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.
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.
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.