The official web home of Cherry Creek III HOA
Third Cherry Creek Townhouse Corporation
managed by Realty One Property Management (303) 834-0311
Colorado's first HOA to win a Habitat Hero award (2014)
Colorado WaterWise 2015 statewide Conservation Award winner


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Community Garden & Landscaping

  Topics on this page:
* Community Garden
* The award-winning Landscape Improvement Program (LIP)

   During the past 7 years, Cherry Creek 3 has undergone a transformation. Gone are the dying old poodle-sheared junipers and outdated lava rock outside home fronts. They have been replaced with low-water native and xeric plants that are attracting more birds, hummingbirds and butterflies. Although landscaping improvements continue, anyone who lived here a decade ago will notice the vibrant, colorful landscape changes as the various plants bloom from early spring through late fall. These changes have positively impacted the Association's water bills and have made a positive environmental change for pollinators who visit the neighborhood.
The addition of a Community Garden five years ago also bas been a positive change for neighbors, who toil in the soil throughout the spring, summer and fall to raise a bounty of edibles.
    This page spotlights some of the changes in recent years here:

If you are interested in having a plot in the Community Garden:
Please e-mail prior to the planting season: Spaces are limited.

The popular CC3 Community Garden, established 2012

Cherry Creek 3's Community Garden has grown into a popular place among residents. More than 40 plots of vegetables are farmed by every type of residents- from novices to experienced gardeners.

Once a  section of blue grass that was watered, cut weekly and maintained but rarely used, the Community Garden is now a hub for the community. It also attracts a lot of visitors, who come an sit on the bench outside the garden and watch the progress throughout each spring and summer.

The Community Garden has been praised by people from both inside and outside the community because of the efforts of volunteers who make the garden work successfully. It has been mentioned in such places as "Peggy's Pages," (our local councilperson's monthly newsletter), as well as Colorado WaterWise Magazine and other media. Volunteer gardeners help weed and keep the garden clean in addition to watering and caring for their crops, which range from peas to lettuce, tomatoes and much more. Some of the gardeners even share their produce with their neighbors who aren't involved in the garden.. There are more than 120 community gardens, operated by Denver Urban Gardens, in the city. However, Cherry Creek 3's self-operating Community Garden is a rarity among HOAs in the metro area. Incidentally, hand-watered plots use less water than if the ground had been unchanged and sprinklers were still in use.

NOTE TO PARENTS: The garden is off-limits to children not accompanied by a parent-gardener. Children who trespass and/or play in the garden or with the gardening equipment may be cited and potentially fined. The reason is because the Community Gardeners have invested thousands of dollars on plants, soil, etc. and do not want their plants stepped on or produce stolen. We want children to participate with an adult - but not wander in the garden alone.

   The Community Garden was organized by several residents under the leadership of Jenne Lundgren. That first year, 2012, more than 40 plots for adults and several children worked mini-plots, too. Most of the gardeners enjoyed successful growing efforts and celebrated at the end of the season with a pot-luck dinner in the club house.
    Gardeners who participate agree to cooperate with basic rules for care and maintenance of their plot as well as respecting the growing area of other gardeners.
    If you would like more information, please send an e-mail to garden coordinator Julie Barnes  (it may take a couple of days - due to busy schedules - to receive a response):

Below are some photos of the first Community Garden in 2012. They show the story of the early days of the Garden and how the spaces grew by late summer. The bottom photo was taken by Phoebe, showing what her plot produced.

(Cherry Creek 3 was featured in the Colorado WaterWise magazine and named the organization's 2015 Conservation Award winner.)

Our Award-Winning Landscape Improvement Program (LIP)

It's been a long haul since the discussion of a Landscape Improvement Program (LIP) started more than eight years ago. However, the LIP continues and is considered a pioneering program among HOAs in the metro area because of its success. People from other HOAs, plant organizations and water-conservation groups have visited here to observe the change to landscaping that is much more water-conservation minded and more friendly to the Front Range environment.

Cherry Creek 3 received a 2014 Habitat Hero award from the Audubon Society of the Rockies. We are the first HOA in the state to receive this distinction. (For more information, visit or (in the conservation-resources section). 
 It has also received accolades by the Colorado WaterWise magazine, been featured on the back cover of the High County Gardens April 2015 catalog and the Summer 2015 edition of Rocky Mountain Gardening, to name a few. It also received an award from Plant Select. Representatives from Denver Botanic Gardens, other HOAs, biologists and avid plant enthusiasts have been visiting the neighborhood to watch the ongoing growth and progress. The effort has cost Cherry Creek 3 thousands of dollars but the annual water-sewage savings, plus incentive rebates and awards, have saved the HOA even more.

