The Care and Feeding of a View

Image of view over Puget Sound to Cascade Mountains at sunrise

Forester and slope stability expert Elliott Menashe sent me this lovely photo of his view. He sees the North Cascades and Steven’s Pass from a tower above his Whidbey Island home. It’s a very different vista from mine. I have no mountains for one thing. For another, he had to climb a tower to get this shot over the treetops. That’s what it would take for me to see mountains from here too, but the barrier for me isn’t trees, it’s a significant hunk of island.

Every view is different

I enjoy this kind of glimpse into what other people see from their properties. Even going to a neighbor’s home can be a revelation – though we look out at the same scenery every day, their perspective is different than mine. They may be higher, or lower, or angled more north, more south. A little shift can change everything.

The way you approach the view can change things too. We Bartlett’s chose to embrace the zen view. We left trees between the house and the bluff, to frame the scene, to create layers of interest and to give the birds a stage from which to entertain us. There’s no way we’d cut down those trees to “improve” our view.

Care for your view

A view, and the piece of land it starts from is a living thing. It takes care and feeding. Treat it well and it will reward you. Treat it badly and you could lose a chunk of it to a landslide.

A classic mistake most new landowners make is clearing all the vegetation off a site before assessing what service that vegetation provides. We just don’t know, we’re not trained to look at land that way. When the kind of rains we’ve had lately come along, the runoff from all the developed properties gathers together and rushes down hill. Sometimes that runoff is nicely contained in culverts and ditches, sometimes in saturated soil where vegetation has been removed, the result can be pretty messy.

To learn how best to treat your piece of land, and care for your view -especially if it’s on a slope or bluff, or involves water of any kind – consult with someone like Elliott, your local extension service or Shoreline Management agency. Every piece of property is different. There’s no out of the box solution for how best to treat the land. But there’s a wealth of information and knowledge out there to help.

Viewers atop an observation tower
The view of Elliott’s tower

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