Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Landscape Architect Visit: A Dreamy Property in the Suburbs that “Invites the Meadow In”

Search

Landscape Architect Visit: A Dreamy Property in the Suburbs that “Invites the Meadow In”

March 3, 2021

Unlike so many homeowners who aim to tame and tamp down the wilderness around them, landscape architect Michelle Crowley’s clients wanted to welcome it in. Originally, their property in Concord, MA, featured large swathes of lawn, with views of a historic meadow beyond. The line between the two was stark and inelegant. Michelle and her team at Crowley Cottrell Landscape Architecture, along with Robert Hanss, whose company oversaw the landscape construction, were charged with moving that line closer to the house and blurring it.

“Our clients recognized the significance of this unique and ecologically sensitive location on the edge of a wet meadow surrounded by an historic wall. To honor this, we invited the meadow across the wall, all the way up to the street, converting the majority of the land into low-maintenance, beautiful, and valuable habitat,” says Michelle. “We then carved out areas for play lawns, gardens, and terraces. The effect is a living space floating in a meadow, tied to the context of the place.”

The landscape team used a variety of methods to grow and enlarge the meadow landscape. There were areas where they just let the lawn grass grow, and then seeded in wild flowers and native grasses. In other areas, they seeded an entirely new meadow.

The overall effect is pleasingly low-lawn, low-maintenance, and anti-suburban. “It is so different having a meadow coming right up to the house and along the road, the areas where you would expect to see lawn,” notes Michelle. “The more we can get people off of focusing on lawns, the better for the environment.”

Join us for a tour.

Photography by Justine Hand, courtesy of Robert Hanss, Inc.

Carex pennsylvanica, an Acer saccharum, and a Stewardia pseudocamellia at the driveway to the parking court. The house is designed by Albert Righter Tittmann Architects.
Above: Carex pennsylvanica, an Acer saccharum, and a Stewardia pseudocamellia at the driveway to the parking court. The house is designed by Albert Righter Tittmann Architects.
The parking court and front colonnade porch are flanked by a hedge of Ilex crenata, Nepeta x faassenii, Carex pennsylvanica, Lavendula angustifolia, Polystichum acrostichoides, Anenome, and Gallium odoratum. To the right, is a transplanted Cornus kousa that was part of the original home’s landscape.
Above: The parking court and front colonnade porch are flanked by a hedge of Ilex crenata, Nepeta x faassenii, Carex pennsylvanica, Lavendula angustifolia, Polystichum acrostichoides, Anenome, and Gallium odoratum. To the right, is a transplanted Cornus kousa that was part of the original home’s landscape.
Reclaimed granite step and foundation on the front porch, joining natural cleft bluestone. (To learn how to build your own bluestone walkway, go here.)
Above: Reclaimed granite step and foundation on the front porch, joining natural cleft bluestone. (To learn how to build your own bluestone walkway, go here.)
The cleft bluestone porch overlooks seeded meadow grasses and wildflowers. Mature yews begin the transition into the woodland of the property. &#8\2\20;We worked hard to match the textures and colors of the existing fields so the separate meadow spaces blend together. In fact, throughout the project, it was important to connect materials to location,&#8\2\2\1; says Robert Hanss.
Above: The cleft bluestone porch overlooks seeded meadow grasses and wildflowers. Mature yews begin the transition into the woodland of the property. “We worked hard to match the textures and colors of the existing fields so the separate meadow spaces blend together. In fact, throughout the project, it was important to connect materials to location,” says Robert Hanss.
The outdoor dining terrace was made using natural cleft bluestone salvaged from the original house.
Above: The outdoor dining terrace was made using natural cleft bluestone salvaged from the original house.
A bluestone path winds through the courtyard garden planted with Cimicifuga racemosa, Clethra alnifolia, Ilex verticillata, Asarum Europaeum, Anenome, and Gallium odoratum.
Above: A bluestone path winds through the courtyard garden planted with Cimicifuga racemosa, Clethra alnifolia, Ilex verticillata, Asarum Europaeum, Anenome, and Gallium odoratum.
A reclaimed trough was repurposed as a water fountain with a spigot to create a soft sound in the courtyard. The fountain, purchased from New England Garden Company, is surrounded by Hakonechioa macra, Gallium odoratum and Tiarella.
Above: A reclaimed trough was repurposed as a water fountain with a spigot to create a soft sound in the courtyard. The fountain, purchased from New England Garden Company, is surrounded by Hakonechioa macra, Gallium odoratum and Tiarella.
The garage, designed to look like a barn-like outbuilding, is surrounded by a fescue and low-grow wildflower meadow. In the foreground is a Cornus kousa, complementing a large Cornus kousa that was transplanted from the original landscape. Trees in the background are an Acer saccharum and a Quercus alba.
Above: The garage, designed to look like a barn-like outbuilding, is surrounded by a fescue and low-grow wildflower meadow. In the foreground is a Cornus kousa, complementing a large Cornus kousa that was transplanted from the original landscape. Trees in the background are an Acer saccharum and a Quercus alba.
Meadow now on both sides of the historic stone wall. The meadow seed mix here is “Low-Growing Wildflower & Grass Mix&#8\2\2\1; from Ernst Seed in Connecticut. Primary grass is Fescua ovina with some Lolium multiflorum for establishment. Wildflowers include: Chrysanthemum maximum, Coreposis lanceolata, Rudbeckia hirta, Chamaecrista fasciulata, Papaver rhoeas, Achillea millefolium, Asclepias tuberosa, Aster oblongifolius, Pycanthemum tenuifolium, and Zizia aurea.
Above: Meadow now on both sides of the historic stone wall. The meadow seed mix here is “Low-Growing Wildflower & Grass Mix” from Ernst Seed in Connecticut. Primary grass is Fescua ovina with some Lolium multiflorum for establishment. Wildflowers include: Chrysanthemum maximum, Coreposis lanceolata, Rudbeckia hirta, Chamaecrista fasciulata, Papaver rhoeas, Achillea millefolium, Asclepias tuberosa, Aster oblongifolius, Pycanthemum tenuifolium, and Zizia aurea.
Mown paths are created throughout the property to allow people to engage in the diverse meadow types and topography, as well as to get a closer view into wetland beyond.
Above: Mown paths are created throughout the property to allow people to engage in the diverse meadow types and topography, as well as to get a closer view into wetland beyond.
In place of a mundane lawn, the meadow now encourages active wildlife within the property and creates a beautiful vista from the house.
Above: In place of a mundane lawn, the meadow now encourages active wildlife within the property and creates a beautiful vista from the house.
A productive vegetable garden is situated on the front side of the house near the parking court.
Above: A productive vegetable garden is situated on the front side of the house near the parking court.

For more on meadow landscapes, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0