A Boulder Farmhouse for the 21st Century

Colorado Homes and Lifestyle
By Elizabeth Garnsey

“For plantings, we chose colors that would stand out against the darker elements of the house, and our ground covers set the tone, with chartreuse creeping jenny and Rozanne geraniums, which get covered in purple flowers. We used bright hostas, bleeding hearts and lots of hydrangea. So in the spring, it really pops.”

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A Virtuous Garden Far Beyond form and EMPTINESS

ASLA Colorado Exposures 

When Martin Mosko and Luke Sanzone of landscape architecture firm Marpa Design Studio first met with owners Scott and Kelly at this ranch in Boulder, CO, they began a design conversation that was marked by cooperation, integration, and what architect David Barrett of Barrett Studio Architects calls “deep listening.” Mosko had worked with Scott and Kelly on their first house, and together they decided to bring in Barrett to build their new home. 

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The owner of this splendid garden asked first to design a small courtyard garden to enhance the area flanking his remodeled home. When we inspected the site, we found the exposure, the snow and rain run-off patterns plus the lack of light, would in all prevent him from fulfilling his aim. We proposed that the drainage ditch behind, would be transformed to a walkway deck in the courtyard that could lead into the new garden. The owner put on the spot and asked only to build something extremely attractive that would match very well the aesthetic look of the interior of his house sufficiently provided with artistic crafts bearing a Japanese profile.

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It takes a village

Colorado home & lifestyles
By Jennifer Jewell

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes almost that to raise a garden on the scale and caliber of Mary Rossick Kern and Jerry Kern's garden in Castle Pines. Set alongside the famous Castle Pines golf course, with views of the Rampart Range, the Kern garden, tended by a village of experts, has everything that makes gardening in Colorado divine.

Jerry Kern moved to Colorado from New York in 1998. After adding on to his existing home, he chose Martin Mosko, founder of Boulder-based Marpa Design Studio, (303) 442-5220,, to create a garden. Known for his stunning,"contemplative designs," Mosko believes that "gardens more fully engage all of a viewer's senses than any other art form."

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The soothing sounds of water trickling. The rough texture of rock, an integral part of Colorado. The fragrance of soil and flowers.

For 30 years, Martin Mosko has blended such elements to create sumptuous settings in gardens in Boulder and beyond through his landscape design and construction firm, Marpa & Associates.

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A Garden Made for Meditating

Sunset Magazine

When Jackie and Richard Wolber of Lakewood, Colorado, decided to transform a tennis court into a garden, they told landscape architect Martin Mosko, "We want a place for meditation." Mosko created a landscape boldly accented by sculptural stones and softened by a tapestry of flowering plants woven among dwarf aspens, hawthorns, maples, junipers, and spruces.

Using water as a unifying theme, Mosko laced the landscape with a recirculating stream that flows to a sunken garden, where a waterfall and pond contribute to a meditative mood. 'Tiny Rubies' dianthus and rose pink thrift (Armeria maritima) brighten sunny parts of the garden. Bursts of color come from irises, daylilies, and yarrow.



Martin Mosko created his first garden at the age of 26 beside a little pond on Boulder. "I planted a small flowering crab apple tree and placed little angelic-looking flowers around the pond," he recalls. "Then, as I gazed into the water, a bird flew into a nearby tree and started singing. The nurturing quality of cultivating this living space was magical to me."

A special site allows a couple to extend a family tradition

By Mindy pantiel

Since the land was what drew the couple to the project, landscape architect Luke Sanzone played a crucial role. Sanzone worked to preserve the enviable views of the Flatirons and some beautiful old trees while mitigating less desirable features. “There was noise from a busy street that we had to reduce and views to nearby houses and power lines that required effective screening,” he says. Sanzone installed a gabion-stone wall as a sound barrier and began an aggressive planting program that included 65 crabapple trees to disguise the less-than-perfect aspects.

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Gan Eden, the garden of Jerry and Mary Kern, is set within pine forests just 30 miles from Denver, Colorado. At an elevation of 6,200 feet, 21/2 acres of this 31/2 acre mountain property has been transformed into a landscape garden of memorable power. Work on the garden began in 1997 under the direction of Marpa & associates, a design and construction firm founded by Martin Mosko.

