Menemsha Meadows

Inspired by the property’s history and unique natural beauty the new owners worked with the design team to transform the rural property from its agrarian roots to a year-round homestead. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Menemsha Hills and across the waters of Vineyard Sound, the property offered the potential for dramatic southwesterly views over the forest canopy to the borrowed landscape beyond. Working closely with the architect, the house was positioned to sit comfortably within the sloping terrain while capitalizing on the views.

As one enters the property, a peastone driveway ascends and follows a sweeping curve to arrive at a court in front of the distinctive contemporary residence. The home and a barn are set on axis across a broad glade which has been carefully edited and underplanted with a native meadow. Dry-laid fieldstone walls separate the maintained areas at the structures from the meadow.

At the rear of the home, a series of architectural and landscape spaces seamlessly connect to the home’s interior, providing a variety of options to experience the landscape and enjoy the sweeping southwesterly views. Irregular shaped steppingstones join the outdoor spaces and playfully erode into the landscape. The resulting landscape is a mosaic of thoughtfully designed spaces that sit comfortably within their surroundings.

Coastal Plains

Located on the southside of Martha’s Vineyard, Coastal Plains is comprised of two previously developed residential lots that lie adjacent to a series of horse paddocks as well as the Herring Creek Farm.  A short walk from the island’s beloved South Beach, the character of the property reflects the local outwash plains, noted for their sandy soils, stunted windswept trees, and expansive meadows.

Leading into the property, a pea stone driveway with reclaimed granite accent paving winds through a native meadow, while a series of privet hedges and ornamental grasses guide visitors to both arrival and parking courts. At the rear of the property, bluestone paving erodes into the lawn, softening the transition between the architectural and natural features of the site.  A well-crafted fire pit artfully combines fieldstone and granite to form a distinctive fire feature that can be enjoyed while overlooking the adjacent horse paddocks.

On the adjoining parcel of land, the new homeowners were looking to add a lap pool to the property. Designed to maximize views and anchor the pool garden, a pergola – bold in proportion but restrained in detail and materials – looks across a restored meadow and into the borrowed landscape of the farmland beyond.

Big Bluff

Prominently located on the coast of East Chop, Martha’s Vineyard, Big Bluff boasts big views due east towards the Nantucket Sound. Separated by a lightly trafficked neighborhood avenue, the residence is comprised of two buildings: a main house directly adjacent to the shore, and a guest house to the rear. As a result, the primary objective for the design of the landscape was to develop a language that would unify the two parcels.

To achieve this design objective, a repeating pattern is introduced utilizing bluestone steppers, where the edges of each stone are pushed and pulled, akin to the movement of waves. A single path featuring this pattern extends through the entire landscape, from the coastal front yard to the guest house in the rear. Reinforcing this connection are two nearly identical arbors in character with the architecture, each providing a gateway between the houses.

Maintaining the use of a natural materials palette, a unique feature of the landscape is a custom bicycle stand that carves out large notches in a single stone to rest and support tires within. At the front of the property, a select few openings in the native viburnum hedge allow for physical and visual connectivity to the ocean beyond. The hedge goes on to encompass a flagpole, standing proud at the northernmost point of the property.

Cape Cod Retreat

This narrow oceanfront property is located within a historic community on Cape Cod. The original 1930s shingle-style house and property underwent an extensive renovation, transforming the existing landscape to accommodate a gracious entry sequence and a generous program. This was accomplished while preserving the estate-like character, expansive ocean views, and the fragile ecosystem of the coastal dunes.

Today, the site’s identity is enhanced by a gradient planting scheme that progresses through the site. This begins at the entry with rhododendron and evergreen trees, which reflect the established character of the neighborhood and provide privacy. At the house, privet hedges and a grass lawn panel define the arrival court, while beach grass and native shrubs stabilize the dunes.

At the rear of the home, the pool and spa, a dining terrace, and lawn provide casual and inviting options. A pergola, enhanced with climbing roses, offers choices for seating and an unobstructed view of Nantucket Sound. The completed landscape balances the young family’s desire to have an intimate year-round retreat as well as the ability to host large gatherings during the summer.

Oak Groves

Situated on the northwest coast of Martha’s Vineyard, this property overlooks the Vineyard Sound. The rural landscape is defined by standing scrub oak groves and ledge outcroppings, which were preserved throughout construction. The drive winds through indigenous plantings to arrive at an informal pea stone auto court where a feature oak helps frame a glimpse to the water beyond. Working closely with the architect, a new house was sited to optimize views to the sound while integrating an existing guesthouse and pool within the new landscape.

Dry-stacked, rounded fieldstone walls reference the agrarian character found “up island” and serves to terrace the land for improved grade and circulation.  A circular mosaic terrace with broken edges intersects the pool in a gesture that strengthens the geometric connection between the pool, walkway with stairs, and main residence. Hydrangea, perennials, and grasses provide color during the summer months while native grasses and lowbush blueberry soften the edges of the property by forming a naturalistic border between the built and native landscape.