Take it Out­side

Just a few ex­tra el­e­ments will turn an or­di­nary patch of grass into an ex­cep­tional back­yard re­treat.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

Just a few ex­tra el­e­ments will turn an or­di­nary patch of grass into an ex­cep­tional back­yard re­treat.

Imag­ine your ultimate log home. The thought usu­ally con­jures up im­ages of ex­posed beams, vaulted ceil­ings and, of course, that to- die-for fire­place. But for most peo­ple in love with the log home life­style, out­door en­joy­ment is as much a part of your dream home ex­pe­ri­ence as those cov­eted log walls are. Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute part of your imag­i­na­tion to in­vent­ing the ideal out­door oa­sis.

Cre­at­ing a des­ig­nated area that’s a small por­tion of your prop­erty — as op­posed to full- on back­yard land­scap­ing — can be hugely valu­able as a way to add a lit­tle low­cost/high-im­pact sanc­tu­ary to your space. Here are some tips for mak­ing it hap­pen:

Fo­cus on re­flec­tion, not ac­tiv­ity:

When a small par­cel of land is con­sid­ered a sanc­tu­ary, it of­ten feels like a med­i­ta­tive gar­den or quiet wooded area. Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to load it up with ac­tiv­ity-fo­cused fea­tures like a BBQ grill, out­door games or chil­dren’s play­ground.

Cre­ate a path:

Some home­own­ers like their out­door oa­sis to have a spi­ral walk­way, which they use as a med­i­ta­tion tool. You also can cre­ate a wind­ing path made of ma­te­ri­als like flat river rocks.

Use nat­u­ral el­e­ments:

While steel and rail­road ties have their place in grad­ing and re­tain­ing your grounds, an out­side sanc­tu­ary tends to be in­fused with na­ture-in­spired and de­rived el­e­ments. That might mean benches made from tree trunks split down the mid­dle or ham­mocks made of nat­u­ral hemp rope.

Get Made in the Shade:

Plant­ing canopy trees will cre­ate cover from the sun. Can’t wait for the trees to ma­ture? Sim­ple ar­bors en­gulfed in climb­ing vines will pro­vide sun­block in short or­der. Place a bench be­neath the shade and

you’ve got a tran­quil out­door read­ing nook.

Work with the land, not against it:

Try­ing to flat­ten a hill­side or elim­i­nate wa­ter with tons of soil (lit­er­ally) could make your space feel ar­ti­fi­cial. In­stead, con­sider play­ing with the con­tours of the land and mak­ing the most of what’s al­ready there. For ex­am­ple, if part of the space tends to flood be­cause it’s lower, that seems like the per­fect spot for a re­flec­tion pool.

Go for low main­te­nance:

As much as pos­si­ble, choose na­tive plants, par­tic­u­larly grasses and wild­flow­ers. No mat­ter your re­gion, na­tive plants are great for con­di­tions rang­ing from drought to flood­ing. Flow­ers will at­tract pol­li­na­tors, bring­ing but­ter­flies and hon­ey­bees into your sanc­tu­ary area, as well as smaller crit­ters.

Keep in mind that an oa­sis should be about en­joy­ment and peace, not a bunch of work on top of other land­scap­ing chores. Make it into a place that you look for­ward to vis­it­ing, and it will be a true sanc­tu­ary space.

If your log home is on a hill­side, work with the land­scape, not against it. A rock gar­den can ri­val any swath of grassy lawn.

Low-main­te­nance na­tive plants re­duce soil ero­sion and en­cour­age but­ter­flies, while a me­an­der­ing path­way will slow the pace and add tran­quil charm to your log home.

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