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.

“Charlie Mountain Ranch benefits from a long-term, holistic development plan that establishes guiding principles for land management in keeping with the owners’ goals of preserving this ecologically diverse landscape. The landscape architect achieved a replacement of more than 100,000 square feet of disturbed lands with restored native oak-mountain shrublands along an existing creek, instilling a renewed sense of land stewardship that will ensure future preservation of these habitats.” – National ASLA Professional Awards Jury

Services Provided: Site Analysis, Master Planning, Zoning & Land Use Approvals, Site Planning, Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Permitting, Bidding/Negotiations, Construction Observation, Grading & Drainage Plans, Landscape Architecture, Lighting Design


  • Honor Award for Residential Design, ASLA National
  • Regional Award for Landscape Architecture, LUXE Residential Excellence in Design
  • Honor Award for Residential Design, ASLA Colorado
  • Land Stewardship Award, ASLA Colorado


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