Landscaping Tips for Your Mountain Home

Besides providing a stunning landscape, there are benefits to living in the mountains. Lakota Winter Park knows a thing or two about mountain homes, and they can’t say enough about the perks of putting down roots on a peak.

Landscaping Tips for Your Mountain Home

Benefits of Mountain Living

Living in the mountains has health benefits that include a lower risk of heart disease, an improved metabolism, and increased energy. Exposure to fresh air, vegetation, and wildlife is a mood booster that shouldn’t be underestimated. And before you worry that living on the mountain will isolate you from others, Lakota is quick to point out that the opportunities to socialize in mountain communities are often on a deeper level. You will find yourself spending more time outdoors with others, creating meaningful connections that last.

Landscaping a Mountain Home

With many of the benefits of mountain living stemming from access to nature, you may want to invest time and money in landscaping. Whether you roll up your sleeves and do it yourself or call on the experts to help, the possibilities for your yard are practically endless.

Prepare Your Yard

Asphalt Materials suggest that your yard should reflect your personality, but you should also consider any limitations presented by the geography of your lot. If you have a sloping yard, you may have to correct it to get the mountain landscape of your dreams. This is when materials such as decorative rock, retaining walls, and other hardscaping come into play. This may mean bringing in rocks for a retaining wall, or that you forgo a pool and instead install a hot tub.

Keep in mind that there could be underground lines for water or gas that you don’t know about, and you don’t want to risk breaking or displacing them. Grading is a job best left to the professionals, who will do a survey before breaking ground. Additionally, look for overhead lines that may hinder your yardwork; adapt your plan so the plants, and the machinery that’s going to haul them in, can fit.

Complement Existing Landscape

It’s always a good idea to let your surroundings guide your landscape design. If your home is nestled in the mountains, your yard should reflect that. Focus on plants that grow well in mountain climes, and work with the trees and rocks that may already surround or be on your lot. Before committing to any plant, check that it thrives in your hardiness zone and that it’s the right size and shape to complement the space you’ve planned for it.

Plants That Grow Well in Western Mountains

If you live in the Rocky Mountain Range, the following plants may thrive in your mountain landscape.

  • Aspen Tree - Populus tremuloids
  • Bee Balm - Monarda
  • Blazing Star - Liatris
  • Blue Flax - Linum lewisii
  • Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa
  • Cottonwood Tree - Populus
  • Douglas Fir - Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Firecracker Penstemon - Penstemon eatonii
  • Idaho Fescue - Festuca idahoensis
  • Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja coccinea
  • Pines
  • Poppy Mallow - Callirhoe
  • Purple Prairie Clover - Dalea purpurea
  • Rocky Mountain Maple - Acer glabrum
  • Silvery Lupine - Lupinus argenteus
  • Willow Tree - Salix

Plants That Grow Well in Eastern Mountains

If you live in the Appalachian Mountain Range, the following plants may thrive in your mountain landscape.

  • Balsam Fir - Abies balsamea
  • Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia hirta
  • Buckeye - Aesculus glabra
  • Beech Tree - Fagus
  • Carolina Silverbells - Halesia carolina
  • Coneflower - Echinacea
  • Ferns
  • Lady’s Slippers - Cypripedium
  • Mountain Laurel - Kalmia Latifolia
  • Mountain Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri
  • Red Spruce - Picea rubens
  • Rhododendron 
  • Serviceberry - Amelanchier
  • Sugar Maple - Acer saccharum
  • Thistle - Cirsium
  • Violets - Viola

Landscaping experts know that clients sometimes have their hearts set on a specific plant, but it’s just not right for the yard. Rather than working against the existing landscape, be open to working with it and bringing in trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers that truly mimic what Mother Nature would do.

Boulders and Rocks

What do the rocks and boulders look like when you walk through the mountains? Are they evenly spaced, perfectly shaped, and resting right on top of the ground? Chances are they’re scattered, asymmetrical, and partially buried in the earth. Suppose you want to use boulders and rocks in your mountain landscape? Install them to look like the ones on the trails around your home. Otherwise, it’ll look like the rocks just rolled off a truck, and you left them where they fell.

Make It Cozy

One of the benefits of living in the mountains is the cooler summer temperatures. However, that may mean it’s a bit chilly in the evenings when you’re ready to relax after school and work. Cottonwood Landscapes of Utah recommends adding fire features to your landscaping as a way to not only beautify but provide a cozy gathering place. 

Fire Features to Consider

  • Outdoor fireplace
  • Firepit
  • Open-flame lighting (such as tiki lamps or torches)

While outdoor heaters may not be attractive, they can be added to your yard in strategic ways to warm it up on cool nights. Some may look like they belong in a garage, but others look more like lamps, or they can be added to patio overhangs to offer warmth discreetly. The NY Post shares some of the best outdoor heaters HERE.

You can also make your outdoor space cozier by incorporating texture. Break up colder elements (rock, cement, wood, furniture) with an outdoor rug, cushioned furniture, outdoor pillows, and blankets that aren’t too precious to get a little dirty.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

You may love the mountains for the wildlife as well as the vegetation. But how can you keep them from eating through your garden or getting into your trash?

Identify the Culprit

Use cameras to see what’s munching on your plants. This will help you decide what deterrents to employ.

Fence it In

It would help if you had a fence at least 8 feet tall to keep deer out. Or, you can install two fences, each 4 feet tall, placed 4 feet apart; deer won’t be able to clear two fences in a row. If you have critters burrowing under your fence, you’ll need to bury up to 12 additional inches of fencing underground in an effort to keep them out.

Bulb Cages

You can protect bulbs by burying them in wire cages. They can still sprout with ease, but underground critters can’t eat the bulbs.

Plant Repellants

Did you know there are many plants that wildlife don’t like to eat? You can plant beautiful vegetation that repels the critters around your mountain home. That might include anemones, amaryllis, crocus, daffodils, and hyacinth. If they’re at the border of your yard, it might be enough to send them searching elsewhere for food.

Animal-Proof Garbage Cans

No one wants to store smelly garbage cans in their garage if they don’t have to. You can purchase trash bins reinforced with steel, with double-walled sides and a latch that will deter bears. If raccoons are your problem, you can buy less intense garbage cans with turn-and-lock lids that those little trash pandas can’t crack. Maybe you’re dealing with mice or other rodents that gnaw through plastic bins; if that’s the case, opt for a metal garbage can with a latching lid.

You can also purchase locks for trash bins you already have. They’ll hold lids on with buckles, clasps, or bungees to keep trash in and critters out.

Remember that you chose to live on the mountain for a reason- it offers beauty everywhere you turn. Even if you leave your landscaping to its own natural tendencies, you’ll be surrounded by the vegetation that nature intended. But, if you want to step it up a notch, hopefully these tips have proved helpful.

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