Log homes make a very specific statement about their owners---but they also limit options in style and design for landscaping. It's not necessary to grow trees the same variety of wood used to build the home, but several ideas should be kept in mind when landscaping log homes. They dictate a certain approach to their surroundings to follow through on their distinctive style.
As with any landscape plan, the log home owner must begin with natural elements; drainage, access and physical improvements. The home has probably been sited to capitalize on pleasant views and minimize interface with adjoining properties or unfavorable vistas. Driveways, patios and other paved surfaces must be planned to drain with the rest of the lot. Utility poles or boxes must be located in an inconspicuous area. Fences and utility buildings such as garden sheds must be located to accomplish their purpose, but also to be convenient and appropriate in style. These permanent elements all affect landscaping choices.
Log homes have established a style for their property. Unlike brick or frame homes that can be accessorized or altered to fit in with a wide range of landscape styles, the log cabin, no matter how large or expensive, makes a statement. It demands natural, informal landscaping, preferably with locally-produced materials and native plants. Plans for a log home landscape are often more complex than for more formal or exotic landscapes. Rain gardens, prairie grasses, stone walls---all natural choices for log homes---may take longer to establish or execute. Compacted stone or inlaid fieldstone will look more at home than asphalt or concrete. The "softscape," or plantings, for a log home should appear to be organic, like the home itself; borders should follow natural forms and trees and shrubs should be placed for shade or define outdoor areas rather than just provide ornamentation.
English cottage gardens are planned for a "succession of bloom," meaning that a large variety of plants assure that something is always in bloom. The emphasis in log home landscapes should be on unified collections. Choose shrub roses instead of hybrid teas. Use daylilies and species (tiger) lilies rather than Asiatic or Oriental varieties. Native varieties often look more natural and require less pruning and winter care. Plant columbine, pearly everlasting and common camas around western red cedars and Pacific dogwood in the Pacific Northwest; but use Virginia blue flag, cardinal flower and climbing aster with black Tupelo or sweetbay magnolia in the Southeast. Groupings of plants that will attract birds and wildlife should be located where they can be observed by the occupants of the home. Whatever the choice of plants and the extent of the plantings, choose "fuss-free" plants--plants that are not only easily maintained but are not invasive or subject to disease.