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Records of Xeriscape Colorado, Inc.

Identifier: WXCO

Scope and Contents

The Records of Xeriscape Colorado, Inc. consists of documents dated from 1975 to 2006, with the bulk being from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. The collection documents the origin and spread of the innovative water-conserving methods of xeriscape, with most of the collection's contents documenting the xeriscape efforts in Denver, Colorado, where the concept started. The collection focuses on the efforts of Xeriscape Colorado and related organizations to promote xeriscape landscaping and to educate the public on the water-saving techniques of xeriscape through programs, seminars, conferences, demonstration gardens, brochures, newsletters, plant guides and lists, and landscaping plans. The collection includes agendas, minutes, notes, reports, and correspondence. Also included are publications, newspaper clippings, calendars, newsletters, brochures, a few artifacts, and miscellaneous media. Newsletters and minutes from the beginning of the organization are more complete than later dates.


  • Creation: 1974-2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1986-1995


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Xeriscape Colorado, Inc., was a non-profit organization that promoted water-efficient landscapes and educated people on how to create the type of landscape which could reduce the amount of water, resources, and maintenance needed.

The first organization to define this type of landscaping, Xeriscape Colorado, Inc., had its origins in Denver, Colorado, in 1981 as the Xeriscape Task Force. During the 1980s, it became a partner of Denver Water and was also known for a short time, starting in 1986, as Front Range Xeriscape before its final name change in 1989 to Xeriscape Colorado, Inc. In 2000, Xeriscape Colorado, Inc. merged with another non-profit, Metro Water Conservation, Inc., to form Colorado WaterWise, which is a current leader in water conservation in Colorado. Now a program with Colorado WaterWise, it is simply known as Xeriscape Colorado.

Xeriscape Colorado, Inc., was the original idea of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado President Jim Grabow, who asked for the assistance of Denver Water to co-sponsor a new program that would focus on public education and landscape water conservation. The first project was creating a demonstration garden that would exhibit how to conserve water and still have a stunning landscape. In 1981, Nancy Leavitt of the Denver Water Board coined the term "xeriscape," combining the Greek word "xeros," meaning dry, with the word "landscape." Another staff member, Bob Fletcher, created the xeriscape logo. The Xeriscape Task Force, as it was then known, adopted the new term "xeriscape" and its seven fundamentals: planning and design, soil improvement, reducing turf, mulching, efficient irrigation, low-water use plants, and regular maintenance. On May 8, 1982, during the "Water for Americans" week and at the "X-rated Garden Party," the first xeriscape demonstration garden and education program were dedicated to the citizens of Denver.

From the beginning, there has been strong media interest in the xeriscape concept. Since its inception, it has grown into a multi-state movement and soon created a need for a national organization. The National Xeriscape Council, Inc. was formed as a non-profit organization in 1986 but was discontinued in 1993.


6.75 linear feet (9 document boxes, 3 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



Xeriscape Colorado, Inc. (formerly Xeriscape Task Force and Front Range Xeriscape) was a non-profit organization that promoted water-conserving landscapes and educated the public about the same. Documenting the work of Xeriscape Colorado, Inc., this collection contains agendas, minutes, notes, reports, and correspondence. Also included are publications, newspaper clippings, calendars, newsletters, brochures, a few artifacts, and miscellaneous media. A portion of the collection is digitized and online.


The collection had no apparent organization scheme when received, so the series order was imposed during processing.

The collection consists of 5 series in 11 boxes:

Series 1: Administrative files, 1980-2010 and undated

Subseries 1.1: Xeriscape Colorado, Inc., 1984-2001 and undated

Subseries 1.2: Other organizations, 1980-2010 and undated

Series 2: Correspondence, 1984-2005 and undated

Series 3: Printed materials, 1974-2012 and undated

Series 4: Media, 1987-2012 and undated

Series 5: Artifacts, 1989 and undated

Custodial History

The collection was briefly held by the Denver Botanic Gardens from 1990 until it was transferred to Denver Water in 2003.


The Records of Xeriscape Colorado, Inc. was donated to the Water Resources Archive at the Colorado State University Libraries by Scott Winter and the Colorado WaterWise Council on November 6, 2009. An addition was donated by Elizabeth V. Gardener in 2019.

Online Materials

Some materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.


Processing was completed in September 2010 and included removal of paper clips, binder clips, and staples. No more than two copies of a document were retained. Newspaper clippings were interleaved with acid-free paper, the photograph was put in a protective sleeve, and the artifacts were packed with archival foam. The entire collection was rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Printed materials accompanying a newsletter were removed and filed separately within the same series. Correspondence, agendas, and minutes may contain collateral materials. Processing of the 2019 accession was completed in April 2021. Duplicates and unrelated materials were not retained.

Inventory Note

Note: Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e." Two identical copies of the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry, following the number of pages of each copy.

Guide to the Records of Xeriscape Colorado, Inc.
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Vanessa Baca and Patricia J. Rettig; revised by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2021
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA