Whether you use dried tree trunks and limbs or timber bought from your local lumberyard, building with woods adds a natural feel to your landscape. You can strip the bark off and sand and finish the wood or just leave logs in their natural state. Landscaping with timber might pose a few challenges if your pieces are larger than the saw you use, but there are resources available to help you to solve those problems.
Stairs and Borders
If you have any trees removed on your property, you will have ready access to pieces of large logs. Most tree cutters are happy to cut pieces into sizes that you can manage. You can use two- to three-foot pieces for stairs or for simple, one-log garden borders or retaining walls on slightly sloped hillsides. Keeping the bark attached maintains the natural and woodsy appeal for the project. Additionally, because the pieces will not be exactly the same length or width, your structures will have a rustic charm instead of a polished, finished elegance.
Arches and Arbors
These structures appear at the entrance to gardens, in areas where you transition from one area of the garden to another or as a focal point at the end of a garden with a bench underneath. They can be elaborate with intricate designs dictated by the shapes of the limbs and branches you use or simple structures made from pieces of timber that are all the same size. The Landscape Design Site recommends that the top cross piece for an arbor be at least eight feet off the ground. Arbors provide a place to grow climbing vines and roses and add an interesting man-made element to any garden.
Pergolas and Gazebos
Pergolas are free-standing covers that are usually circular and, like arbors, provide a structure for vines and climbing plants as well as shade for a table or bench underneath. A gazebo is similar except that it has a floor and its roof is usually solid and rainproof. Both structures can be made from either uniform pieces of timber or from tree trunks and limbs of varying sizes. Pergolas and gazebos can be made into any size that suits your needs and the dimensions of the garden and are frequently available in kits that you can buy and build yourself. Finishing a structure with clear wood oil will prolong its life.