 Home.

Posted in News and Blog

June 2008 issue of Denver’s 5280 magazine.

b.gardening featured in the June 2008 issue of Denver's 5280 magazine.

b.gardening featured in the June 2008 issue of Denver’s 5280 magazine.

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Volume 5 issue of Luxe magazine.

b.gardening featured in the Volume 5 issue of Luxe magazine.

b.gardening featured in the Volume 5 issue of Luxe magazine.

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June 2007 issue of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles magazine.

b.gardening featured in the June 2007 issue of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles magazine.

b.gardening featured in the June 2007 issue of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles magazine.

Posted in News and Blog