Massachusetts Garden, USA

Private garden


Located between Boston and New York City, this project by Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd was centred around a new modernist house by American architects, Olsen Kundig.  Landscaping here was on a large scale and included the creation of a lake, native American prairie gardens around the buildings, as well as other elements on the wider property.

The new house is located in the shadow of existing pine trees on the edge of a prairie and hosts unhindered views west towards the Taconic Mountains. The area immediately around the building is not intended to be a ‘garden’ as such, but rather an enhanced version of the surrounding wild landscape and juxtaposed with the strong architectural forms of the building. Extensive care was taken in the placement of large boulders sourced from the property. These reflect the seams of bedrock in the adjacent prairie which were cleared of vegetation and exposed with air pressure hoses. Large schist stone paving slabs create paths and a sitting terrace.  A concrete path and low wall extend the architectural language of the house and help define the spaces around it. The trees and herbaceous planting are American natives to suit the setting and be more resilient against the grazing deer.

400 metres from the house in a woodland glade, an enclosed garden was created around an existing apple tree.  This garden is where the client grows vegetables and flowers for cutting. Based on the ideas of the hortus conclusus, or the paradise garden, it is in many ways a stockade of exotic botanicals against the surrounding wild landscape. 

This project was designed by Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd while Jem was an Associate there. His role was as lead landscape architect.

The house has been featured in Wallpaper magazine and you see more images of the project (when the garden was first planted) can be viewed on Olsen Kundig's website.