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Jessi Burg turned her passions into a successful career Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Monday, November 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Jessi Burg began her journey as an entrepreneur after surviving a series of toxic work environments. Convinced that there must be a way to value employees, pay a living wage and be able to work outside, she built her landscaping company, Pears to Perennials, in 2017. “After graduation from college in 2007, most of my jobs were seasonal in nature— summer camps, environmental education and urban farming,” Burg says. “So, when I opened my own landscaping company in 2017, I had a lot of ideas but was unsure about running my business. Eventually, I figured out the answers I needed and grew my business.”

Being a business owner gave Burg a voice, and she began advocating for the trades and seasonal and gig economy workers. She also learned a lot about the frustrations that can come with running a company, and that led to the launch of her second business, Outgrow Your Garage, which provides low-cost classes for business owners looking to scale.

Through Outgrow Your Garage, Burg offers online courses that teach companies how to grow sustainably, all built around the idea that professional development should fit into a professional’s workday. Burg built Outgrow Your Garage around her passion for accessible, affordable learning and inclusivity in the business world, with a mission to reduce inequity and promote strong communities through collaboration.

Designed for early-stage landscapers, Outgrow Your Garage is a culmination of what Burg wished she had known when she started in the industry, plus everything she has learned since. All courses are affordable, easy to access online and offer practical advice that helps businesses create action plans.

“I started as a landscaper, so the classes are built to solve mobile service business problems,” Burg says. “I won’t tell you how to run your business. My goal is to help businesses ask the right questions and build operations processes effectivel

Turning work into love

“I like to say that, at this point, I’m unemployable,” Burg says. “I left that one single office job because I didn’t like it—but I also wasn’t a very good employee. I like to be able to set my own hours and work on projects that interest me. I like to have the freedom to adapt my services to what’s most needed. Being self-employed means I can set up my ideal work environment.”

With Outgrow Your Garage, Burg gets to work directly with other landscape companies instead of running her own, which has given her the time and flexibility to move to the Western Slope and buy a farm.

“Ten years ago, I would never have thought I would be interested in running an online learning company for business owners,” Burg says. “I adore the problem-solving aspects. I know that I cannot fix systematic problems, but I can give tools to help companies grow.

The trades are often overlooked when it comes to business policy and ideas, Burg says. As a non-field worker, she can both advocate for small landscape businesses and also help them grow. “Good operations mean you can hire a field crew, get them set up in the morning and then do your admin work.”

Burg is building out a course-hosting platform to start licensing Outgrow Your Business content so other businesses, nonprofits, schools, libraries and industry groups can access it. “Outgrow Your Garage is an operations company,” Burg says. “A lot of business owners know what they need, but they do not know how to get there. My favorite thing to say about business is that you should aim for different problems. No business is problem-free, but if your problems are changing year to year, you are learning from your mistakes. And that’s how you build a stable business.”

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:


Continue to be part of the solution


Master your numbers to navigate inflations impact


Master your numbers to navigate inflations impact Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Monday, November 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Regrettably, it is all too common for companies to fall behind in the face of inflation because of their failure to regularly review and adjust their rates, negotiate favorable contracts and reassess their strategies during times of economic volatility. Instead of taking a proactive approach to safeguarding their profit margins, many business leaders react only after experiencing a cash flow crisis, when they find themselves teetering on the brink of failure.

As a landscape professional, it is imperative that you recognize the impact of inflation on your financial decision-making. Inflation refers to the gradual rise in prices over time, which erodes the purchasing power of money. It affects various aspects of your operations, from the cost of materials and equipment to labor expenses.

By understanding the influence of inflation, you can strategically plan and account for increasing costs. Incorporating this knowledge into your pricing structures and budgeting processes ensures the ongoing profitability and sustainability of your business in the long term.

Throughout the past few years, I have collaborated with various industry partners to gather data and analyze inflation trends within Colorado’s landscape industry. This involved comparing these trends with the broader U.S. Consumer Price Index, which serves as a measure of core inflation across a range of goods and services, as demonstrated in Exhibits 1 and 2. Notably, Exhibit 3 highlights significant price increases of 8.3 percent in plant materials over the last year, with even steeper increases of 14.8 percent observed in landscape supplies.