The LIP included removing outdated lava rock and unsightly junipers planted nearly 50 years ago. New, mostly drought-tolerant and xeric species have been installed. Several of the recent planting areas in recent years haven't reached maturity yet but are beautifying the community with new colors throughout each growing season. A 2016documentary, Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home, includes a segment on the Cherry Creek 3 LIP. (For more information on the national documentary, please visit: In 2017, the HOA is featured in a new documentary about water conservation. (Please visit the water-conservation page for a link to watch this film online for free!)

        Most of the plants being installed are low-water, xeric and native species recommended by Plant Select, a cooperative organization comprised of Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens in cooperation with several growers' associations. To learn more about their efforts to bring new plants to our arrid climate, see videos at:
   The LIP had three central goals:
    * Improve the beauty and look of Cherry Creek 3
    * Increase property values
    * Conserve water
These plants thrive in the ever-changing weather of the Front Range and are drought tolerant. When first planted, residents can help by keeping children and pets away from the news plants. Dogs should not be allowed to urinate on new plants, either.  Patience is another necessity since it takes about three years for the new plants to adjust to their new surroundings and grow. Professional gardeners describe the xeric plants as a three-year effort - Sleep (year one), creep (year 2) and leap (third year).
   Denver Water estimates more than 55% of all water purchased by their typical residential customer annually is used in outdoor irrigation (54%) and toilets (13%). The Association partnered with Denver Water and CC3 residents in 2008, replacing more than 425 old toilets with water-efficient models.
   As part of an outdoor irrigation agreement between Third Cherry Creek and Denver Water from 2010-15, the Association replaced more than 1,500 old sprinklers with more efficient MP Rotar Head models and made changes to some of the neighborhood's irrigation clocks. In return, Denver Water promised rebates based on water savings during the summer watering season.
    So far, the results have been great. Compared to 2008, Cherry Creek 3 has saved 15 million gallons in each of the past two budget years. Yes, each year. The HOA used nearly 36 million gallons of water in 2008 but now uses much less - approximately 20 million gallons a year. Most of the savings have been realized by controlling outdoor water costs. Denver Water issued more than $40,000 in rewards for its irrigation efficiency (2010-15). The rewards, in addition to HOA budget funding, have helped pay for the LIP progress annually.

Dog Tuff Grass: Trying a new breed of low-water turf grass in the neighborhood:
In summer 2015, the HOA began experimenting with African Dog Tuff grass after receiving some of the grass from Plant Select and Colorado State University. The Dog Tuff grass is planted next to fences by 9086 and 9146 E. Nassau. Although still spreading and growing and not yet at full maturity yet, this new species could be a trend-setter for yards throughout the state in the future. The reason? Dog Tuff grass uses little water, needs mowed less frequently, Is soft on bare feet and doesn't yellow when dogs urinate on it (hence the term, "dog tuff." Dog Tuff grass was named as an official Plant Select recommendation for 2016.
Award-winner horticulturalist Kelly Gummons cultivated the Dog Tuff grass. See his video on this new turf grass on the Plant Select web site (click here):

Is landscaping "done" in Cherry Creek 3? The short answer: Never! The Association continually looks at ways to fill bare spots, replace unhealthy or dead plants and continue to improve the over all look of the community. Watch for more tweaks and improvements in 2018 and beyond. That will include repairing landscape where water and sewer line work was conducted during the late fall and winter months.

Let's not forget the trees! In recent years, the HOA had several old trees removed, mostly because they were encroaching on home roofs, sustaining damage from snow and disease, and other reasons related to aging. However, since 2016, Cherry Creek 3 has planted more than two dozen new trees (many more than the number of trees removed) to help improve the curb appeal of the property and to provide homes to birds.

Below are some photos of landscaping improvements that have occurred in the past few years. More will be posted soon.
(Top row: yellow hardy iceplant, lavender iceplant. Second row: hyssop (fall bloomer, attracts hummingbirds) and hydrangeas. Third row: side garden primarily composed of low-water, xeric plants. Fourth row: Black-eyed Susans. Bottom row: purple iceplant and orange hummingbird trumpet carpet.


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