Cumberland Foreside, Maine *featured in the Feb 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine*
The gardens around this vintage 1740 Cape have evolved much like the house itself - sometimes out of necessity and other times for a simple desire for more space & more beauty.
Our involvement began with the homeowner's plans for an addition to the back of the house that would displace a favorite part of her existing garden. After moving & reconfiguring the brick patio and pergola, we transplanted numerous trees and plants into other suitable areas of the yard. We then buried most of the back lawn with a large oval mounded bed, which automatically converted the remaining lawn to a network of curving grassy pathways that lead through the gardens. We continued by expanding and reshaping the existing back yard perimeter beds, giving them stronger more fluid lines and providing a more continuously curvilinear shape throughout, so that now there appears to be neither beginning nor end to the garden.
Throughout all the gardens, we reconfigured the planting scheme with countless new shrubs, specimen trees, perennials and flowering bulbs.
To integrate the newly completed addition with the landscape, we created new gardens around its foundation, along with a brick and granite stoop (reflecting an existing stoop across the way), added drip edges filled with river stones, and custom-built wall trellises for the south and west-facing facades. These gardens were shaped and planted contextually with the other gardens.
Fortunately, the homeowner had already established attractive hardscaping behind the house, including all the brick work, a stone wall, and a small but beautiful pond with waterfall, around which we planted a dense tapestry of conifers and other dwarf plants & groundcovers.
Previously, the front yard was open to the busy street, with only lawn from the curb up to the large foundation Yews, which were out-of-scale and concealing too much of the home's charming facade. The narrow side yard connecting front & back was an inaccessible catch-all for the property.
Beginning with a classic white picket fence - used to provide a sense of enclosure - we set about a complete overhaul of the front yard (first), and then transformed the secluded side yard into a 'secret garden', packed with woodland plants that flank a carefully fitted flagstone path, so that now it is possible to enjoy a seamless garden stroll throughout the entire property.
Regardless of all the creative and physical work we have done to transform and evolve this property over many years, the homeowner's personality is apparent throughout. Fortified by her travels, a collection of garden ornament and her great love of gardens, she has remained engaged throughout the process, with her sparkle and wit apparent at every turn.
Trellis designs by James McCain, built and installed by Adam Rosenbaum of CSI Builders. Fencing by Ron Forest & Sons Fence Co.