Now, envision the potential impact of these rising material costs, coupled with labor expenses, on your bottom line if you fail to adjust your pricing effectively and in real time. On one hand, I have witnessed numerous companies struggle as they find themselves caught between escalating costs and stagnant prices. Conversely, those who proactively adapt their pricing strategies tend to fare well during periods of inflation. You may be wondering about the possibility of not being able to raise prices because of price-sensitive customers, potentially resulting in a loss of business. In such cases, it becomes crucial to identify alternative areas for cost-cutting or focus on improving operational efficiencies to avoid experiencing a squeeze on profits.

Furthermore, it may be worthwhile to revisit your overall business strategy to navigate these challenging economic conditions.

What can you do? Inflation has a direct impact on your bottom line and profitability, with the potential to jeopardize your business. As the prices of goods and services rise, your expenses will also increase, potentially squeezing your profit margins and ultimately affecting your cash flow. By remaining well-informed about inflation and incorporating its effects into your pricing structures and budgeting processes, you can proactively adapt to rising costs and ensure the financial stability of your business.

Here are five key tips to help you combat the detrimental effects of inflation.

1. Keep a watchful eye on inflation and other macroeconomic trends.

2. Regularly review and update your rates.

3. Consider negotiating favorable contracts to safeguard your profitability.

4. Engage in monthly Financial Strategy Review (FSR) meetings.

5. Boost your financial literacy skills.

In the second part of this series, I will delve deeper into these tips and provide insights on how to effectively weather these economic times.

Designscapes Colorado creates beauty for every season Email
Written by Christine Manapace   
Tuesday, November 07, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

As any Green industry professional knows even the most meticulously designed and maintained landscapes are in constant flux. So, imagine the unique challenges and incredible rewards when a landscape company not only completes a stunning design-build project in natural mountain terrain, but then has the opportunity to maintain the property over 15 years. Throughout those years, Designscapes Colorado has evolved the landscape to optimize the Colorado mountain environment and its four seasons, winning 11 awards—most recently, a 2022 Gold Award for Residential Landscape Management from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

Set on 23 acres of forested mountain terrain, the property includes a flowing river and pond. The property owners’ two primary goals when designing the outdoor space were to capitalize on the beauty of the creek and adjacent pond by providing views and access to the water and to create an inspiring setting for entertainment and relaxation. Designscapes Colorado installed a bridge across the river and pulled water from it for irrigation. The wraparound driveway has a central garden that holds a variety of plants and a sprinkling of native aspen trees, which have been planted in various other places around the property. Native plants and materials throughout the landscape complement the beauty of the natural environment. The abundance of wildlife in the area made plant selection crucial to help prevent animals from eating the new garden. The array of blossoms that thrive in each season are carefully selected and layered so that as soon as one plant is done putting on a show, another will come to life. This creates an enduring canvas of colors throughout the year.

Spring bulbs, summer blooms

In early spring, pots are decorated and planted for Easter. Then, as the weather starts to warm up, the landscape explodes with yellows, whites and blues as spring bulbs bloom. The client likes bulbs in the scillia, chionodoxa, and allium varieties, but deer- and rabbit-proof daffodil bulbs are also planted.

Perennials across the property peak during the summer and are paired with various annual flowers. Some perennial varieties used throughout the gardens include catmint little Trudy, strawberry barren, dianthus kahori, moneywort, snow-in-summer, sweet woodruff, lady’s mantle, lilacs, hydrangeas and veronica.

Every year, annual flowers are planted in rustic wood pots to add extra dashes of color during the warmer months. The flower varieties change every summer to give the property a fresh look. Designscapes Colorado also provides general maintenance services including regular mowing to help encourage strong root growth in the bluegrass, edging, fertilizing, weed control, pruning, deadheading and more.

Fall and winter interest

When bright summer colors wind down, Designscapes Colorado revamps the annual flowerpots by adding new flowers to existing summer ones or replacing them with fall flowers that can handle cold weather and frost. In the high-altitude environment, it’s essential to select hardy varieties, such as asters, snaps, pansies and violas, because the climate can change to freezing very quickly. Sometimes Designscapes Colorado adds cabbage and kale to the pots as well.

A similar rejuvenation of the annual pots happens in winter, with evergreen branches, tinsel, pinecones and other festive décor included to give holiday interest. Designscapes Colorado also hangs holiday lights and décor while performing winter maintenance services and planning for spring and summer changes.

One thing that sets this property apart, and helped earn it awards, is how Designscapes Colorado experiments with different plant pairings. Playing around with different combinations over the years has allowed for the utilization of local materials and created unexpected beauty.

