Garden path
Photo by Lisa Woodburn

Embrace nature with these five cottage landscape upgrades

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Love the lay of your land, but looking to take your property to the next level? We’ve come up with five ways to enhance your cottage’s landscape without sullying the pristine natural setting that drew you to it in the first place.

Plant native vegetation

Select plants and vegetation that are native to your cottage’s location. Not only will they require less maintenance to survive and flourish, but they’ll better preserve your surrounding habitat.

Consider adding transplants such as wildflowers and natural grasses or shrubs and trees that provide shade or break the wind. Plant fruit trees or herb and vegetable gardens so that you can enjoy the “fruits” of your labour. If planted correctly, these additions will create a beautiful outdoor living space while reducing energy consumption, conserving water, and lowering your landscaping costs. Also consider that a single large tree properly placed near your cottage will absorb a great deal of heat, lowering both the summer temperature of your cottage and your utility bill. Just be sure the branches on trees you plant are properly pruned and maintained, as overgrowth can sometimes cause damage to the windows and roof of your cottage.

Add steps and stones

Using stones, rocks, or other indigenous materials to build a walkway throughout your property can create a lovely transition between the indoors and the outdoors. Keep the design simple and organic. If the destination takes you to an interesting landscape feature, such as your boathouse, the dock, or a small studio, even better.

Steps with properly installed handrails provide stability to steep inclines and they also allow access to areas that might otherwise be inaccessible. Beautiful rock features can also be designed to redirect water to drain away from your cottage, protecting your investment in an artistic way.

Light the way

Set the mood for your outdoor habitat with lighting. Sure, safety and security are prime components you should consider when installing outdoor lighting, but doing so in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing will  win the day (OK, evening) when it comes to lighting. Illuminate your trees, shrubbery, gardens, and dock. Light your beautiful new pathway or any other interesting areas you enjoy. To make it easy, use timers and install low-voltage or solar-lighting systems. Then as dusk falls, surrender to the smells, sounds and the ambience of your beautiful setting.

Grow living walls

Not every cottage is blessed with privacy. One downside to popular cottage locales is having people close enough to scope out your property. Sure, you can always build a fence, but why not consider a more natural option? Allow vines to crawl up an existing fence or shed. You may also consider growing tall flowers like sunflowers or thick hedges like laurels. Flowering hedges like hydrangeas can also add colour.

Be sure to choose plants that are adapted to the environment when designing your wall. You’ll also need to take seasonal changes, light availability, and water into account.

Build a fire pit

No cottage experience is complete without a safe spot for a campfire. Campfires evoke memories of comfort, friends, and of course, crispy golden marshmallows. Bylaws vary between locations, and they’ll impact where you build your pit and when you can have a fire. But once you know the rules, find a place on your property that makes sense, is safe, and offers something special. Consider choosing a space with a breathtaking view or a spot within earshot of a nearby gurgling river.

If you’ll be using wood for fires and your landscape is natural, you might consider building your own fire pit with rocks from the beach. And though most people associate campfires with firewood, portable propane fire pits are available for purchase in a number of stylish and functional options. A modern structural fire pit may look out of place in a rustic cottage landscape, so consider choosing one that suits your surroundings and enhances its natural beauty. Then break open the marshmallows.

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Relax and enjoy cottage life, knowing it’s in Good Hands®. Contact a local Allstate agent for personalized service and advice.
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