Charles River Estate

Settled in the rural outskirts of Boston, the Charles River Estate is a circa-1900 stucco country place sited on more than four acres of pastoral land. Perched on the highest point of the property, the residence looks east through mature trees to the Charles River, and west across a sweeping meadow. New owners with a young family acquired the estate and sought to restore and enhance the landscape.

Drawing from the classical tradition, a series of garden rooms were created to provide transitions from the west and south sides of the residence. These spaces include a lawn terrace, dining terrace, and a pool garden, all of which are planted with a restrained palette of green and white to complement the setting.

Existing stone walls were restored and modified, while new masonry stairs and piers were designed to match the existing craftsmanship. Traditional crossbuck gates and fences with traditional motifs complement the character of adjacent natural stone. A palette of natural materials in concert with traditional New England craftsmanship defines this property’s character and sense of place.

Pond’s Edge Estate

This formerly derelict estate was transformed and revitalized to reconnect the existing early twentieth-century architecture—a 1911 Chapman and Frazer-designed craftsman-style house—to a now thriving and inspiring environment. Defining scenic features of the site include a steep slope, striking views, and a decorative pond. Adjacent to the Hammond Pond Reservation, the property is located within the historic district of Chestnut Hill.

To address the owner’s wishes to rejuvenate the garden in the spirit of the neighborhood’s traditional character, the steep terrain was terraced to maximize sightlines from the house, offer mystery from the street, and delight from within the garden itself. New stone walls safeguard the pool, define entertaining and recreation areas, and display an organized transition from the house to the landscape beyond. Overgrown spaces were selectively cleared to sustain a variety of indigenous and heritage plant life. Hedges, gates, and entry piers beckon, guide, and add formality within the natural abundance. The pond was dredged and rescaled to become—along with a contiguous wet meadow—the focal point of the garden and a functional ecosystem once again.

Stonewood Garden

Located in one of Boston’s early twentieth-century suburban communities, this estate featured a 1928 stone-front colonial residence surrounded by lush eastern hemlock and its original period landscape. The owners, a family with young children, wished to better enjoy the space surrounding their house while retaining the jewel-like classical sensibility of the gardens.

Inspired by the stone house and the clients’ embrace of a raised pool garden concept, the new site plan maintained the organization and grade of the property. The formal walled garden was restored, while a significant expansion of the extant rear terraces allowed for a dining area, a spa and swimming pool, and an outdoor fireplace.

To further enhance the pool terrace, a lattice screen panel based on the Tuscan order creates a backdrop that includes an urn original to the garden. These gestures, along with a refined entry garden, create a unified setting that exhibits programmatic needs and vibrant connections to the architectural character of the property and neighborhood.

Cliff Ridge Estate

A striking Tudor-style home graces this historic 2.5-acre property in the Cliff Estates neighborhood of Wellesley, MA. Looking to update the property the owners undertook an extensive renovation of the house and grounds. The façade of the home and its historic character were preserved, while the rear of the home now presents architectural innovations and landscaping that reflect the lifestyle of the clients.

To transform and increase utility of the property, the clients wished to incorporate a pavilion with fireplace, a swimming pool, a dining terrace, an event space, and a renovated driveway and foundation planting. The design approach to the landscape mirrors that of the architecture. The front gardens and entry to the home are traditional in keeping with the formality of the Tudor style, while the design for the private backyard is contemporary and casual. The use of traditional materials, textures, and colors blend the contemporary renovations of the house to a landscape that resides comfortably within a traditional context.

Earl Major Estate

This historic 1930s Tudor revival home sits on 1.8 acres along a quiet residential road in Newton, MA. The clients undertook an extensive renovation of the property, which changed the way the house related to the site. The clients desired a landscape to match the significance, character, and quality of the home while addressing the programmatic needs of the family.

To accomplish this ambitious program, overgrown vegetation was cleared and the sloping site was re-graded to integrate the house, terraces, gardens, and a sweeping lawn. An intimate oval garden, constructed at the side of the residence, relates closely to the curves of the oriel window. DGLA oversaw the design and construction of masonry walls, detailed paving patterns in both brick and bluestone, and planting. The new site plan clarifies the arrival sequence, enhances circulation, defines well-proportioned outdoor spaces, and relates to the historic architecture of the home and surrounding neighborhood.