Colorado Legislature addresses states water future Email
Written by Lori Tobias   
Monday, November 06, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

It’s too early to know what water-related bills Colorado legislators will take up when the legislative session convenes in January, but a bipartisan, joint committee of 10 House and Senate members has kept the subject alive throughout the summer and fall. The Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee, charged with studying “the conservation, use, development and financing of the water resources of Colorado for the general welfare of its inhabitants,” met to discuss potential bills, visit stream restoration projects and attend the Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference in Steamboat Springs over the summer. 

Bills that make it out of the committee, which started meeting year-round last year, have a good chance of becoming law, says committee vice-chair Rep. Karen McCormick, D-District 11. “This committee has a little more power because it’s a joint committee and we have to have bipartisan support for any bill that gets out of this committee. So, for a bill to get through this committee and out with a two-thirds vote or more means that it’s probably a good idea that’s going to be able to get through the full General Assembly.” Democrats have a historic majority in the legislature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the party has a “slam dunk” with any initiative, McCormick notes. “The larger your majority becomes, the more likely you’re going to have disparate voices within your majority. Some of your biggest support may be from the other party. So, you have to know that it’s important to really work a policy. If you want legacy policy, you need to make sure that all important voices are heard, that you’re willing to amend your bill to make it stand up over time.”

Getting tough on turf

One of the measures the Water Resources Committee may move out this fall was requested by Sen. Dylan Roberts, D-District 8. It would prohibit or limit non-functional turf grass or grass that is strictly for appearances and serves no other function. Several municipalities have started turf replacement programs, while others have adopted varied fee structures to incentivize water-wise landscaping. The City of Aurora already has in place restrictions on the use of non- functional turf grass, McCormick says.  Full story in our Colorado Green magazine.

Water and sales taxes on the docket for 2024 session Email
Written by Stefan Stathopulos, Hicks & Associates   
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

The Colorado General Assembly is gearing up for the 2024 legislative session to convene in January. It has been a busy interim; Hicks & Associates has been monitoring and attending multiple interim committees and rulemakings as well as monitoring other state boards. Interim committees are coming to an end for the year and are drafting legislation for the 2024 Legislative Session. Over the next month, interim committees will vote on whether to move forward with the drafted legislation. Hicks & Associates monitored all interim committees but closely monitored the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force, the Legislative Interim Committee on Ozone Air Quality, Transportation Legislation Review Committee, and the Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee (which, as of this year, is a year-round committee).

Below are some highlights on the interim committees and the drafted legislation.

Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee.

The Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee has drafted 16 bills but will be able to approve only 10 that can move forward with the committee’s endorsement. Bill Draft 6 – Concerning Non-Functional Turwf in New Developments is one we have been engaged on with the sponsors, and we will be part of the stake holding group as this draft moves forward. There are multiple water bills that are being drafted, and we will continue to monitor and stay engaged on them (see “Colorado Legislature works to secure the state’s water future,” page 39).

Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force

The Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force has drafted five bills, including one to address/fix/hold harmless, a bill to address local filing participation and a bill addressing information for vendors on sales and use tax, building permits and lodging tax. ALCC continues to support simplification of the Sales and Use Tax in the state. Water and sales taxes on the docket for 2024 session

Bills passed during the 2023 session

SB23-016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Measures 

Over the last two sessions, ALCC/GreenCO has been working with the General Assembly on this bill, which didn’t make it through the process in 2022 but did this year. SB23-016 had many different components, but the main concern for ALCC/GreenCO was the push for electrifying small engines and lawn equipment. In 2022, the bill was looking to ban gas-powered lawn equipment, but we were able to turn this into a tax-incentive program. This bill went into effect on August 7. Even though we were able to keep the incentive program in the bill, we have seen the gas-powered lawn and garden equipment issue come up at the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC).

The AQCC will have a rulemaking hearing in December on placing new restrictions on the use of handheld and push gas-powered equipment starting in 2025. This follows the executive order that was issued by Gov. Jared Polis in September that bans the use of such equipment at state facilities in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone nonattainment area by June 2025. ALCC/GreenCO are engaged on this issue; please reach out if you would like additional information and would like to be part of the stakeholder process.

