The Appleton House is one of a set of twin, red brick, bowfront townhouses located in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood overlooking Boston Common. This stately townhouse was designed by architect Alexander Parris in 1817 & built for prominent Bostonian Nathan Appleton in 1821. In 1977, the townhouse was designated a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2019, new owners purchased the property and embarked on extensive improvements to the street, courtyard and rooftop gardens. The owners desired a strengthened connection between indoor and outdoor space and an updated program for the historic property. Drawing inspiration from the historic, architectural and neighborhood context, the design incorporates an ornamental lattice structure, a classic plant palette, and granite paving and walls to create an urban oasis, humanistic in scale and proportion.
The transformation begins at the front entry, where the main façade is a feature of prominent Beacon Street. The refined plant selection of boxwood and hydrangea complements the stonework and metalwork to emphasize the historic architecture. Moving to the interior of the home, the front entry begins an enfilade that terminates in the courtyard. The courtyard, framed with decorative lattice panels, features a seating group set beneath the dappled shade of canopy trees. On the roof top, boxwood hedges, zinc planters, and a custom fire table create a series of outdoor living spaces, culminating with sweeping views of the Boston skyline.
Perched atop a hill in the American Mile historic district of Concord, Massachusetts, and patterned after the Longfellow House on Brattle Street in Cambridge, this circa 1900 residence is a remarkable example of Georgian Revival architecture. Originally constructed for Charles Hovey Pepper, a renowned landscape and portrait painter, this home is situated near Authors’ Ridge, an area where many notable authors lived including Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau.
Considering the historical context of the residence and coinciding with a significant architectural renovation, the design of the landscape utilizes a series of broad gestures to preserve and refine the character and quality of the grounds. Framing the main body of the residence, a stand of London plane trees is complemented by layers of playfully grouped boxwood, while a broad retaining wall adds structure to the landscape.
At the side of the residence, an intimately sized fountain terrace provides contrast to the scale of the grand front and rear yards, where layers of hydrangea and perennials encompass the circular garden. Underplanted with frames of boxwood and set along a lush perennial walk, a pair of London plane trees in the rear recall the design language of the front. The landscape as a whole has been elevated to a level of thoughtfulness and composure that matches the stature of the architecture.
New homeowners of a historic, Shingle style home in the suburbs of Greater Boston were looking for a landscape that would complement the architecture and encourage an outdoor lifestyle. Perched on a rise, the siting of the house is unique as the front façade faces away from the street from which the property is primarily accessed. Resolving this orientation of the home was central to the design of the landscape.
Broad, arching lawn stairs at the rear terrace were introduced to reorient the outdoor living space towards the street, capturing views of the rolling lawn, a magnificent European beech tree, and a cricket club in the distance. Though the architecture is eccentrically sited, a central gallery through the front entry of the residence defines an axis that informs the layout of pathways, spaces, and focal features.
Throughout the property, a planting palette limited to greens and whites emphasizes form and texture, complementing the architecture and surrounding outdoor spaces. The design of the landscape integrates several connections between the interior and exterior rooms, providing areas for cooking, dining, and entertaining, each thoughtfully positioned based on their intended use.
Nestled in the suburbs of Greater Boston, a bold new residence with strong axial elements is complimented by an equally striking landscape. Viewed from the front, tall, columnar trees frame the main body of the architecture, accenting the elongated proportions of the home’s generous windows. Layers of boxwood hedge soften the presence of the arrival court and stone façade.
Sets of stone piers topped with lush planters and a diamond motif featured in custom gates and paving patterns are recurring elements to the design, which create a sense unity throughout the landscape. Broad stairs bring one from the arrival court to the front entry, where a view along the central axis of the residence looks to the terrace in the rear.
Embraced by the architecture and surrounded by lush plantings of hydrangea and boxwood, outdoor living spaces are the centerpiece of the landscape. Areas for outdoor cooking, sitting, and entertaining are paved with Cape Neddick granite that complements the tones of the residence. As the sun sets, lighting set in the garden and a warm glow from within the home bring the outdoor living spaces to life.
The owners of a renovated Shingle Style home on two acres in Weston, Massachusetts, enjoy taking walks on their woodland-bordered property adjacent to the town reservoir. Passionate about the historic property, they sought to elevate the landscape to the level of their Queen Anne-detailed house.
Drawing on scale and proportion, the design of the landscape is classically inspired and includes an enhanced arrival sequence, the establishment of outdoor rooms, and bespoke elements that build off and respect the character of the architecture. The design and materials relate closely to the semi-rural New England setting and prioritize making a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.
