Luxury Log Homes and Landscaping

Sue | January 11th, 2014 - 10:28 am

Now you have your dream luxury log home completed. The furniture is all moved in, all of your mail, magazine subscriptions, and even the junk mail have found their way to your new mailbox. But soon the barren landscape of your ‘yard’ and the muddy driveway begin to wax old. Your next thoughts are consumed with getting the space around the log home to look as nice as the home itself. One thing to always remember with vegetation is it grows, and Grows, and GROWS– especially with all the care you will probably give it over the years. So let’s look at some examples of some good landscaping choices for log homes.

1) Wildfires and Landscaping of Log Homes

When choosing locations for planting of all sorts keep in mind the concept of Defensible Space to help deter the threat of wild fires. In an article last year we devoted a full article to determining where the defensible space of a home lied with various terrains and slopes around the home.

Click here to read more on Defensible Space

The first thing to remember is trees and bushes get bigger.  It is essential to evaluate what the future size expectancy of the vegetation will be at maturity. A cute little bush of various colors doesn’t look very cute when it starts to grow in front of windows, obscure views, and also cause damage to the logs. Also it heart breaking to have to cut down a lovely bush in the future. So it is best to avoid the problem all together by planting things far enough away from the home. When planted at an appropriate distance from the home and other plants and buildings the bush will never have to be removed.

2) Trees Grow Taller, But Luxury Log Homes Do Not!

We always choose the trees and locations for them first. Sometimes it is really nice to invest a bit more and have a excavator come and plant large saplings that are purchased from a nursery. It is a long time to wait 20 or 30 years for a tree to get large enough to look like more than a skinny sapling. The same thing is true about bushes. They get full and tall as well.

bozeman montana log home in the snow

The trees have grown and are now totally obscuring the picture windows, bedroom wings, and the porch.  I understand the desire for privacy, but anytime trees are planted against the home it has great potential to cause damage to the logs, much less the problems of clogging gutters, causing water to be trapped closer to the foundation, roof damage, and the future threat of falling on the house in a storm.

And if you are inside of the home, the extra money you spent on a lot with a huge view, has now been consumed by your trees. When you sit on the balcony all you see is –Aspen leaves. These trees were probably planted as decorative trees and they kept growing. These same trees would have looked great planted 100 feet from the house and they would have still provided some level of privacy.

In our opinion it is a bad idea to plant trees close to the foundation, near a septic line, or where they will eventually ever touch the log home.

Vines are one of the worst things to allow to grow too close. Morning glory, ivy, Virginia Creeper, and other vines may look neat but they are a nightmare on the house. To adhere to the home and ‘climb’ the Virginia Creeper vines have little ‘grabbers’ of sorts that stick to the home. Morning Glories twist themselves around whatever they can find. Logs should be kept free of any and all contact with vegetation.  It is best to keep have a trellis somewhere in the yard away from the house for the vines to hang from.

3) Landscaping and Luxury Log Home Maintenance

When trees overshadow a luxury log home and bushes encase it, automatically expect the home maintenance costs to rise. Gutters filling with leaves is the least of your future problems. Instead the homeowner needs to realize the trees brushing against the cabin affect the stain and sealant. It accelerates the wear on the home home stain.

Clogged gutters are not only a pain to have to clean out, but they also cause the water to back wash onto the home. Water washing over the logs like a cascade during each rain storm or whenever the snow melts is terribly hard on the logs.

Bushes provide a safe haven for bugs to hide. In places like the East Coast of the United States bushes against the cabin provide hidden places for the carpenter bees and carpenter ants to attack without you seeing it. Keeping the logs all visible forces the bugs to do their dirty work in full view. Also it allows the homeowner to easily see any insect activity without having to look behind shrubbery or vines.

When the threat of carpenter bees, termites, or carpenter ants is high western red cedar is a good choice of wood species. The natural cedar oils help to keep the bugs at bay and encourage them to chew on someone else’s house.

So keep in mind the danger of fires, size of trees, and the overall protection of your luxury log homes future when you select your landscaping. Use the landscaping to add to your home instead of creating future problems. Imagine what it will all look like in 10, 20 and even 30 years. Log homes require less overall maintenance when the vegetation is not working against your best efforts.

Cowboy Log Homes




Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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