Take a drive down West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood and it’s hard to miss the collection of retro neon diner and motel signs illuminating the road.
But, have you ever noticed the aesthetically pleasing median strip? We have!
Following the drought of 2002, the city of Lakewood parks department evaluated the condition of more than 1.3 million square feet of landscaped medians. Many of the medians had overgrown plants and inefficient spray irrigation systems, more than 25 years old.
This led to a trial run of using drip irrigation systems and xeric plants, including native and adapted plants, in 2004. And, Lakewood hasn’t looked back. The city has upgraded nearly 8 miles of landscaped medians to eye-catching and efficient low-water landscapes, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in water use.
And, they are not done yet. The work has been done in stages along West Colfax Avenue with the goal of upgrading the entire corridor over the next couple of years, making this strip the poster child for medians throughout the city, state and region.
Follow the approach used by the city of Lakewood to become efficient in your own yard as well:
- Identify areas where grass isn’t necessary or beneficial, and plan for a more efficient landscape alternative.
- There are many options to help ensure this section of your landscape remains stunning. Check out our Transforming Landscape series for inspiration and ideas.
- These transformations don’t have to take place overnight. Just like the improvements along Colfax, upgrading section-by-section is a wonderful strategy and will make the renovation more practical.
By following Lakewood’s lead, you too can have a colorful landscape — without needing to install retro neon signs.
Learn more about the water-saving practices used by the city of Lakewood in their video, Water Wise Gardening Tips: