How to effectively capture the look and feel of Idaho’s backcountry in your backyard | Lance Ellis, EastIdahoNews.com
There is nothing as interesting and enjoyable as spending time in the forests or mountain areas in Idaho. Whether it’s the beauty, the quiet, the trees, the interesting rocks, the shade, the adventure, or any of the infinite reasons to go out and get away from the world; the backcountry of Idaho is an incredible place to enjoy.
Most jobs and locations aren’t conducive to having the time to get away after work, but with some planning, work and budgeting, you can create a backyard that has some of your favorite things from Idaho’s backcountry in your own yard.
To re-create the natural ecology of eastern Idaho, I would do the following things:
Select trees, shrubs, and grasses that are native to the inter-mountain region. Avoid plants that you wouldn’t naturally see out in the wilderness, and choose plants you enjoy while out hiking or enjoying the outdoors. A few examples include potentilla, douglas fir, columbine, wild geraniums, birches, and small low growing willows.
Living in the mountains, we have a wide variety of different kinds of rocks to choose from ranging from sandstone, river rocks, lava rocks, and many other kinds. The type of rock can add or detract from the style of the mountain landscape that you are trying to create.
Put your yard together the way that mother nature does, meaning don’t plant trees or shrubs in straight lines and instead put natural curves into the layout of your yard. Use groupings of plants to make your yard more reflective of what you see in the mountains. Aspens for example never grow alone in the mountains, nor do they grow in a straight line. Trees in natural settings grow in large groupings or clusters, which is why we call them either an entire forest or a grove of trees. This way of landscaping can work well with urban settings as most people would like the privacy, screening, and shade that a grove of trees would provide.
Lance Ellis | EastIdahoNews.com
Walkways can also be similar to how a trail might be laid out in nature. Most hiking trails in the wilderness started out as wildlife trails created by elk, deer, or moose. Later on, people started using these same walkways as hiking trails, so repeating a winding walkway or something like that in your yard adds to the feeling you are out in the woods rather than living in a subdivision.
While water features and small ponds may look attractive, they are a lot of work, are expensive, and are a drowning hazard for children. More authentic to our area than an actual water feature is a dry creek bed since we live in a high-altitude desert, and dry creek beds are quite common. Putting in a dry creek bed is a great way to utilize a difficult area in your yard that may not have a specific purpose, and also saves on water since plants used in dry creek beds are normally drought-tolerant, deep-rooted, and low maintenance.
For further gardening ideas, reach out to Lance at (208) 624-3102.
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