The homeowners of this Wellesley property asked for an elegant landscape that would enhance the classic architecture of their new home. To achieve this goal on a challenging site with a noticeable slope, Shoplick Landscape Architecture proposed a series of retaining walls that created level plinths, 'shoulders' upon which major parts of the building would sit.
Substantial efforts were made to grade the site so that the main body of the house would stand on a level area. In front of, and on axis with the home's front door, a rectangular drive court drops guests at the foot of low wide bull-nosed steps that gently lead up to the entryway. Low boxwood hedges frame the drive court, and symmetrical front yard plantings emphasize the alignment of indoor and outdoor spaces that extend from the street's edge to the front door and through the house to the bluestone terrace in the backyard.
To gracefully meet the finished floor elevations of the home's two garages and in-law apartment Shoplick Landscape Architecture again employed retaining walls to hold back the surrounding slope. In the front of the house a retaining wall supports the driveway leading up to the top garage while forming an intimate and accessible garden passageway to the apartment's front door below. The apartment's entry walk is planted with Little Princess Spiraea, Lavender, and America Climbing Roses. In the rear of the house a stepped retaining wall forms a shady private patio for the apartment. The patio's garden incorporates Vertical Yews, Frances William Hosta, White Nancy Lamium, and Itea.
While much of the planting adjacent to the home is comprised of closely clipped and symmetrically configured hedges, the plants along the wooded periphery of the site are randomly grouped, and respond to the varying conditions created by sun, shade, and proximity to ledge, moisture and a large population of rabbits. While drifts of Rhododendron, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Ferns, Astilbe, and Brunnera fill the shady moist borders with their bold textures, colorful Azaleas, Nepeta, and Sedums flourish in the sunnier areas.