A fieldstone wall guides visitors from the shared road to a private entry announced by piers beyond which a drive curves into a full-on view of the residence across a natural-stone parking court. From here, bluestone steppers usher visitors to an extensive perennial walk, which in turn leads to the terrace, where hydrangea soften a bowfront wall. The outdoor spaces culminate at the terrace and integrated pergola, a gathering area with a sculptural fireplace, water features, and a view of the great lawn’s preserved red maple—a mature and majestic counterpoint to innovation.
From the stone farm wall along the road to the American flag flying high, Emerson Woods is a quintessential New England residence. With views west to a secluded pond and a dense periphery of mature trees, the design of the landscape was conceived to be an extension of the already striking natural features.
from the drive, guests are met with a sweeping view of the residence and are led
to an arrival court bracketed by boxwood hedges. Composing much of the site’s
open area is a meadow of wildflowers and tall grasses, contributing to the
rural, New England charm. Pea stone walks lined with a simple, yet colorful
perennial palette introduce an intimate garden setting directly around the
At the rear and centered on the main body of the house, a set of rustic, grassy stairs begin a mown path down a steep slope towards the pond. A dining terrace adjacent to the kitchen inside provides a tranquil setting for summertime dinners, where the sound of a traditional fountain can be heard across the way.
Not far from a stretch of the Charles River in the rural suburbs of Boston, Rocky Narrows presents a landscape at the intersection of rustic and refined. In achieving this aesthetic, the design of the landscape utilizes two fundamental elements: form in the sense of topography and landscape features, and materials in the sense of planting, masonry and timber.
Defining the landform of the site, a soft, yet definitive grade break sets the residence on a pedestal, where only a select few sets of granite stairs traverse the gentle slope. Graceful curves inform the layout of the drive, which leads guests to an arrival court held by a tapered fieldstone retaining wall.
A consistent palette of natural materials provides lush greens and brilliant whites in the planting, while masonry and timber contribute complimentary earth tones. Featured on two reclaimed granite piers, a three rail gate hangs at the front entry, while additional piers move up the drive matched by sugar maples on the opposite side. Encompassing the remainder of the yard is a split rail fence, terminating an adjacent slope and allowing wildflowers to peer over each rail.
Set in a rural, forested context, High Meadow is a nearly six-acre site characterized by wooded uplands with rolling topography and prominent ledge outcrops. The residence, standing on the highest point of the property, attracted clients who saw an opportunity to realize the potential of the previously underutilized landscape. A series of programmatic elements were then identified to include in the design: a swimming pool and spa, fire pit, and a barn and pool house to be sited in collaboration with a local architect.
Foremost, a sequencing of spaces was developed to organize the primary elements of the landscape. Beginning at the pool house, the architecture extends above the stone terrace with the use of a pergola, from which the pool and spa directly abut. Trees and shrubs flank the pool house, stepping down to a lush meadow of wildflowers, tall grasses, and finally to the lawn. The result is a gradual transition from the architecture to the expanse of the lawn, matched by the barn on the opposite side of the yard.
Graceful curves shape paths of bluestone steppers and garden edges throughout the landscape, leading the eye towards focal elements and informing movement. A traditional fieldstone fire pit remains in character with existing masonry, while providing a central node to gather around. The result of the design is an arrangement of landscape elements that cater towards an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Set back from the street and buffered by topography and mature stands of trees, this property offered a unique opportunity to create a tranquil setting for a new home within a suburban context. From the onset, the existing landform and vegetation at the periphery were identified as resources to be upheld. By doing so, the existing relationship of the property to its context would be maintained, and privacy within the property could be preserved.
Contributing to a heightened arrival sequence, a chip seal drive passes through an existing woodland softened with fern and understory plantings, before turning to redirect views across an open lawn to the residence. Proceeding towards a towering copper leaf beech tree, the arrival sequence culminates at an elliptical forecourt, where magnolias frame the main body of the residence.
In the rear yard, a stone terrace is framed with evergreen hedges and a simple, lush perennial palette. The design of the landscape is a direct response to the character of the architecture, where symmetry is maintained in the form each space and natural materials compliment the relaxed nature of the shingle style façade.
On a suburban site of less than half an acre, new homeowners were looking to establish their landscape as an extension of the character and quality of their residence. Specific programmatic elements to the design of the landscape included a revised arrival sequence, privacy screening from the road and adjacent properties, and the incorporation of outdoor living amenities.
Framed by traditional entry piers, a circular auto court was introduced to manage multiple circulation routes through the arrival sequence. The geometry of the auto court is reinforced by an expansive monolithic bluestone staircase, met by a series of grass-jointed bluestone rows that lead guests to the main entry of the residence.
A relaxed stand of Holly encompasses the side yard, providing screening from the road, while a Yew hedge segmented by masonry piers offers privacy from an adjacent residence. In the rear yard, a water feature introduces auditory and visual interest as the focal feature from the terrace. Serving as a centerpiece to the terrace, a complementary fire feature defines an outdoor space to gather around.