May require submittal of Design Review Request.
Landscaping is the construction or modification of any natural exterior surface element of a property including grading, drainage, plants, flowers, trees, irrigation, paths, and certain site features.
For newly constructed properties, all landscaping must be completed by the owner within six (6) months of occupancy, unless occupancy occurs between September and December, in which case landscaping must be completed by June 30 of the following year.
The following landscape elements require Committee approval:
- Any landscaping projects for newly constructed properties not already approved by the Lowry Design Review Committee (LDRC).
- Major landscaping modification projects UNLESS the landscaping modification is one of the pre-approved Xeriscaping plans provided in these Design Guidelines (see Xeriscaping).
- Removal, planting, or replacing any tree in the front, back, or side yard requires the submission of a Design Review Request Form. Removal, planting, or replacing any tree in the tree lawn requires approval from the City of Denver Forestry Division (see Tree Lawn Modifications).
- Installation of one or more gardens (see Gardens)
- Drainage modifications
- Grading modifications
- Retaining walls
- Water features (ponds, fountains, etc)
- Sculptures and Yard Ornaments
Removal, planting, or replacing trees has its own guidelines; please see the Trees section of this document for more information.
All lots shall have properly maintained grass OR other acceptable plantings according to these Design Guidelines. Stone or other non-plant ground covers (i.e., mulch) may be used as an accessory only (not the primary ground cover). All landscaped areas shall be irrigated with an automatic sprinkler system with sprinkler heads appropriate for the area to be covered. Artificial grass may be used in backyards only and must be the color of natural grass. All rocks used in landscaping shall be material native to Colorado. Vegetable gardens are permitted in front, back, and/or side yards – see Gardens and Xeriscaping for more information.
A “tree lawn,” also known as “right-of-way” or “ROW,” is the area between a sidewalk and the curb. Per City of Denver ordinance, any tree lawn area adjacent to an owner’s property is the responsibility of that owner to maintain and changes to the tree lawn should adhere to City of Denver guidelines (see City Standards for Public ROW).
Planting concepts, plant varieties, and irrigation techniques that minimize water consumption (xeriscape) are encouraged. Landscaping with drought-tolerant plantings should be aesthetically pleasing and harmonious to the neighborhood. Please see the Xeriscaping section in these Design Guidelines for more information.
Grading of yards will be done to direct drainage away from the structure, toward either the front or rear property lines. Ponding of runoff should be avoided. Directing drainage onto the adjacent property, sidewalks, or walkways is not permitted. Grades should generally not exceed a 3:1 slope (run: rise).
Water features, such as ponds, fountains, and statuary, are permitted but must be approved by the Committee. Such features must conform to and harmonize with the surrounding landscape and not create an unreasonable noise level for adjacent property owners.
Other landscaping features must adhere to the following:
Birdbaths: Birdbaths will not exceed 6 feet in height and are not permitted in the front yard.
Birdhouses and Birdfeeders: Birdhouses and birdfeeders shall not exceed 1 foot but 2 feet and may only be installed in the backyard. They cannot be installed on lot line fences and shall not be greater than 10 feet high.
Chimineas and Portable Firepits: LCMA currently defers to City of Denver code: click here, and restrictions concerning the use of chimineas and portable firepits. Chimineas and portable firepits are permitted only in the rear lot and on the ground floor and must not create a public nuisance.
Clotheslines: Clotheslines shall be retractable and must be retracted when not in use. Clotheslines shall be placed in the backyard and no more than 6 feet high at its highest point. Clotheslines shall be kept in good repair and tidy in appearance. Clothes placed on the clotheslines shall not remain on the line for more than a 24-hour period.
General Height Restriction for Landscape Features: Unless provided otherwise in these Design Guidelines, no improvement structure, object, or feature shall be placed in any yard that exceeds a height of 10 feet, measured from grade, without an approved Variance.
Yards will be properly maintained, mowed and trimmed, and kept in an attractive and healthy condition. Turf and other vegetative areas will be kept free of weeds. Hardscape areas, including rock and mulch beds, must be free of weeds and grass. Owners have the duty to provide for regular weeding, pruning, and maintenance of all plantings, including trees. Shrubs should be pruned and thinned to promote shrub health, avoid looking overgrown, and maintain the overall landscape aesthetic. Vegetation and ground cover will not encroach on sidewalks, walkways, driveways, alleys, streets, fences, and neighboring properties. Diseased or dead plant materials and trees shall be removed, and dead trees will be replaced in a reasonable timeframe (30 days unless during winter). Yards shall be kept free of trash, construction materials, and unsightly storage – this includes front, side, and back yards, areas enclosed by fencing, and areas adjacent to rear-lot fencing, garages, and alleys. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the space between rear-lot fences and alleys. Driveways, setbacks, adjacent sidewalks, and “teardrops,” including areas landscaped with river rock on either side of a home, garage, and/or driveway, will be kept weed and grass-free and well-maintained.
All landscaping improvements, such as irrigation systems, retaining walls, edging, planters, and plant materials, shall be maintained in good condition.
Evaluation Criteria for landscaping include, but are not limited to:
- Materials and installation methods must be appropriate;
- Integrates well with existing landscaping;
- Reasonably conforms and harmonizes with surroundings.