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Hardscape Solutions: Royalty in the Rockies

June 18, 2020 -  By

Company: Lifescape Colorado
Location: Denver

German aristocrat Baron Walter von Richthofen built Richthofen Castle in 1887. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dan DeGrush, landscape architect for Lifescape Colorado, was in charge of helping restore the landscaping of the castle with the assistance of historical photos found by the homeowner.

DeGrush’s designs, which included bluestone detail and gravel, raised the back courtyard by 4 feet to facilitate better indoor-outdoor flow. Reclaimed material used in the back courtyard was from a salvage yard. DeGrush estimates the bricks date back to the 1930s or 1940s.

Lifescape Colorado used old curbs from city streets to construct the cobblestone driveway apron. “The castle is all stone. In keeping with that, we wanted to use materials that felt like they had been there the whole time,” DeGrush says.

The team relocated and restored a water fountain, installed a new irrigation system and added 40-plus Kichler Lighting fixtures, including uplights, accent lighting, wall washes and path lighting to highlight the architecture and 100-year-old trees. “Those become amazing opportunities to show off the scale and texture of the stone of the house,” DeGrush says.

This project earned Lifescape Colorado a Gold Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Award of Excellence program.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Lifescape Colorado facilitated the restoration of the 2.5-acre site surrounding historic castle built in 1887. Severely neglected for many years, the homeowner sought a restoration that stayed true to the original landscape design with extensive updating for modern-day use.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Richthofen Castle’s main entry before renovation.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Hand-selected reclaimed bricks create a cobblestone feel from the street entrance approach to the new driveway.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

At the front door, rich bluestone tiles were set in a diagonal pattern within a border of reclaimed antique bricks to feel like they are original to the home.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

A challenge to the project was creating a landscape that looked original. Lifescape Colorado worked around existing trees and opted for mature low-maintenance plants and trees to provide walls, screens and canopies needed to create outdoor rooms.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

A goal of the project was to create to give it a European garden look. Design elements include this formal English knot garden for added charm.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Richthofen Castle’s side yard before renovation.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

The homeowners wanted a large side yard for entertaining large groups, with a circular path leading to other outdoor living areas.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

To encourage meandering around the property, details include the attention to the scale of the paths and varying textures of landscape and hardscape.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

This before photo shows the raised patios before renovation.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

New hardscape patterns and flowering plants in the raised, long-side patios that wrap around a large peninsula section of the home offer an additional protected space to enjoy views to the rest of the property.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

The back patio of the castle before renovation.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

With six sets of arched double doors, the back courtyard off the main interior gathering room of the home was designed to be the focus for indoor/outdoor entertaining. The back courtyard off the main interior gathering room with six sets of arched double doors is the focus for outdoor/indoor entertaining.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Redbud trees in a new accent area in the back courtyard provide a canopy effect and additional shade to make the space comfortable.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

The goal of the project was to undo years of neglect and create a sustainable future for the landscape surrounding the home. The new owners wanted to prevent the grounds from falling into disrepair in future generations through proper planning.

Richthofen Castle (Photo: Lifescape Colorado)

Photo: Lifescape Colorado

Historic lighting and new lighting blend throughout the castle to highlight the special points of interest.

Christina Herrick

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