Resource Central Transforms Local Yards into Power Plants
Garden In A Box xeriscape program starts up March 6, helps Boulder County homeowners rethink landscapes in era of drought. (Photo courtesy: Nate Luebbe/Resource Central).

After an abnormally dry year with much of Colorado in a drought, a local nonprofit is challenging Boulder County homeowners to rethink their grassy landscapes to help conserve water. Local water providers have partnered with Resource Central, a nonprofit based in Boulder, to help families transition to drought-tolerant plants that can reduce outdoor water usage by up to 60 percent.

The nonprofit’s Garden In A Box xeriscape program will be available to the public starting on March 6 with garden kits of up to 30 plants ready to pick up and plant in May. They include plant-by-number maps for easy planting and the gardens are professionally designed and tailored to Colorado soil and dry climate.

“With most of Colorado still battling a drought it’s time to start thinking about whether all that grass is really worth using so much water,” said Neal Lurie, president of Resource Central. “Just because we have a dry climate doesn’t mean you have to have a boring yard. With the right mix of power plants, Garden In A box helps families transition to a yard that is drought-tolerant, bursting with color, and habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.”

According to the US Drought Monitor, about 90 percent of Colorado is in a drought or abnormally dry. While recent snow has helped, the big reservoirs along the Colorado River basin remain at precariously low levels.

Nearly two dozen water utilities partner with the nonprofit on its Garden In A Box program as part of their water conservation efforts including Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, Lyons, Boulder, and Superior. In the past eight years, families have planted more than 500,000 drought-tolerant plants through this program, saving more than 100 million gallons of water.

“Half of a typical family’s water consumption is used just to keep their grass green,” said Nelson Tipton, who manages water conservation for the City of Longmont. “Garden In A Box is a key part of our local conservation efforts, helping to open people’s eyes about their outdoor water use.”

The program has tripled in size during the past five years. One of the largest programs of its kind in the United States, Garden In A Box has helped families in Boulder County and across Colorado transition more than 1.8 million square feet of land to low-water landscaping.

“We’re helping people plant a new perspective,” added Devon Booth, water programs manager for Resource Central. “After decades of urban development, Garden In A Box helps families restore their landscapes with native plants that are born and raised here in the Front Range of Colorado. Conserving water never looked so good.”

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Founded in 1976, Resource Central is an innovative nonprofit dedicated to putting conservation into action. Its programs have helped more than 500,000 families save water, reduce waste, and conserve energy. Learn more at