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Contemplating... The infinite

Landscape Architect
By Stephen Kelly

Martin Mosko, ASLA, has been building gardens for 30 years. His journey began three decades ago upon meeting Juan Garcia, the gardener of the Soledad Mission in northern Calif. Garcia’s health was failing and he offered to teach Mosko what he would need to know to become the mission gardener: tree pruning, soil prep and care for perennials and roses. Mosko learned and become the mission gardener.

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Rocky Start

Better Homes & Gardens: Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living

"When we started this garden, the only flower names I knew were Delphinium, daylily, and columbine," says Priscilla Baldwin. As the flagstone patio and wall of railroad ties in her landscape were replaced with tons of rock and a large pond, Priscilla became so enthralled that she went to work for her landscape architect, Martin Mosko. "My plan was just to do a few rocks and some water and be done with it."

Then she met Mosko. "Now I know saying 'just a few rocks' to Martin is a joke," she says. "He doesn't do things in a small way, and I became so fascinated with the whole process, I just kept saying yes to everything."

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Serene Scene

Los Angeles Times Magazine

Jean and John Isaacson didn't want to drop a Japanese garden, stone by stone, plant by plant, into their Mandeville Canyon lot. Though the couple wanted a garden that would suit their 1960's Pacific Rim-style house, a strict adherence to one aesthetic has never been their style. Jean, a Japanese American, is from Hawaii, John grew up in Brazil. Oriana, their daughter, was born in Chile. So, rather than copy specific scenery, they sought a Japanese essence they had admired in Balinese gardens and in Hawaii and Brazil, where lacy bamboo groves are often charged with the wilder spirit of the tropics.

Bamboo, in fact, was already growing around the couple's house when they purchased it six years ago, along with a large multi-trunked sycamore, a few ferns and some camellias. There was a small koi pond below the living room, but an ugly spa and yards of deck all but canceled its effect.

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With a prayer softly spoken in Tibetan, the Dalai Lama empowered the new Tibetan prayer wheel at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden Tuesday morning.

Followers believe the prayer wheel, which was a gift to the people of Sun Valley from the Dalai Lama, will now send out a million blessings and prayers for healing and compassion every time it turns.

Lamenting that he wasn't feeling well, the Tibetan religious leader arrived about an hour before he was scheduled to bless the wheel.

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Peace Garden

Denver Rocky Mountain News

Most of us who dwell in the realm of the 14,000 foot peaks have likely never heard of White Tiger Mountain, Dragon Mountain, Turtle Mountain, and Phoenix Mountain.

They are small - none rises more than 15 feet above its surrounding terrain.

But to those fortunate enough to wander amid these flora-strewn, manmade mounds that create 6,000-square foot Valley where the Devas Dance, the experience borders on magical. (Devas is Sanskrit for spirit.)


Other Notable Articles (and where to find them)

Luxe Interiors and Design, September/October 2015, "Storybook Ending", pp. 278-291

Landscape (Journal of International Landscape Architecture and Design, pub. in China),  December 2008, "Garden—Bring You into a Contemplative Environment", pp. 52-57

Water Shapes September 2008, "Making a Mountain Haven," pp. 56-65

Building Stone Magazine, Fall 2008, "Rising from the Ground: Opus 22" pp. 29-31

Garten Praxis (Germany), August 2007, "Ein Garten als Vision der Realitat" pp. 37-41

Great Gardens (of Fine Gardening magazine), Summer 2007 "Mountain Spirit" pp. 53-59

Luxury Living, Summer 2006 "Rock Solid", pp. 92-93

Custom Home Outdoors, Spring 2006: "Tea Time" pp. 22

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, April 2006: "It Takes a Village" pp. 98-101.

Landscape Architect, January 2006: "Contemplating…The Infinite" pp. 40-47.

Luxe, Spring 2005: "Tranquil Earth" pp. 46-47.

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, August 2004:  "This Side of Paradise" pp. 110-114.

Boulder Daily Camera, "Living & Arts", August 13, 2004:  "Landscaping 101" pp.1D -3D.

Mother Earth News, Summer 2004:  "Natural Pools" pp. 51-56.

Sunset, July 2004:  "Colorful Carpet" pp. 64.

Denver Post, May 21, 2004:  "Trend for Zen" pp. 6L.

Architecture & Design, Spring 2004:  "Cool, Clear, Water".

Colorado Gardener, April 2004: "Water-It's Only in Your Mind" pp. 10.

Natural Home, March/April 2004:  "Rocks In Your Head" pp. 88 – 91.

