Log home maintenance is a very common subject that a lot of people have questions about. In general, the maintenance for a log home is not very different from how you would maintain a conventional home with wood siding. You’ll need to guard your investment by keeping the wood protected with a stain or clear coat sealant. That means re-applying a high-quality product throughout the life of the home. (Two of the products commonly used are from Perma-Chink and Sashco) How often you should reapply depends on a lot of factors. One often overlooked factor is your log home landscaping.
Many times, log homeowners begin landscaping without any plan in mind, but instead find themselves in the aisle of a nursery staring at something in bloom and saying to themselves “Oooh, that’s pretty” and bringing it home for planting. And just like a Great Dane puppy, those pretty little plants can get pretty big, pretty fast. So, before you plant your new treasure right next to your log home, stop and think ahead to how big the plant will get. The number one cause for extensive maintenance, is excessive moisture on your logs. Plants which are placed too close to the log walls will trap moisture against your logs and block the sun from ever drying them out. Space your plants far enough away from the walls so that when they grow to their full size, they don’t come close to touching the walls.
And not only will keeping your plants spaced a few feet out from your walls help reduce how often you’ll need to re-stain your home; it will also make re-staining that much easier. After all, nobody wants to battle crab-apple branches attacking their face when trying to paint.
Here are some log homes with wise landscaping choices that are not only nice to look at but won’t be giving the homeowners any extra home maintenance. From grand beds with big stone, to lovely log cabin gardens, there are a lot of possibilities:
This log home shows how beautiful landscaping goes well beyond a simple foundation planting. Notice that along the house the landscaping is kept low, open and airy with species like Russian Sage. In the foreground the homeowners have planted coreopsis, a popular and hardy plant that loves the sun. You can also see a few Kniphofia (aka Red Hot Poker).
The rear of the same house shows a larger “foundation” planting that abuts the stone patio. It’s not a problem to plant larger, more dense plants here because it doesn’t come close to the log walls. Containers on the patio provide some greenery near the home.
This log home has a wonderful covered front porch that allows the homeowner to plant some larger shrubs without the worry of having plants right up against the log walls.
A lot of trees surround this log home, but none are close up against the exterior walls. One other factor besides moisture that increases how often you have to apply stain, is the sun that can bake south and west facing walls. Planting some trees that will cast shade on the south and west walls can limit this baking effect and also help control your cooling costs in the summer. The plants that the homeowners chose for the foundation bed are dwarf species of evergreen such as boxwood. These dwarf varieties are a good choice, and their compact shape provides a log cabin garden feel.