When planning out your landscape architecture in Denver, there are a lot of things to consider. From the smallest details to your tallest trees, you’ve got to have a careful eye and steady hand to ensure your landscape looks as you planned. One of the most important features is the trees that you’ll include throughout your outdoor space. Large and eye-catching, the right trees can make all the difference in your Colorado landscape.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at popular native trees that will be sure to look stunning in your Colorado landscape design. Whether opting for a towering Colorado Blue Spruce or smaller Gambel Oak throughout your space, speak with an expert to know which trees will not just survive, but thrive, in your unique climate.
Which Native Trees Should I Use for My Colorado Landscape?
1. Ponderosa Pine: as one of the most widespread trees throughout the West, the Ponderosa Pine is a classic in many Colorado landscapes. Notable by their rust-colored bark, these big pines can grow up to 160 feet. Natively, they’re found in elevations ranging from 6,200 to 9,500 feet. Since they grow so big, you want to make sure you have adequate space for these pines.
2. Colorado Blue Spruce: we can’t leave out the Colorado state tree on this list. Found throughout the state, the Blue Spruce is your classic Christmas tree vibe with beautiful needles giving off a blueish hue (thus the name). They can also grow rather tall as some Blue Spruce reach nearly 120 feet high. Common throughout the foothills and the higher country, Blue Spruce do well in clumps or alone and can truly add a unique touch to your outdoor space.
3. Gambel Oak: found throughout most of the state, Gambel Oak is a great addition to your landscape if you’re looking for something a bit shorter. One of our few native oaks out here, the Gambel Oak often grows more like a shrub, spreading more horizontally than growing vertically. Also called “scrub oak,” this tree can be found throughout the plains and sides of the foothills. They also offer some amazing colors come the fall season as they can enhance your space with red, orange, and yellow.
4. Bristlecone Pines: if you want a hardy tree that can really stick around in some tough weather, then you should consider adding some Bristlecone Pines. With twisted trunks and tough bark, these pines are easily recognizable and can survive at some of the highest elevations. Found mostly throughout the Montane and subalpine zones, Bristlecone pines can add a unique flair to your outdoor space. And since they’re actually some of the longest living organisms on the planets, in the right conditions, they’ll be sure to stick around for a while.
5. Rocky Mountain Juniper: another smaller option that can even work as more of a shrub, the Rocky Mountain Juniper is one of the three native juniper trees in Colorado. These coniferous trees have scale-like evergreen needles that make them stand out from the rest of your pines and junipers. Common throughout the state and especially in the southern parts, Rocky Mountain Juniper tends to grow wide but can also reach heights of 50 feet tall. They also have distinctive clusters of blueberries that can add some color to your overall landscape design.
6. Cottonwoods: the mighty giants of the plains, cottonwoods (whether narrowleaf or plains) can be found by water sources throughout our state. Plains cottonwoods will usually be found lower in elevation between 3,500 to 6,500 feet. These can be found throughout the plains, foothills, and especially in creek beds. Narrowleaf cottonwoods, on the other hand, can reach up to elevations around 8,000. Looking out across an open plain, you can usually tell where there’s a water source like a creek based on where you see these mighty giants growing. Your narrowleaf variety may only get up to around 60 feet tall, but plains cottonwoods on the other hand can really grow. They can be found reaching heights around 190 feet. Mix some of these tall trees with smaller bushes or shrubs for a more dynamic and unique look across your outdoor space.
7. Quaking Aspen: every fall throughout our lovely Colorado, the mountains literally burst into bright shades of gold and orange. This beautiful sight to behold is due mostly to the quaking aspen trees that are commonly found throughout the American West. In fact, they’re one of the most widespread trees in North America. While the beautiful changing leaves in autumn get a lot of love, quaking aspen are also loved for their specific black and white bark. This can make them perfect for adding to a winter landscape. As deciduous trees native to our state, they can also add diversity to your Colorado landscape.
Conclusion – Which Native Trees Should I Use for My Colorado Landscape?
There’s a lot that goes into an eye-catching Colorado landscape design that will be the envy of all your neighbors done by lifescapecolorado.com. While a garden, flowers, and other plants are all important considerations to manage, don’t forget to include some trees to “spruce” up your outdoor space. Luckily, in Colorado, there are quite a few native trees that are absolutely stunning and can do well in a variety of environments and elevations.
Looking for some native trees for your space? Consider incorporating Douglas Fir, Gambel Oak, Rocky Mountain Juniper, or even some large Blue Spruce. Mixing and matching your trees can be a great way to create a diverse and natural landscape. And one last note: be cautious with Aspen. While they truly look amazing, they tend to have problems doing well at lower elevation and their unique sucker system for growing new roots can make them difficult to manage in small spaces. Whichever native trees you go with, you’re sure to add a majestic and eye-catching element to your landscape design.