Rocky Mountain News, February 7, 2004:  Homefront:  "Zen a winning concept for garden" pp 1E - 6E.

Sunset Magazine, February 2004:  "Spirited Garden Design, pp 54.

Boulder Daily Camera "At Home", January 23, 2004:  "The Contemplative Garden" pp 1 - 2D.

Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine, Winter 2003:  "Gorgeous Gardens" pp 86 – 93.

Rocky Mountain News, October 4, 2003:  "American Splendor" pp 1E – 6E.

Sunset, September 2003:  "High-country Planting" pp. 76 – 77.

Women's Magazine, June 2003:  "Up the Garden Path" pp. 10 – 11.

Colorado Expression, Spring 2003:  "Gardens of Earthly---and Heavenly---Delights" pp.52 – 59.

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, April 2003:  "Grounded in Tranquility" pp. 106 – 116.

Boulder Daily Camera "At Home", March 22, 2003:  "Japanese Gardens:  Creating Harmony, Not Monotony".

The Beaufort Gazette, October 6, 2002:  "Gardening Workshop Offers Tips for Eastern Approach" p. 5D.

The Beaufort Gazette, September 29, 2002:  "The Magic of Japanese-style Gardens" p. 1C.

Mother Earth News, August/September 2002:  "Natural Swimming Pools" pp. 64 – 73.

Log & Timber Style,  July/August 2002:  "A Conversation" pp. 8 – 9.

Better Homes and Gardens "Beautiful New Homes",  Spring 2002:  "Room to Roam" pp. 44 – 51.

Better Homes and Gardens "Garden Structures", 2002:  "Courting Serenity" pp. 62 – 69.

Building Stone Magazine, October – December 2001:  "Profile:  Martin Mosko"pp. 48 – 52.

Sunset, September 2001:  "Tough Enough Near Boulder" p.83.

This Old House, May 2001:  "Eastern Eden" pp. 32 – 35.

Colorado Gardener, April 2001:  "The Stone Age" pp. 12 – 13.

Mountain Living, March/April 2001:  "Water Gardens" pp. 67 – 70.

Los Angeles Times Magazine,  October 29, 2000:  "Serene Scene" pp. 26 – 30.

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, July/August 2000:  "Garden of the Healing Stones" pp. D54 – D59.

Landscape Architect, July 2000:  "Snow Lion" pp. 42 –47.

Log Home, July 2000:  "Mountain Landscaping" p. 23.

Ski "Special Issue:  Mountain Summer", May/June 2000:  "One With the Mountain" pp. 97 – 99.

Denver Rocky Mountain News "Home Front", April 23, 2000:  "Peace Garden" pp. 8F – 14F.

Boulder County Business Report, March 24 – April 6, 2000.

Better Homes and Gardens "Garden, Deck, & Landscape", Spring 2000:  "Wet Feat" pp. 107 – 113.

Denver Rocky Mountain News "Home Front", June 27, 1999:  "Jewel of a Pool" pp. 9F – 12F.

Denver Rocky Mountain News "Home Front", May 9, 1999:  On Pinon Pond" p. 7F.

Mountain Living, Summer 1998:  "Dive In!" pp. 48 – 51.

Sunset, June 1998:  "A Garden Made for Meditating" pp. 54 – 55.

American Nurseryman, January 15, 1998:  "A Secret Garden" pp. 26 - 30.

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles,  Fall 1996:  "A Second Chance at Paradise" pp. 76 – 78.

Mountain Living, Summer 1996:  "Mirror, Mirror" pp. 49 – 52.

Better Homes and Gardens "Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living",  Spring 1996: "Rocky Start" pp. 60 – 67.

Better Homes and Gardens "Garden, Deck, & Landscape Planner", Summer 1995: "Higher Learning" pp. 34 – 36.

American Nurseryman, January 15, 1995:  "Island in the Sky" pp. 44 - 49.

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, June 1994:  "Zen and the Art of Botanical Maintenance" pp. 64 – 69.

Better Homes and Gardens "Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living", Summer 1994: "Rock Solid" pp. 40 – 42.

Rocky Mountain News, March 11, 1993:  "Sweet Retreats".

Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, July/August 1991:  "Uncommon Grounds:  Zen and the Art of Garden Design" pp. 50 – 53.

The Denver Post, 1991:  "Meditation Plants Seeds for Garden" pp. 1D – 2D.

The Denver Post, August 12, 1981:  "Marpa Gardens Marked By Buddhist   Tranquility".