SB23-178 Water-Wise Landscaping in HOA Communities

ALCC/GreenCO were engaged with the sponsors and stakeholders as this bill went through the process. It went into effect on August 7. We have continued to see bills like this over the past couple of sessions, including HB1151- Turf Replacement Program, which could come back this year for additional General Fund moneys.

SB23-192 Sunset Pesticide Applicators’ Act

ALCC/GreenCO have been working on this bill for over two years. We were able to work with a large coalition on the passage of this bill with few changes being made from the previous Pesticide Applicators’ Act. Over the interim, we have attended rulemaking/stakeholder meetings, which include the issue of Neonicotinoid Limited Use Designation and changes made to the notification system/rules of the Pesticide Sensitive Registry. The bill went into effect on August 7. Pesticides will continue to be an issue that we will have to work on in the 2024 Legislative Session.

As we get closer to the 2024 Legislative Session, we ask that all ALCC/GreenCO members stay engaged. The more engagement we have from members, the better outcomes we will have at the legislature.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:

Women in Green meets in Colorado Springs

ClimateScaping saves precious water


Women in Green meets in Colorado Springs Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

About 35 women gathered to network, share experiences and build relationships during Women in Green’s third networking event at Fisk Lawnscapes in Colorado Springs in September. This event marked a significant step forward for Women in Green, an ALCC committee founded earlier this year. The pleasant fall weather and the welcoming atmosphere of the Fisk Lawnscapes facility contributed to a relaxed and inviting environment, enabling authentic networking to flourish. Attendees had the chance to enjoy lunch, connect, share experiences and build valuable professional relationships.

“There were some familiar faces and new attendees as well, which is incredibly exciting to me,” says WIG committee member Charlene Farley Chacon, residential team manager at Designscapes Colorado.

“The underlying comment was gratitude for bringing women together to connect. There was great industry/vendor partner support and participation, which is awesome to see.”

This gathering was made possible through the sponsorship of ALCC and Fisk Lawnscapes. Women in Green expects to hold another networking event in late December or early January and is making plans to participate in school mentorship opportunities.

To learn more about Women in Green, contact [email protected].

ClimateScaping saves precious water Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Monday, October 23, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

ClimateScaping saves precious water, one yard— and mind—at a time

by Robyn Lawrence

Tara O’Brien has a big vision. She wants to help Coloradans conserve 90 million gallons of water through xeriscaping and, at the same time, help landscape companies make more money by working together. And with her new company, Boulder-based ClimateScaping, she has the platform to make both things happen. O’Brien, an adjunct professor who teaches entrepreneurship and global business at the University of Colorado Boulder, realized just how much water Colorado lawns guzzle after experimenting on her own 2,300-square-foot yard in Longmont. In the process of replacing her yard’s Kentucky bluegrass with xeriscaping three years ago, she stopped watering and has saved approximately 65,000 gallons every summer.

“There are so many houses that are similar to mine, and I think in the next couple of years we could hit that 90 million gallons— and that’s still really not even a dent,” she says. It will take a united landscaping community to make this happen, O’Brien says, and she’s well aware that won’t be easy. At last year’s ProGreen EXPO, she was shocked at how many landscapers raised their hands during education sessions to ask why saving water and xeriscaping were important. “We gotta fix that,” she says.

Re-creating the modern yard

If anyone can open the landscaping community’s minds and hearts to the importance of water conservation, it would be O’Brien. With a background in business development and venture capital, she’s helped launch countless startups. She had been feeling the itch to start a company of her own for many years, but it couldn’t be just any company. It had to be one that would make a difference.

Then, a couple years ago, she did a consulting project with a landscaping company that required her to sit in on a lot of discussions about water rights, and she got up close and personal with “how dire the water situation is in Colorado,” she says. She had found a need she could fulfill: educating landscapers about xeriscaping while helping residents acquire state and federal grants for low-water projects.

O’Brien launched ClimateScaping with a mission to re-create the modern yard in ways that will address the water crisis in the West. Her first step was to acquire a landscaping company founded by two of her students at CU, who stayed on for about nine months to show O’Brien the ropes and help raise money. Then she put together a team of 10, primarily CU students studying business, landscape design, horticulture and environmental science.

“I just really love the idea of students coming out with this fresh, wanna-save-the-world mentality and bringing the latest technology into this ancient industry,” she says.

