Spanning sixty acres on the coast of Rhode Island, the clients of this New England farm were looking for a comprehensive landscape that would take their disjointed property and make it cohesive, regionally-specific, and most importantly, comfortable.

Lovers of both nature as well as New England tradition, the clients delighted in greenery, clean palettes, and sweeping views, and welcomed the prospect of these plant materials uniting the property’s various buildings and amenities, all of which seemed randomly scattered among the open fields.

The goal, as articulated by Doug Hoerr, was to enhance the beauty already present by creating a sense of progression, scale, and discovery. The design team performed a thorough edit of the property, consolidating the vast landscape into a connective structure with discreet surprises around every corner.

Mature trees were planted along the entrance drive, to dignify it as a rustic allée. The patterning of split-rail fences and granite gateposts, fieldstone walls and paths, hedges and grass-and-gravel lanes punctuates the residential compound. Boundary lines as neat as crop rows parse distinct areas, such as the donkey paddock and the enlarged cutting garden.

Billowy shrubs and perennials soften transitions and gently shape intimate enclosures. East of the main house, full-grown trees were culled or transplanted and vast swathes of earth recontoured as greensward, transfiguring piecemeal glimpses of Narragansett Bay into a painterly vision of Arcadia.

The site’s comprehensive rejuvenation was performed with such expert subtlety, that it now looks as if it has been there all along.

ASLA Illinois Merit Award 2020