Take it Out­side

Work­ing with your prop­erty’s nat­u­ral fea­tures can make hard­scape strate­gies more ap­peal­ing and af­ford­able.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

Work­ing with your prop­erty’s nat­u­ral fea­tures can make hard­scapes more ap­peal­ing and af­ford­able.

First, a note on ter­mi­nol­ogy: land­scap­ing or “softscap­ing” means adding nat­u­ral el­e­ments to your prop­erty like plants, trees, f low­ers and shrubs. By con­trast, “hard­scap­ing” is bring­ing man­made ma­te­ri­als, such as con­crete pavers, brick, gravel, foun­tains and wooden beams or planks, into the mix.

Al­though the words have very dif­fer­ent mean­ings, the blend of the two “scapes” can be gor­geous. Think about walk­ing down a gravel path that wends its way through a flower bed, for ex­am­ple, or rough-hewn steps of wood or stone flanked by col­or­ful shrubs and trees. Some of the most beau­ti­ful land­scapes — like the grounds at an ar­bore­tum or public gar­den — art­fully mix nat­u­ral and man­made el­e­ments to cre­ate a sense of tran­quil har­mony. Best of all, you can achieve the same ef­fect at home. Here are some tips to skill­fully in­te­grate hard­scape fea­tures:

• Choose a theme: There are so many hard­scap­ing choices that it’s easy to feel over­whelmed, and to go over­board with them through­out your prop­erty. To pre­vent a hodge­podge ef­fect, pick a theme that re­lies on spe­cific hard­scape op­tions. For in­stance, a “rus­tic farm” look would fea­ture weath­ered wood, rough stone fire pits and metal with an aged patina. By con­trast, a for­mal English-gar­den de­sign

would rely on gravel paths, stone walls and wooden trel­lises.

• Find fo­cal points: Use gar­den or­na­ments, like an ar­bor or a piece of art, at strate­gic spots in your land­scape to draw the eye to a par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion. It cre­ates a sense of or­der and pur­pose to your yard. • Be curvy. There are few straight lines in na­ture. To make hard­scap­ing fit into a land­scape more ef­fec­tively, fol­low the con­tours of your gar­den beds, lakeshore, wooded ar­eas and other nat­u­ral el­e­ments. This will make your hard­scape and softscape com­po­nents play well to­gether. • Keep your log home in mind. Maybe you have a beau­ti­ful stone foun­da­tion and fire­place or your deck is a lus­cious cherry-wood color. Pick­ing up the el­e­ments that work in­side and out­side your home and ap­ply­ing them to your hard­scape will bring a sense of co­he­sion to your prop­erty. • In­clude seat­ing. Wooden benches or stone seat­ing ar­eas al­ways cre­ate a sense of respite, even if they’re in­fre­quently used. They make a land­scape more wel­com­ing and en­cour­age the sen­sa­tion of “slow­ing down” as you’re walk­ing through gar­dens or yard ar­eas.

In think­ing about what to in­clude, re­mem­ber that hard­scap­ing can help you solve prob­lems on your prop­erty. For ex­am­ple, if you have a slope that’s too steep for walk­ing and mow­ing, you can cre­ate tiered wooden beams that “hold” the hill to­gether to pre­vent ero­sion, and plant at­trac­tive, no­main­te­nance shrubs at each level.

Sim­i­larly, if you have a ma­jor low spot that tends to flood, con­sider us­ing hard­scap­ing el­e­ments to cre­ate a pond or foun­tain in that area. Work­ing with your land — as op­posed to fight­ing against it — will help you cre­ate a more ap­peal­ing look that will be invit­ing for you and your guests, as well as give you the in­ner peace your seek­ing from hav­ing the per­fect log home environment.

OP­PO­SITE: Rock re­tain­ing walls and a wa­ter fea­ture pro­vide a front porch fo­cal point for this log home’s land­scape. Art­fully placed shrub­bery soft­ens the stone.

ABOVE: Am­ple seat­ing around a fire pit cre­ates a back­yard des­ti­na­tion. Hard­scap­ing can re­solve prob­lems on your prop­erty, like what to do with a steep slope.

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