Outstanding Habitat Hero Residential Gardens - Part II

Last week we featured 7 outstanding residential Habitat Hero gardens and today we follow up with our remaining 8.  These outstanding Habitat Heroes took our guiding principles to the next level and created some residential landscapes that are truly awe-inspiring.  Enjoy!


“‘Plant it and they will come” - birds of all shapes and sizes, mammals including raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, coyotes and a plethora of insects like butterflies and moths have called this garden home!

You read the location correctly…this wildscape is located in Denver, CO and truly a lifeline for pollinators, birds and other wildlife among all the surrounding hardscapes.  What makes this garden special is the diversity of plant species and no need for supplemental water to keep this garden looking lush.  18 years ago, 5,000 square feet of bluegrass lawn was ripped up and replaced with a variety of 10,000 trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and bulbs!


“Developing the gardens and pond has been deeply satisfying and, as with most gardens, is a continual work in progress.” - Griffin

This couple has a lifelong passion for gardening for wildlife – especially for birds.  Enjoying all the wildlife that this garden attracts is best seen from their strategically placed sunroom, or more aptly named ‘observation deck.’  Providing nectar-rich plants like agastache, gilia, monarda, zauschneria and penstemons draws in the hummingbirds and the seed bearing plants of Echinacea and rudbeckia draw in the goldfinches, siskins and juncos.

Over the years the Griffin’s have documented 166 species of birds in their yard and were even lucky enough to have this family of Great Horned Owls.


This is a stunning example showing how gardens can create landscapes that are beautiful while providing benefits for wildlife, and sanctuary for humans too!  Boley’s botanical zoo is where all wild friends from inch long swallow tail caterpillars, to flying blue-eyed darner dragonfly’s, nesting house wrens and Cooper’s hawks to even the occasional red fox drinking from a bird bath call home!  Her background as a graphic designer and degrees in both botany and zoology, coupled with her enthusiasm to learn more and to get some physical exercise are her driving forces in creating a truly outstanding residential Habitat Hero garden!

A stunning flowering rock garden in Boley’s front yard.

You never know what wild friends you might share your space with, like this newly born mule deer calf!


8,700 feet, short growing season and intense winds - Heern never thought in her wildest dreams that she would be able to attract butterflies and other insect pollinators.

The property in 2009 was a 4-acre dry, barren clearing; nothing but weeds, rocks, dust (and elk)!

After installing a fence around a manageable piece of the property, they started planting and installing various water features, nesting boxes and bird feeders.  She completed the Colorado State University Master Gardener program and learned that using native plants, especially xeric selections were her best options for creating a successful garden as they have evolved with our harsh climate.  The garden has survived and thrived, in what she calls ‘combat gardening’ and her personal transformation was as great as the landscape.  She now has nesting swallows and both mountain and eastern bluebirds, and a garden full of insect pollinators, birds, snakes, lizards and even her beloved swallowtail butterflies!


Every garden is special, especially after spending so much time and effort in creating something that uniquely reflects your personality and taste.  Gardens provide joy throughout the year especially when you see that your plantings attract so much more wildlife than you may have first imagined!  Lauren Springer Ogden designed this garden which mimics the surrounding landscape and blends nicely into a prairie meadow.  After the design was complete, the Scripters planted 3,300 plants over 2 growing seasons with their own hands and with a little help from a tractor and backhoe.  Their prairie meadow consists of 13 various species of grasses including; little bluestem, switch grass and tufted hair grass.  Wildflowers requiring full sun and a little extra moisture include yarrow, pussytoes, columbines, bee balm, and pasque flowers.


What started out as learning about water conservation through xeriscape landscaping turned into the realization for Miller that these native xeric plants are also food for wildlife, attracting more birds and wildlife than he could have ever imagined!  This created a new dimension to his planning and garden design efforts. The entire Miller family now enjoys nesting barn swallows, monarch butterflies and even bees that visit the hand-crafted bee block houses that were installed with help of the CU Boulder Bees Needs program.

Miller’s front yard wildscape on its third growing season.

Sunset hyssops are hummingbird magnets – they weren’t even in the ground yet when a hummingbird came to fuel up on some nectar!


The Kortes are active members of the Grand Valley Audubon Society and avid birders - so creating a garden that attracts hummingbirds to watch during their morning coffee is a gift!  Their residential home in Grand Junction has a cottage-style garden filled with a diversity of textures, bloom times, color and food sources while their 20 acre property in Collbran is a great example of a naturalistic garden.  Birds and wildlife are not picky about garden “style” – it’s the food, water and shelter that they are attracted to.  The style is left up to you!

Out with the weeds and in with native plants! View of penstemon field from the Collbran cabin which was once overgrown with thistle, houndstounge and knapweed.

The backyard of Korte’s residential home in Grand Junction was planted with the ‘textures and colors’ pre-planned garden from High Country Garden 10 years ago!

One of many cedar waxwings that flock to his yard to feast on berries from a hawthorn tree.

Stay tuned for more Habitat Hero designated gardens as we showcase some public and schoolyard gardens next!

How you can help, right now