HGTV Dream Homes Past

HGTV Dream Home 2007: Alpine Landscape

Tucked high in the majestic Rocky Mountains, HGTV Dream Home 2007 boasts rugged, low-maintenance landscaping.

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This landscape is about braiding tightly the demands of soil, water, wind and temperature with plants sturdy enough to put up with it all.

A row of rhododendrons? A shady oak? Mounds of lavender, boxwood hedges, a patch of peonies? Forget about it. The ski-in, ski-out Dream Home, which stands between the adjacent Colorado ski resorts Winter Park and Mary Jane, may be paradise for people who live to schuss down the slopes, but it's exceedingly particular about the green stuff dotting its outdoor spaces.

This never will be a manicured landscape demanding constant weeding and pruning and fussing. This is a landscape that is one with its natural surroundings, a yard where you won't need a lawnmower. The basic approach? Pick the right plants, nurture them as they struggle to strength, and then let them grow in a riot of green until the frost cloaks the land.

The plants with the right stuff are native plants.

"If you plant a non-native tree up there, it won't make it," says Saffell. "The landscaping is entirely Xeriscaping."

Most of the year's precipitation falls in the winter in the form of snow that melts late in the spring or early summer. During the height of summer, what little rain falls often arrives in short but explosive storms that can damage leaves and flowers that aren't suited to the climate. So Saffell used shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) as a ground cover. It's tough enough to stand up to whatever summer's tumult throws upon it.

Architect John Dengler tried to preserve as much of the existing, climate-hardy vegetation as possible when he designed the house, and he arranged some of the interior spaces around the outdoor verdure.

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