Beth MacFawn Restores Land with Native Wildflowers for this Cabin Retreat Near Madison Mountain Range

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Project by Beth MacFawn

Accessible to one of Montana’s premier ski resorts, Big Sky Resort, this cabin retreat has panoramic views to the nearby Madison Mountain Range which is home to Lone Peak – the biggest vertical descent for skiers in the United States.

The cabin, which resides approximately 8,800 feet above sea level, is neighbored by a “native forest full of old Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)” said Beth. 

When Beth MacFawn first arrived at the site, she noticed the natural environment surrounding the area, but the first view you see heading to the residence is a “large parking circle” which depreciated from the view of the nearby mountain range. (before images below)

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Before // Project by Beth MacFawn

Beth noticed “pockets in the landscape were planted with a distinct (non-native) purple leaf deciduous tree. This specimen was very distracting in the landscape and detracted from the coniferous forest” said Beth.

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Project by Beth MacFawn

While talking with the homeowner about the goals for the project, it was clear that the family wanted to “make a sustainable and larger impact not just for themselves, but also for guests and neighbors”

Beth focused on the specific area of the large parking circle while eradicating the non-native plants and “filling in voids and undisturbed portions of the landscape with native species.”

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Project by Beth BacFawn

After strategic analysis, Beth documented the site was flourishing with existing Fir and Lodgepole Pines. Within the landscape design, she integrated to “transplant more native conifers from 2 miles away” that were accustomed to growing in the same microclimate.

While the transplanting of mature trees was underway, the process to remove non-natives took about “1 year to completely remove the root systems and essentially had a blank slate to add wildflowers”.

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Project by Beth MacFawn

Incorporated in the design are “moss rock sandstone which is a native stone from eastern Montana” that pair well with the reclaimed timbers that were used to construct the residence.

Surrounding the home is now a native environment full of wildflowers that consists of Showy Goldeneye (Heliomeris multiflora), Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), and Showy fleabane (Erigeron speciosus) that took about 5 years to fill in and blend in with the surrounding landscape.

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Project by Beth MacFawn

Beth MacFawn, owner of Beth MacFawn Landscape Design, Inc. has been recognized for exceptional signature designs and quality installation since 1998.

Beth’s philosophy is to create harmony within the existing environment. Her enthusiastic use of native plants whenever possible enhances this philosophy. Whether for a mountain, riverside or prairie landscape, Beth’s designs frame an invitation into the unique aspects of your property.

She attended Montana State University, and received a degree in Horticulture, with an emphasis in Landscape Design, focusing on the use of native plants. She then worked in a local nursery for two years, learning the ropes of high altitude planting before starting her own landscaping business in 1998. She continues to embrace the diverse and spectacular aspects of the western landscape.

Landscape Designer: Beth MacFawn Landscape Design, Inc.

Landscape Contractor: Challenger Landscaping Inc.

Plant Nursery: Westscape Nursery

Photography: Dan Armstrong

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