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Native Edge Landscaping

Live Your Best Life Outside

Article by Tony Firestine

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Having the luxury of living in such beautiful surroundings in Colorado has its perks. Colorado residents can enjoy thriving outdoor public parks and open spaces while also integrating that same majestic and serene beauty into their own homes with the right landscaping plan. Native Edge Landscapes out of Boulder has been gratefully serving their community with landscape architecture, construction, and maintenance plans for 22 years and now additionally focuses on organic lawn and plant health care, as well as other eco-friendly and sustainable offerings in their service ecosystem.

“We exist to help individuals, families, and communities live their best lives outside,” says Tom Sunderland, owner/operator of Native Edge Landscapes. “This means creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor gathering spaces that not only draw people to enjoy more time outdoors with friends and loved ones, but also are safe, healthy and sustainable.” 

When it comes to lawns and planting areas, a lot comes down to soil health. Healthy soils are living soils, full of biology, and they have countless benefits such as less weed pressure, providing more nutrients for lawns and plants and holding and retaining moisture better which lowers water use.  By eliminating the need for synthetic chemicals, Native Edge Landscapes’ programs help keep water clean, people safe and landscapes bee and pollinator friendly.

“There is a perception by some that organic practices don't work well enough when it comes to controlling weeds and maintaining beautiful lawns,” Tom says. “With the proper time and investment, an organic approach works wonderfully. We are building a living, biology-filled soil system, often from depleted, dead soils. It can take a bit of time and effort, but the benefits are huge.” 

Native Edge Landscapes’ lawn care process includes organic fertilizers, aerations, compost topdressing, overseeding and compost tea applications. When converting to organic from synthetic, a more robust treatment program on the front end is best to begin supercharging the soils with biological activity. As healthy biological activity increases, fertilizer and herbicide treatments can decrease, making organic lawn care easier and less costly as time passes. Periodic in-house soil testing and analysis help keep an eye on evolving soil health and help tailor service plans to address specific conditions.

“Although organic practices have been around for quite some time, and the products we use are very safe and eco-friendly, managing perceptions and educating the public remains challenging,” says Tom.  "There is an understandable fear of toxic chemicals out there, and a general mistrust of anyone spraying liquids from a tank or backpack, even if it is labeled organic. It's not uncommon for people to approach our technicians with a palpably aggressive or angry tone. However, once we are given the opportunity to educate them about our approach and the products we are using, apologies and enthusiastic endorsements are what typically comes next.”  Don’t panic! It’s organic! is a recent motto Native Edge Landscapes has adopted.

Creating and maintaining defensible space mitigates the possibility of being affected by wildfires. When properly maintained, defensible space acts as a barrier to slow or halt the progress of a wildfire. From the clearing of debris in Zone 1 (0-5 feet from your home) to cutting back ladder fuels from the base of trees and keeping branches pruned up to 6 feet above the ground in Zone 3 (30-100 feet from your home), Native Edges Landscapes can help you protect what matters most in the time of an unfortunate wildfire event.

Native restoration and invasive species mitigation are crucial to homeowners that have a significant amount of natural area on their land. If aggressive and invasive weeds aren’t managed properly in natural areas, they may push out more desirable plants and reduce both the health and esthetic of the natural beauty of your landscape. Through proper restoration planning and periodic evaluations, Native Edge Landscapes can ensure that your natural areas are thriving and contributing to the overall esthetic of your environment.

The company's local model and talented staff have a commitment to being green in an industry that relies on curating the environment. Its approach to organic lawn and plant health care focuses on the overall health of your home’s entire outdoor space. Improving the core health of the ecosystem and treating weeds, pests and disease as symptoms allow for placing biology at the forefront and improving the overall longevity of trees, shrubs, lawns and natural spaces. The benefits of organic plant health care are several, including fortifying conditions to increase water efficiency, drought tolerance and overall safe environments for families, pets, and wildlife.