Mark Uppendahl - Yarmouth, MA real estate, Dennis, MA real estate, Brewster, MA real estate

Little beats a breathtaking outdoor view. In fact, you may have bought your house because of where it’s located. Large, bay windows and wide sliding doors are just two ways that you could enjoy observing nature without stepping outside.

Fantastic outdoor living options

An outdoor patio offers an excellent opportunity to take in nature. If you’re an interior design traditionalist, think outside the box on this one. Decorate your patio with a two or three-seater sofa, coffee table and end tables, similar to how you would a small indoor living room. Live in an area that enjoys cold temperatures or snow? Encase your patio in plexiglass.

Build large columns at the sides of your front walkway. Another option is to lay light brown or reddish brown cobblestone up your front walkway. Use the space for entertaining or for enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice as you survey your surroundings during the early morning.

Gardens filled with a wide assortment of tall flowers and plants break down the separation between your property and the larger outdoors. Gardens are also good because they inspire you to get outside, put your hands in the earth and help cultivate increase. Grow flowers and plants along the sides and back edge of your yard. It will serve as a gorgeous natural fence. Flowers growing in three to four large clusters in your back yard are a welcomed sight as well. Let your creativity flow. For example, if you love birds, consider placing a marble birdbath in the center of your back yard near a tree.

Don’t stop with a garden. Opt for a kitchen or a den that is bordered in rows of windows. Install windows from the ceiling to the floor. Have them wrap around an entire side of your kitchen, making it easy for you to see across the back of your property for acres. Get maximum outdoor exposure by placing your kitchen island, sink and stove on the floor so that they face the windows.

More ways to bring gorgeous outdoor views into your home include opting for a home that has a bathroom window. You can get added privacy by placing the window up high enough so that no one can see inside the bathroom from outside your home.

Go for houses that have tennis courts and a swimming pool. Give yourself reasons to get outdoors. You don’t need a large budget to do this. For example, instead of buying expensive porch or patio furniture, get two colorful chairs from a local housing goods store. The aim is to soak in as many natural views and outdoor experiences as you can.

Of course,the best way to enjoy beautiful, natural views at home is to buy a house that’s located near a river, lake, gurgling stream, woods, desert plain, mountains or canyon. These settings offer amazing year round natural views. Houses in these types of breathtaking settings tend to also be pricey, for the views alone. But,all is not lost. You can cut down on these housing costs by bringing Mother Nature to you.

If you were to look at a photo of a suburban neighborhood from the 1950s and one from today, you would notice many similarities. The houses have gotten much larger, but they still have perfectly manicured lawns and milky white fences. American culture has come a long way since the days of nuclear families. An emphasis on conservation and environmentalism has added recycling bins to many of our homes. But by and large our backyards remain mostly unchanged. Some people are electing to deviate from those norms to make their homes and yard more eco-friendly. Part of that change has been to adapt natural landscaping techniques that make your backyard seem less chiseled-out and more a part of its natural environment. With proper planning and care, natural landscaping can give your yard both a modern and natural look, and it won't look messy or overgrown. Here are some tips to get you started on natural landscaping in your backyard.

Native planting

A big part of natural landscaping is understanding your local plant life. Planting flora that is native to your area is not only helping your yard look more natural but also helping your local plant and wildlife. Often we bring in "exotic" plants and flowers without understanding the ecological issues that can arise from invasive species, both on other plants as well as on the local animals. So what are some ways you could alter your yard to house more local plant life? That depends entirely on your taste and on your local flora. If you live in a coastal, warm area, you might choose a sand or shell path in your yard that leads through tall grasses. If you live inland it might make more sense to choose stones or pebbles for your walkway and a variety of shrubs, flowers, and grasses for around the yard.

Lawn dividers

You won't find any white picket fences naturally occurring in the woods. But nature has its own barriers that can be adapted for use around your property. Vines, trees, bushes, and even rocks can all be used as natural barriers. People have used rock walls to mark of their property for centuries, and for good reason: they last forever (with some occasional maintenance) and they compliment the natural environment of your yard.

Make your lawn livable

Your lawn should be hospitable for your plants, your local wildlife, and for you. Using natural wooden benches, tree swings, and maintained paths will make your backyard look like the walkthrough gardens that we see in old English manor houses. But you should also keep in mind the birds, bugs, and other animals that will frequent your yard. By not using chemical insecticides or weed killers you're already helping your local wildlife thrive. But you can attract even more birds by setting inconspicuous feeders in the trees around your yard.

What's to gain from natural landscaping?

Aside from looking nice, natural landscaping has countless other benefits. When you're growing plants native to your area you know the plants are predisposed to grow well in your yard. That means less maintenance, watering, and less money spent buying replacements for dead plants. You'll be helping the local wildlife fit in, and you'll be helping yourself by giving your yard a refreshing, natural look.

Have you admired dry stacked stone retaining walls and would like to add a similar hardscaping element to your landscape? Dry stacked stone walls are relatively easy to build and provide a natural looking retaining wall to control hillside erosion, define a property boundary, or provide an attractive edging to flowerbeds. However, if improperly designed and constructed, stone walls can be a lot more trouble than they are worth. Prone to collapsing, poorly constructed dry stacked stone is often in need of re-stacking. To avoid problems when building a dry stacked stone wall, it is wise to keep a few points in mind. Selecting Stones Whether you gather stones from your property, harvest stone from a public area or order stone from a masonry contractor, be sure to choose a stone that compliments your home’s building materials. If you have a stone fireplace or stone trim on the structure, choose a matching stone. Sort Out Your Stones Go through your stone pile and make separate piles of the largest stones for cornerstones and building the base. You will need a good supply of long, narrow stones for anchoring the wall, and a healthy supply of smaller stones to fill gaps and crevices. A Solid Base To retain structural integrity, a stacked stone wall needs to sit “in” the ground, not “on” it. Dig a four to six-inch deep trench where you intend to construct the stonework. The trench should be at least six inches wider than the wall, allowing approximately three inches on each side of the base. Line the trench with landscape fabric. The width of the fabric should be two times the width of the trench. Add two to three inches of gravel to the trench. Tamp down the gravel and level with a garden rake. After leveling the gravel, wrap the excess fabric over the top of the gravel, placing the first layer of stone on top of the gravel layer. Wrapping the gravel layer in landscape fabric prevents soil and root intrusion, which can hinder drainage and cause frost heaving. When laying down the first layer of stone, select large, flat stones to create a solid base that is easy to build upon. Fill spaces between the larger stones with smaller stones. Anchoring The Wall In Place Failing to anchor the wall in place is the most common mistake made by do-it-yourself homeowners. To effectively anchor your wall to a hillside or slope, start with the third layer, and in each successive third layer, placing long and narrow stones as anchors. Position the anchor stones with the narrow side flush with the front of the wall, and the long side jutting out perpendicular to the wall, into the hillside or slope. Position anchor stones about six feet apart. Lean Into It A dry stacked stone wall needs to lean. The wall may be required to hold back thousands of pounds of soil, which requires an inch of angle for every 12 inches of vertical height. Fill In Gaps As You Go Failing to fill in the gaps between stones is another common pitfall in stonewall construction. Gaps between stones allow soil to build up and moisture to collect, causing the wall to buckle and collapse, so fill in the spaces between rocks as you go.