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Xeriscape contest winners enjoy cutting water bills

Master gardeners of Castle Pines contest judges (left to righ): Harriette Einolf, 11-year Forest Park resident, 7-year master gardener; Ellie Landry, 15-year Royal Hill resident, 6-year master gardener; Cathy Robinson, 15-year Glen Oaks resident, 3-year master gardener; Margaret Hayward, 1-year Hidden Pointe resident, 10-year master gardener; Carol Grant, 17-year Retreat resident, 2-year master gardener; and Judy Loser, 6-year Noble Ridge resident, 5-year master gardener. (Photo courtesy of CPNMD)

Article and photos by Steve Baska; courtesy photos

Winners of Castle Pines North Metropolitan District’s (CPNMD) first xeriscape contest say they have enjoyed helping the environment and cutting their water bills.

CPNMD held its first contest this year to encourage Castle Pines residents to conserve water, to reduce outdoor irrigation and monthly water bills, and to encourage development of beautiful waterwise landscapes, said Ken Smith, director of communications for the district.

According to CPNMD Director Dwight Zemp, “I’m pleased that our first contest resulted in a reduction of 18,560 square feet of irrigated turf. In addition, we intend to complete a 12,000-square-foot sod removal and xeriscape project located on the northeast corner of Monarch Boulevard and Serena Avenue. Reducing demand for outdoor irrigation water is, and will continue to be a cornerstone of this metropolitan district’s water conservation efforts.”

Master Gardener Harriette Einolf said, “We are all genuinely impressed with the time and effort residents invested in xeriscaping and waterwise landscaping. Residents and homeowner’s associations are beginning to use the knowledge gleaned from our xeriscape lecture series to integrate waterwise plant choices into yards and HOA common areas.”

The contest had three categories, with winners in each. First place in the residential categories (amateur and professional) each won a $500 credit on their water bills. Second place in those categories each won a $250 credit on their water bills. Three honorable mentions each won $50 on their water bills. In the homeowner association category, first place won a $1,000 credit on its water bill, second place won a $500 credit, and three honorable mentions each won a $100 credit.

Homeowner/Resident Amateur Category:

Al and Denise Quartararo, 278 Hardwick Court: The Quartararos have transformed their yard by themselves during the past few years. They reduced their grassy area from 8,500 square feet to 2,900 square feet, which reduced their monthly water usage from 50,000 gallons to about 13,000 gallons. Al designed the areas to improve rainwater drainage by strategic placement of rock and mulch. A variety of new plantings include Red Hot Pokers that will grow to several feet tall. “We attended the xeriscape classes and learned a lot,” he said. Denise added “We also read books to learn how to do plantings to avoid hail damage.”

Al and Denise Quartararo stand beside a backyard section of their xeriscape work. They won the amateur category.

Homeowner/Resident Professional Category:

Patrick and Marianne Newell, 7607 Berkshire Lane: The Newells transformed their half-acre front yard recently with work by Skyland Construction. The Newells reduced their grass area by two-thirds, replacing it with large cobblestone in drainage areas, small river rock, mulch, a flat stone walkway, and at least 20 types of plantings, including pinions and Mugo pines. Pat said “We’re enjoying the ease of maintenance and reduction in our water bills already.” Marianne said “Skyland was great to work with.” The Newell’s also credit their son, Connor, 16, with much of the hard work of digging holes for many plantings.

Pat and Marianne Newell, winners in the professional category, stand in front of their xeriscaped front yard.

Homeowner’s Association Category:

Pine Ridge/Villa Carriage HOA: Resident Barb Saenger spearheaded the HOA’s effort to transform a common area where residents pick up mail and other areas near Pine Ridge Trail and Castle Pines Parkway. “We wanted a place where people could stop and chat, read a magazine, or just relax. In winter, the area is used to pile snow that has been plowed from the streets and driveways.” The area included a strip next to a small retaining wall and a slope into open space.

“To take up space we used cobblestone stream beds, a breeze pathway and patio that could withstand freezing and thawing, and native grass that blended into the open space. Two shade trees screen the houses and deer-resistant perennials were used. The company that did the retaining wall did the excavation and construction. Residents have done all the planting, drip lines, and maintenance,” she said.

Barb Saenger sits beside part of the xeriscaped area in the Pine Ridge/Villa Carriage HOA area. (Photo courtesy of CPNMD)

For more information about the contest visit



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