Residential Gardens

Charlie Mountain Ranch

Old Snowmass, Colorado

Grounded by restraint and authenticity, a Colorado ranch celebrates western land stewardship

Like many agricultural and ranch lands in the American West whose fate is tied to adequate water and constant upkeep, Charlie Mountain Ranch was a neglected property populated with ad hoc improvements, debris, noxious weeds and barren soils. Despite its unsightly appearance and unproductive landscape, remnants of its ranching heritage remained, including a century-old barn. Intrigued by the property’s conservation potential, the landowners set a course to rehabilitate and integrate the historic structure into a family homestead that reflects the beauty and history of its surroundings.

From the beginning, restraint—in design, development and construction—was key to success in this high-elevation, arid montane meadow and shrubland environment. As such, the design introduces a collection of understated, rustic structures and landscape interventions, each sited sensitively to assume a reciprocal relationship to the context. To improve wildlife forage and cover, dense oak stands were selectively thinned while supplemental plantings enriched woodland, meadow and riparian ecosystems. Unified by a curated palette of stone, the transformation reestablishes the character and values of this once-neglected site.

Awards

  • 2018 ASLA Colorado, Honor Award & Land Stewardship Designation

Collaborators

Pearson Design Group, KL&A, North Fork Builders, Landscape Workshop

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