Growing partnerships and community

ClimateScaping launched in May with one client, a CU professor who had just bought a home with a yard overtaken by 3-foot-tall noxious weeds. ClimateScaping partnered with another landscaping company to scrape the topsoil and remove the weeds, then designed and installed a xeriscape. When several neighbors asked if O’Brien’s team could take on their yards next, she knew she was on to something.

Last summer, ClimateScaping worked with clients in Boulder and Longmont, and the company is starting to help Louisville residents who are rebuilding after the Marshall Fire. ClimateScaping often partners with other landscaping companies to provide services like hardscaping that it doesn’t have the capability to do itself.

“We spent a lot of time over the summer getting to understand what people want,” O’Brien says. “And it’s so fascinating to me to see how genuinely excited people are about this.”

Because maintenance is so critical to keeping xeriscapes attractive, ClimateScaping provides annual contracts for “comprehensive garden and landscape stewardship,” including weeding, plant health assessments and treatments, water monitoring and irrigation, plant division and replacement, and much more. “So, clients always get to see the pretty,” O’Brien says. “We just don’t ever let them see the weeds.”

O’Brien has plans to expand the company to include FireScapes, defensible yards that protect homes with fire-resistant plants and materials, and FoodScapes, fresh produce gardens. But she is most excited about helping other landscapers open ClimateScaping businesses across Colorado through an open-source model.

“My goal is to build a model that we can give to all landscapers—how to educate and sell xeriscaping to homeowners, how to train staff, how to plant the plants so they’ll actually survive—so it’s like a force that spreads across the West,” she says. “I would love to get more landscape companies thinking bigger picture rather than just the jobs they need to do this week. If we band together, even a little bit, I think landscapers can make five times as much money as they are right now.”

Turf Replacement: Education Matters! Email
Written by Lisa Pace   
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Turf replacement is expensive—costing anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot—and doesn’t always guarantee water savings. In April, Colorado Springs Utilities set out to establish a turf replacement program for residential customers that’s affordable, guarantees water savings and ensures a resilient landscape change.

After much research and customer feedback, we established the following:

• When homeowners are having trouble maintaining their lawn, they are more willing to consider water-wise landscape options.

• Transitioning non-essential turf to native grasses is the most resilient, appealing option.

• A DIY conversion to native grass is a reasonably priced landscape change and something our customers want.

• Promoting a full-irrigation zone change along with free, high-efficiency nozzles best supports efficient water management.

Educating customers on how to do all of this work is the most important factor! Based on this, we created a program that provides:

• An initial education session about native grass and how to convert your lawn that sets expectations for what it will take to be successful and what to expect through establishment, accompanied by a DIY manual

• Multiple check-in sessions across the landscape transition period to answer customer questions and provide support, ensuring that customers feel confident doing the work.

• A second educational session to train customers on irrigation efficiency and provide free, high-efficiency nozzle replacements for the transition area

• Free native grass seed after customers determine the right grass type for their conversion project and demonstrate (through photos) that they have removed turf grass.

Given the amount of media attention turf replacement has received in Colorado, we knew it would be easy to get customers interested in this program. With very little promotion, we quickly had 300 sign-ups. About 250 customers attended our first class, and 135 moved to the second education class, received irrigation head upgrades and placed native grass seed orders. In early June, we handed out native seed, and about 75 customers have received seed. To learn more, visit TurfReplacementProgram.aspx. |

Colorado Water Plan protects precious resource for future generations Email
Written by Katie Weeman   
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Water conservation at the local level is a critical and ongoing focus of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Colorado Water Plan, essential to help reduce the risk of future municipal shortages and keep water in our streams. The CWCB supports water conservation efforts through funding, programs and special initiatives that help Colorado envision and realize a more water-wise future. The CWCB funds many projects through the Colorado Water Plan Grant program, and Conservation and Land Use is one of the categories within that grant program. The Water Plan also speaks to the importance of advancing water conservation, land use planning, and alternative water supplies (e.g., water reuse). Consequently, the CWCB funds many entities working to advance these efforts, whether building local capacity to institute water smart land use policies, investing in big xeriscaping projects, or even developing a mobile direct potable reuse demonstration trailer.  

Programmatically, the CWCB often runs conservation-oriented efforts. In fact, the CWCB runs the nation’s largest voluntary water loss training program, an initiative that helps cities reduce water loss in their delivery systems. It also manages the state’s new Turf Replacement Program, which provides matching funds to eligible entities (e.g. water utilities) to advance local turf removal projects or rebates. 

