5 low-maintenance cabin landscaping ideas

Tips to create a fuss-free curb appeal that attracts guests


Whether your cabin is nestled in the woods or sitting along a lakefront shore, your home’s exterior is as much a draw as what’s inside. Attractive curb appeal can boost your bookings. But it can also require a lot of resources and maintenance if not done right.

With thousands of cabins in our vacation rental portfolio—from Washington to Tennessee, California to Vermont—we know how to achieve simple cabin landscaping that makes an impact. Follow these expert-backed tips for low-maintenance cabin landscaping that requires minimal upkeep, while earning you more.

1. Build a deck

One way to reduce your landscaping efforts? Replace landscaping with something else entirely. One of the best things to consider—outdoor living spaces like decks and patios, which are magnets for guests. Although winter travelers can’t get much use out of them—that is, unless you have a hot tub outside (another big draw for guests)—they’re a huge asset to beef up your bookings throughout the rest of the year.

Instead of planting, watering, and pruning, you can focus on decorating the space for entertaining, dining, and lounging. Just be sure to purchase furniture and fabrics made of weather-resistant materials like POLYWOOD® lumber and Sunbrella®.

2. Bring on the mulch

Mulch comes with a litany of benefits for your cabin landscaping, such as:

  • Decreasing the need for weeding.
  • Adding nutrients naturally to the soil.
  • Lowering your water bill, since its super absorbency maintains moisture in the soil for long periods of time.
  • Protecting roots from winter’s frost damage.
  • Keeping soil cool and maintaining its moisture on hot days.

Mulch can be any substance that you spread over the soil. Some organic materials include pine straw, wood chips, or shredded leaves. Inorganic choices could be small stones or crushed lava rock.

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3. Mimic Mother Nature

Look through the window and take a cue from what already grows naturally in that area. Doing this alone can instantly decrease the amount of work you have to put into maintaining your cabin landscaping. Afterall, these local plants are already accustomed to—and can survive and thrive—in local weather conditions.

Think evergreen trees such as pines and spruce. And, say goodbye to fussy plants like peonies, hydrangeas, and roses. While it’s nearly impossible to have a zero-maintenance landscape, planting native perennials, trees, and shrubs means you don’t have to commit extra to primp, prune, and water to keep them in tip-top shape.

4. Consider how the plants will grow

Do your research before digging into that soil. Find out the mature height and width of the trees and shrubs before you plant. You don’t want these to eventually grow too close to your cabin or hit power lines overhead.

Log cabins require special consideration. It’s best to leave about three to five feet of space between your cabin and any landscaping. This helps maintain air flow, which in turn helps prevent mold and mildew. Keeping your landscaping a distance from your cabin can also help reduce the risk of fires.

5. Control how much you water

While choosing native plants suffices to help conserve water, there’s even more you can do. Some other water- and money-saving tips:

  • Set up a drip system that can automatically turn on and off to disperse moisture at a steady pace.
  • Invest in an in-ground sprinkler system that can sense current moisture levels (say, from a recent rainy day) so that you don’t overwater.

The ideal landscaping for your cabin should save you time and money. Plus, also complement your cabin’s natural surroundings—offering an escape to the wilderness too good to pass up. Follow these simple tips to create a foolproof, lifelong landscape design that requires minimal work, while boosting your home’s curb appeal.

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