Finding the right landscaping to reflect the beautiful Idaho mountains and countryside is key to creating the best look for your rural home. It's the first thing that your guests will see and one of the aspects of your property that you'll spend the most time enjoying.

So, how can you choose the right rustic landscape design? Here are 4 keys to the perfect result.

Think About Use

The right yard layout begins and ends with how you want to use the space. The best way to plan the layout is with two steps: a list and a sketch.

First, write a list of the things you enjoy most about your outdoor space. Your list may include things like a particular view, a permanent deck or patio, and a garden. These are elements you can build upon. They should form a "skeleton" to begin your design.

Then, add a list of the things you want to be able to do in the yard after you're done building it. Do you want to enjoy evenings around the fire with friends? Or are you more of a solitary soul who enjoys walking along pathways in the woods? What are your favorite views, and how do they reflect your priorities? Do you want to encourage wildlife or keep it at a distance?

Identifying your personal goals and personal style will help you create a space that you'll get more use out of and find more enjoyment in.

Keep Things Loose

Mountain landscapes generally reflect nature at its wildest. This means that you probably want to skip the manicured lawn and leave the hedge trimmers in the shed. Crisp, clean lines are anomalous in nature, so they should be as few and far between as possible in your yard.

When you do trim bushes, trees and plants, do so by hand so that the shape embraces the randomness of nature. In addition, lawns, garden beds and pathways should include curves and a gently undulating look.

Along these lines, don't fight the occasional intrusion of nature as well. If some wildflowers (such as English daisies) pop up in the grass, enjoy them rather than mowing them down too soon. Let moss grow in some areas and encourage birds and bumblebees to enjoy the yard too.

Lead Guests Through

Once your key elements are in place and you know how you want to use the space, begin designing ways to move your guests through the space. Walkways should be wide and well-lit near the house so as to invite people to wander around outdoors. They should provide easy access to the main destinations in the yard -- things like a fire pit, entertainment lounge or your favorite viewpoint.

Farther away from the home, you may want to narrow the paths and use a softer flooring material. This effect can encourage walkers to slow down and enjoy the features of your yard. Throw in a spot to stop and sit for a while, too.

Go Native

When choosing plants and shrubbery for your mountain yard, look to the native elements around you for inspiration. Native, local plants generally require less care and water because they thrive in the climate already. This can be vitally important at higher altitudes. If you need help identifying local plants to use, work with a local landscape service .

By using flora native to your area of Idaho or the Northwest-often such beautiful and easy plants as columbine, cinquefoil or hyssop-you'll give the yard a bit of personality. It also helps you create an organic palette that's unique to your area and less generic.

However you combine these basic starting points, you're sure to end up with a mountain yard that you'll love to call home.