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