The CWCB also takes on many special initiatives, some of which are outlined in the agency actions in the water plan. Often CWCB’s efforts are multifaceted. For example, Action 1.7 of the water plan identifies turf replacement as essential to support transformative landscape change and reduce municipal water use while maintaining resilient, livable, and attractive outdoor environments. To help understand how to advance these efforts, Colorado Governor Jared Polis tasked CWCB with managing a 21-person Urban Landscape Conservation Task Force to explore what suite of tools might exist or need to be considered to help to continue to drive down outdoor water use while still maintaining benefits that range from housing affordability to protecting trees and pollinators. The task force will continue to meet through the end of 2023 with the goal of producing a final set of considerations in the new year. 

Across all these efforts, CWCB remains committed to its mission: to conserve, develop, protect and manage Colorado’s water for present and future generations. As part of this, a clear focus on reducing outdoor water use and building tomorrow’s landscapes today means more closely aligning land use plans, water use, and water conservation. Learn more about what CWCB is up to at or engage

ASLA Colorado/Wyoming celebrates 50 years Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Colorado/Wyoming (ASLA CO/WY), founded in 1973. (New Mexico was part of the group when it was founded but has since left.)

Licensing of landscape architects in Colorado owes much to Jane Silverstein Ries, who worked to establish a Colorado licensing authority in the 1960s. After the Landscape Architect Registration Act passed in Colorado, Ries became the first woman to be certified as a licensed landscape architect in the state in 1968. Before the Colorado Chapter was formed, Ries served as the first president of ASLA Rocky Mountain Chapter. Her legacy continues to be recognized with the Jane Silverstein Ries Foundation, ASLA CO/WY’s charitable nonprofit.

Through members’ work dedicated to enhancing natural and built environments, the association continues to promote development, education and awareness of the landscape architecture profession in Colorado and Wyoming. ASLA CO/WY celebrated the milestone at the Washington Park Boathouse in Denver in July.

Legislative update Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Monday, September 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Make your voice heard on proposed gas-powered equipment restrictions

The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) is moving forward on its recommended ban of handheld 10-horsepower lawn and garden equipment starting in 2025. ALCC, GreenCO and NALP are engaged in the conversations with RAQC and other stakeholders. The proposal would prohibit public entities within the Denver Metro/North Front Range ozone nonattainment area (and the lawn and garden services they contract) from using small gasoline-powered push and hand-held equipment between June 1 and August 31. Landscapers would have to switch to Make your voice heard on proposed gas-powered equipment restrictions electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws, but homeowners would still be allowed to use them.

The restriction would not apply to large gas-powered riding equipment and tractors, or equipment used during a declared emergency or storm cleanup.

ALCC is working with GreenCO and NALP on strategies and action to help protect the Colorado landscape industry’s interests in this discussion. In 2022, ALCC, GreenCO and NALP successfully lobbied against legislation that would have banned the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment in areas that aren’t meeting federal ozone standards. Instead, the Colorado Legislature passed an amended bill that requires state environmental regulators to develop a financial incentive program for electric power equipment.

The RAQC recommendation must go through many more steps before the ban would take effect. ALCC will send a survey asking about potential impacts on your business in the coming weeks. The public can comment on the draft regulations at https://raqc. org/elg-comments. For more information, visit 


Stop the Insanity! Email
Written by Megan Townsend   
Monday, September 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Start your journey from burnout to balance

Most business owners can identify with at least one, if not all, of these statements and often aren’t sure how to get past feeling stuck in the day-to-day. There are countless coaches and programs who promise to help grow your business and fulfill your dreams and goals. What most of these programs are missing is the concept of having an enviable life while growing your business. What if you could enjoy the journey and not feel burned out while achieving your goals?

It’s easier than you think. You simply need to set your vision, stay true to your priorities and take action. The life of your dreams will begin to fall into place.

To achieve your dream, you must first have a clear vision of what it is. Can you close your eyes and clearly see yourself doing exactly what you want to be doing in 10 years? If not, spend some time daydreaming about it.

No two dreams are the same, but if you are going to achieve your dream, you have to be able to see it, feel it, taste it and experience it in detail in your mind. If your goals aren’t specific, they will be hard to achieve.

Once you have a clear vision, write it down, create a visual and keep it somewhere obvious. You want it in front of your face every day. Include a due date for your dream; otherwise, it will always be “someday” and never reality.

