Superbloom: A Landscape Phenomenon and Guiding Concept

Everyone asks about our name, so we thought we would kick off our news page by sharing why and how the idea of the superbloom inspires us as practitioners and designers. To us, a superbloom is the perfect metaphor for the latent potential of design to lay the groundwork for the landscape to flourish from roots to tips and soil to sky.

What is a superbloom?

A ‘superbloom’ is a botanical phenomenon during which latent seedlings are activated by an uncommonly wet period resulting in a rare and abundant bloom of wildflowers. It is an awe-inspiring occurrence that redefines a landscape’s identity and expands our perception of what spaces/places can be.

The most notable example of this is in Death Valley, known as the “hottest, driest and lowest” National Park, which experiences average summer temperatures of between 120 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yet, despite this extreme environment, it is a biodiverse ecosystem and – provided the right conditions – it can transform from a barren desert to a dramatic wildflower oasis.

What it means to us

In our home state of Colorado, depending upon the region’s snowpack and snowmelt, a superbloom can actually occur more frequently.  To us, these events symbolize a dynamic system reaching its full potential given the right conditions: healthy soil, abundant moisture, rich terrain, contextual materials, integrated wildlife and time. As landscape architects and planners, we see our role as cultural and ecological provocateurs. We seek to capture and elevate the inherent beauty and potential of a place by intentionally researching, discovering and designing the optimal conditions. In the American West, this means strategic and creative water-use.

A few examples of our work in process:

  • Prairie Orchard By strategic selection of hardy fruiting trees, landform manipulation to capture and retain water for better passive irrigation, and no-till wildflower seeding, we are transforming a half-acre old field into a regenerative and hyper-diverse wildflower meadow and orchard. (Arapahoe County, Colorado)
  • Specie Mesa Meadow Drifts – Inspired by natural mountain wildflower drifts, our design uses wave-like landforms to slow and direct water to enhance and intensify native seed plantings. (San Miguel County, Colorado)
  • Wild Bear Nature Center Nestled into a montane pine forest outside of Nederland, the Wild Bear Nature Center sets the stage for outdoor and environmental education. The framework integrates and restores the existing landscape while allowing for spontaneous and natural opportunities for play and learning from the wilderness. (Boulder County, Colorado)

We aspire to convey the vibrance, complexity and energy of the superbloom in every aspect of our practice. As a new and growing design business, every day is an opportunity for us to craft a culture that generates joy and abundance. We seek out opportunities to cultivate this ethos at every turn, from designing our co-working space to creating business cards and engaging with the friends, collaborators and natural world through field-based experiences.

For more about our practice or to join us on a field walk, please reach out to hello@superbloom.net.