Since it's the first area visitors see, a log home's landscape should be designed with care. "A dwelling as distinctive as a log home deserves a special setting," says gardening guru Nancy J. Ondra, co-author of The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer and other books. Here are some of Nancy's recommendations:
18. Pick a Theme
Choose a theme that complements your home's setting. For example, a woodland garden sprouting shrubs, wildflowers and native groundcovers is perfect if your home is tucked into the trees. Sunny, open sites work better with a prairie-style landscape of groundcovers, flowering perennials and ornamental grasses. A cottage garden also harmonizes with log homes. Try a mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
19. Go for Grasses
A perfect complement to any log home, ornamental grasses come in myriad sizes, shapes and colors. Avoid the aggressive spreading variety, and opt for clump-forming grasses that are "well-behaved." Switch grasses and prairie dropseed are good choices. Some grasses hold up throughout the winter, producing glorious shades of copper, gold and pale green.
20. Wood and Stone
Add character to your landscape with natural wood or stone details. "Wooden accents are natural complements to log homes," says Nancy. "Stain them the color of your home, and you'll automatically have a visual link between the house and the landscape." Some details to consider: rustic wooden fencing, crosscut round logs as stepping stones, and wood-chip paths. You also can work stone and metal into your design, perhaps by creating a brick or concrete path edged with wooden strips, or incorporating some metal accents such as galvanized planters.
21. Multitasking Plants
It may sound strange to think of a plant as a "multitasker," but a plant that can pull double-duty is worth its weight in gold (and green). For example, plants that look good in summer heat and winter snow are smart choices. Consider variegated yuccas, evergreen shrubs, perennials and groundcovers. Shrubs with colorful bark, such as red-twig dogwoods, hold up well in tough conditions and add drama to a drab winter landscape. "Remember to choose grasses, perennials and groundcovers that have more than one feature," advises Nancy. "Choose plants with not just pretty flowers, but also colorful foliage, berries, seedheads and bark. These hard-working plants really earn their keep!"