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Denver Parks & Recreation Landscape Typology

Matrix’s new Ecological Services team was contracted by Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) to develop a system that delineates different landscape types in order to track and manage assets. DPR wanted to understand the total acreage, landscape attributes, and maintenance costs of different landscape types on DPR properties to help inform management and restoration priorities. The system that our team helped develop ultimately covered a spectrum of landscape types from hardscaped anthropocentric areas to bluegrass lawns to natural plant communities. The team focused on natural landscaping, which was not regulated under DPR’s planning, design, and construction standards. The process began with mapping the different landscape types at a 0.25-acre scale from aerial imagery. Each landscape type was then field-verified and site-specific information for each polygon collected to help inform DPR management of plant community composition, ecological conditions, and user experience.

A manual was created to document the landscape typology and characterization process and to emphasize the value of properly maintaining natural landscapes. Our team also developed fact sheets on different landscape types to help the public better understand natural systems and the benefits they provide. These fact sheets include cross-sections of various landscape types and explain the ecosystem service benefits each provdes. The typology data was further used to identify areas appropriate for turfgrass conversions and water conservation that could result in nearly 50 million gallons of water saved per year.