Harbor Side

The Charge: For Joyce, one of the most rewarding aspects of being in business for over thirty years is repeat clients. Twelve years after designing and implementing an award-winning garden for the summer home of a young family, her former clients invited Joyce to participate in a Patrick Ahearn home remodel project by providing a landscape plan for the entire property and supervising the installation. Patrick Ahearn Architect LLC, Edgartown and Boston, MA specializes in historically motivated architecture and interior design, and has completed a wide range of projects nationally and internationally.

The Challenge: The site posed many challenges to everyone involved in the project. Setback requirements had become stricter since the 1970's home had first been built, and most of the property was now subject to the MA Wetlands Protection Act and this coastal town's Conservation Protective Bylaw. Recent storm activity had caused scouring of the coastal bank, threatening to undermine a concrete bullhead established when the home site had been the former site of an operational United States Navy airfield, first established as a blimp base during World War I! While the bulkhead at the top of the coastal bank was an asset to the proposed project, the expansive concrete hanger floors with embedded railroad tracks buried just 14" below the soil surface were not.

The Solution: The home renovation and landscape projects received permitting, and accolades, from local municipal departments and neighbors as a result of compliance with all regulations and a concerted effort to protect and improve the site. These measures included the non-disruptive installation of a more protective sea wall, restoration of the coastal bank, removal of exotic invasive plants, improving soils by removing buried steel and concrete, providing mitigation and restoration plantings, establishing native wildlife corridors and native wildlife habitat, controlling erosion, and enhancing aesthetics of the property in keeping with the neighborhood.

Ecological Landscape Design and Sustainability: Hardscape materials were crafted of re-purposed and historically significant weathered granite, in keeping with the home's historical architectural details. The clients love exuberant cottage gardens, so ornamental plantings consist of layered trees, shrubs, understory plants and ground cover. The plantings are dense and lush, and species varied. These colorful gardens are comprised mostly of pollinator plants with benefit to bees, butterflies, and birds. Compost, rather than bark mulch, is used to dress the plant beds, and it will be continually worked into the soil to feed the plants and improve soil structure.