Doing Some Home Landscaping? Benefits Of Using Western Red Cedar To Enhance Your Personal Space

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you are doing some home landscaping that involves putting up decks or other structures, you want a wood that is insect and moisture resistant as well as pleasing to the eye. Western Red Cedar, grown along the Pacific Northwest, fits the bill quite nicely. The following is a brief description and history of this giant tree and an explanation of some of the benefits of using this fragrant wood.  A couple of unusual uses for Western Red Cedar are also included.

Western Red Cedar - Thuja Plicata

Stretching as much as 230 feet into the sky and with a trunk diameter of up to 13 feet, the Western Red Cedar dwarfs most other tree species. Native Americans along the Pacific Northwest coast relied on the tree for shelter, canoes, clothing, medicine, even burials. Totem poles were, and still are, carved out of entire trees, depicting the history of a specific tribe or family lineage. The Native Americans and First Nations people of Canada still revere this tree, offering a silent prayer when one is harvested.

Benefits of Using Western Red Cedar

  • The wood is reddish-brown in color with a fine, straight grain. Occasionally you'll find knots or stripes in the grain, adding visual interest. This makes cedar an excellent choice for construction projects where the end result is meant to be seen.
  • Cedar contains aromatic oils that resist wood rot, mold and mildew. For any kind of structural support post, this is ideal. Untreated cedar posts buried in the ground will stay intact much longer, even in damp climates. The oils also discourage insect infestations, keeping your deck or fence off the termite lunch menu. This explains why cedar is the material of choice for hope chests. Those same oils kept a maid's trousseau safe from moths and other insects.
  • Over time, cedar changes from the reddish brown to a silvery-gray color. If you like this rustic look, just leave the wood in its natural state. Treated cedar is available that minimizes the fade, or you can opt to stain and varnish the wood.
  • Though cedar "ages gracefully" it holds its shape. That means your fence will remain at full height and won't pull out of alignment. The same is true for decks and other structures.
  • Cedar grows in temperate rain forest conditions, so it handles moisture well. Just as in the forest, if too many plants or shrubs are planted next to the cedar, it could cause the wood to break down. But, the rate of decay is much slower than for most other woods, especially if the cedar is chemically treated. You can prevent the problem by thinning out nearby plants to provide better air flow.

Two Out-Of-The-Box Uses for Western Red Cedar

In addition to being an excellent building material for decks and fences, Western Red Cedar makes eye catching pergolas and relaxing saunas.

Pergolas

Pergolas are decorative wooden structures that have semi-open tops. They can be free-standing, usually having four corner posts, or be attached to your home as a patio or deck covering. It's common to hang planters from the slatted roof tops or along the sides of the posts. This makes cedar the perfect wood because you can water your plants without fear of damaging the pergola. The color of the wood, whether you keep the reddish tinge or go rustically gray, provides a pleasing visual contrast to the flowers and greenery.

Saunas

Western Red Cedar has been used for centuries by Pacific Northwest Native Americans to build saunas, or "sweat lodges." Saunas are just as popular today, often on the amenity list of upscale resorts. Most modern day saunas in the United States are built indoors. Outdoor saunas are catching on, though. Cedar prefabricated sauna kits are favorites of the DIY crowd. Or, you could come up with your own sauna design and visit your local lumber store. One popular sauna look resembles a giant wine barrel. That would be quite the conversation piece for your backyard space.

If you are interested in purchasing cedar lumber for your home landscaping project, then have a peek at this site.

 

 

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15 January 2015

inspecting the roof on your home

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