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Landscape Designer Visit: A Charming Cottage Garden Outside of Boston

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Landscape Designer Visit: A Charming Cottage Garden Outside of Boston

April 15, 2019

Dedham, Massachusetts is replete with historic charm. With tree-lined streets bordered by quaint stone walls, the town on the edge of Boston boasts some of the finest examples of classic New England architecture and landscapes.

Picture a 19th-century, gable-front home (painted an archetypal farmhouse red), owned by a pair of avid gardeners looking to make the most of their historic plot.

Landscape architect Trudie LaVigne and Bob Hanss Landscape Construction teamed up to help them, devising a plan to transform a long, sloping site into the ultimate New England cottage garden. Taking their cue from the many historic stone walls throughout the neighborhood, the team installed a series of stone terraces to create many intimate garden “rooms”—each distinct but with a cohesive design to create “a similar spirit.” ”

This was a highly detailed property,” Hanss noted, adding that “each part was carefully considered to strengthen the cottage feel.”

Photography by Justine Hand.

Wherever possible Bob Hanss used salvaged granite to match the original walls on site.
Above: Wherever possible Bob Hanss used salvaged granite to match the original walls on site.

On the street side of the property LaVigne and Hanss left things simple, encouraging the the two specimen maples to take center stage. Here they extended the original stone wall up the drive, a feature which not only frames the front yard but also provides a gentle transition into the landscape.

A gravel drive, lined with more salvaged granite, enhances the informal cottage feel. Here a lush border of shade-loving plants create a textured privacy screen from the neighboring house.
Above: A gravel drive, lined with more salvaged granite, enhances the informal cottage feel. Here a lush border of shade-loving plants create a textured privacy screen from the neighboring house.
Located at the back of the property, the main garden and outdoor recreation areas are hidden from the road and driveway by the homes as well as flowers, trees, pergolas, and a quaint picket fence. Through one of only several entrances to this secret garden, a historically inspired brick path leads through the garden gate.
Above: Located at the back of the property, the main garden and outdoor recreation areas are hidden from the road and driveway by the homes as well as flowers, trees, pergolas, and a quaint picket fence. Through one of only several entrances to this secret garden, a historically inspired brick path leads through the garden gate.
Surrounded by vine-covered pergolas, flowers trees, and perennial borders, the house seems to merge with the garden.
Above: Surrounded by vine-covered pergolas, flowers trees, and perennial borders, the house seems to merge with the garden.
Creating a path that leads past the pool to the lower-level vegetable gardens, four garden beds edged with cobble stones host herbs and flowers.
Above: Creating a path that leads past the pool to the lower-level vegetable gardens, four garden beds edged with cobble stones host herbs and flowers.
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The owner’s dog finds a shady spot among the raised beds.
A gently sloping path leads from the herb gardens past the pool to a vegetable garden and wilderness beyond. Again taking a cue from the front stonework, Hanss builts a system of stone terraces supported by retaining walls.
Above: A gently sloping path leads from the herb gardens past the pool to a vegetable garden and wilderness beyond. Again taking a cue from the front stonework, Hanss builts a system of stone terraces supported by retaining walls.
Hidden from the main house by a stone retaining wall and lush plantings, the plunge pool feels like a private oasis. A low rock garden on the opposite side provides an unobstructed view of the woods that abut the property.
Above: Hidden from the main house by a stone retaining wall and lush plantings, the plunge pool feels like a private oasis. A low rock garden on the opposite side provides an unobstructed view of the woods that abut the property.
A patio made from natural-cleft bluestone provides a secluded lounging spot.
Above: A patio made from natural-cleft bluestone provides a secluded lounging spot.
Surrounded by abundant perennials such as Shasta daisies, as well as terra cotta pots planted with vibrant annuals, the rose-covered pool house enhances the cottage feel.
Above: Surrounded by abundant perennials such as Shasta daisies, as well as terra cotta pots planted with vibrant annuals, the rose-covered pool house enhances the cottage feel.
Along the side of the house a stone patio and generous lawn provide a spot for outdoor recreation and entertaining.
Above: Along the side of the house a stone patio and generous lawn provide a spot for outdoor recreation and entertaining.
A fountain provides a focal point in the main lawn.
Above: A fountain provides a focal point in the main lawn.

Visit more of terraced New England landscapes by Bob Hanss and his team:

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