The next step toward a more enjoyable life is prioritization. Some common priorities are family, faith, even wealth. Maybe you want to enjoy life while you are still young. What are your top three priorities? Write them down. Now.

When you have a clear vision and your priorities are defined, decision-making becomes almost effortless. Say yes to opportunities that fall in line with your vision and priorities and let other opportunities pass.

Now, let’s get back to how you can avoid burnout and stop delaying happiness. Does this sound familiar?

“I’ll have more time for my family when this project is done.” “If I can just hit that next goal, I’ll finally be happy.”

Nope and nope. There is freedom in working to live rather than living to work. Delaying happiness now in the pursuit of a dream leads to burnout and dread of the day-to-day.

Systemize Your Business

Take the following action steps to start systemizing your business so you have time to enjoy your life outside of work. Set boundaries. Time and physical boundaries are important to a balanced life. Try setting your own work hours and sticking to them. Fill your non-work hours with your personal priorities: family, health, hobbies, etc.

Delegate and outsource.

Create a plan to delegate or outsource anything you aren’t good at, anything you are good at but don’t love, and anything that takes you away from working on your business instead of in it.

Try this exercise: Have a central place where you write down every single task you do for your business over the next month. Track the hours it takes to do these tasks. As you can afford to delegate or outsource, you know how much you can off-load because you know the time requirement of the task.

Capture videos of your processes.

There are services like Loom that allow you to store screen-capture videos to the cloud. Start capturing videos of your regular tasks on the computer that you can use as a training tool to easily delegate tasks “only you know how to do.” This leaves more time for you to do the more important tasks and strategize for business growth. 

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:

Legislative update

Thought leaders retreat explores innovation and the future of work




Thought leaders retreat explores innovation and the future of work Email
Written by Steve Steele   
Monday, September 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Char Farley Chacon, division manager at Denver-based Designscapes, a member of the ALCC’s board of directors and the committee chair for ALCC’s Women in Green, is challenging barriers to the advancement of women in the green industry. Well-known across Colorado for her fierce commitment to ALCC’s LatiKNOWs diversity and empowerment program, which gives people across organizations the tools they need to better navigate the leadership landscape, Chacon is quickly becoming a rising industry star on the national level. 

At this year’s Thought Leaders Retreat, held at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, Florida, Chacon shared the floor with Heidi Dillon, regional manager of DeSantis Landscapes in Oregon, and Leslie Herndon, president of Greenscape in North Carolina. The panel examined the question of differentiation, exploring how landscape companies can deliver unique value if they are all doing the same things, using the same tools and technologies, and applying the same best practices.

Chacon said unique value starts with reducing opportunity inequities through mentoring and advocacy, as well as finding understanding and common ground. The leadership path can only be lit, Chacon said, when everyone speaks the same language. At Designscapes, that means professional development, training and language lessons. The company subsidizes a bilingual education program, with classes held weekly, that has been well received by the employees.

The Designscapes language program builds morale, camaraderie and communication in and out of the field and helps the company attract new employees and assist recipients of the firm’s Permanent Residency Program, which eases some of the uncertainty of H2B. To date, Chacon said, Designscapes has sponsored and helped 60 employees to become U.S. residents. Leadership presents an opportunity and a responsibility for people at all levels to be better role models, Chacon said. Leaders should empower fresh thinking, lift people up and allow every individual to flourish and succeed. Thought Leaders Retreat explores innovation and the future of work.

This year’s Thought Leaders Retreat, an annual event produced by Bruce Wilson & Co., one of the green industry’s largest and oldest advisory firms, broke records for sponsorship and attendance. Colorado was represented by delegates from Designscapes, Fort Collins-based Lindgren Landscapes and Denver-based Lifescape Colorado. Boulder tech firm TeamEngine and Denver-based Scythe Robotics were among the event’s sponsors. Michael Mayberry, customer success lead at Scythe, was a featured speaker on innovation, the guiding theme of the Thought Leaders conference and its focus on the future of work.

Bruce Wilson wrapped up the two-and-a-half-day event with a call to action: “Every organization needs bold inventiveness. But creativity is only half of what gets us to the other side of the box. This time is dedicated to how to create an innovation culture, how to inspire the next great idea and how to improve our capacity to innovate by asking what we would do differently if we knew anything’s possible?”

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:

Legislative update

Stop the Insanity!

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