Our client purchased a spec home on an old farm, that included a separate guest house. The property was beautiful but challenging and the home had several challenges too. We have a long history of working with Lawrence Tencza on complex landscapes and together we created an extraordinary landscape on this Somerset County estate.
A fence and entrance arbor was created to add intimacy to the front of the home. The bluestone landing pad on the driveway mirrors the bluestone pad at the street entrance to the driveway. Specimen trees were added to the corners of the home to help enclose the space and increase intimacy. The Boxwood circle with Black Mondo grass planting features a bee statue the client purchased to celebrate a theme throughout the homestead – the importance of pollination in the tree, vegetable and perennial gardens.
The entrance to the home makes a statement – this is a unique and quality home. The driveway begins with 4″ thick bluestone slabs over an 8″ reinforced concrete base. The bluestone were individually cut and pieced together with uniform 1/2″ masonry joints on all sides. Cobblestone edging lines the entire driveway. We built stone piers that included a customized, sandblasted granite inset featuring the name of the farm. A split rail fence runs between the stone piers and the wooden rails fit into sockets built into each pier.
The front of the home was fully visible from the street – there was very little privacy. We installed an extensive collection of specimen trees for privacy and screening.
The driveway to the guest cottage is in the right foreground. We created the berm behind the tree trunks on the right side of the photo. The berm in combination with extensive specimen tree plantings screens the guest cottage from the main home. This landscape is less than one year old – but it looks as though it has been in place for decades.
A mixed shrub, rose and perennial garden inside the front entryway fence creates a unique front foundation planting. We sourced very high quality Azek fencing from a supplier in Massachusets. The fence never needs painting – will not rot, crack, blister or peel, and is moisture and insect resistant. Brick edging and gravel walkways are period specific themes. Extensive soil amendments and preparation created an extraordinary environment for the plantings – when this picture was taken these plants had been in the ground less than one year. The fact that they are so clearly thriving is a testament to the quality of the bed preparation. Specimen evergreen trees used to screen the main house from the guest cottage can be seen in the background.
The client wanted a productive orchard in one section of the back yard, We were able to find and install specimen fruit trees and within the first year the client will be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of apples, peaches, cherries, nectarines, plums and apricots. We installed a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system under the sod and around the trees to carefully manage water usage.
The red lines indicates where the original soil grade was before the clients purchased the home. Small window wells allowed a minimal amount of natural light into the finished basement, and the clients wanted that changed. We excavated down to the basement floor level and using a series of set-back walls, a French door, small patio and steps – we opened up the basement to natural sunlight, and provided a connection with the back yard. These changes completely transformed the atmosphere and views from within the basement and the entire character of the back corner of the home.
Drainage is vital in all landscapes, but this project had very complex drainage needs. Statile and Todd is able to handle all site and drainage work ourselves – no excavating contractor is needed. The result is that site and drainage work is done in a way that is more sensitive to needs of the landscape, the landscape construction process and the job timeline. A excavation contractor wants to get in, finish and leave a job. But the needs of a landscape project can change as a project progresses, and this can mean changes to the grading and drainage. With an fully capable, very experienced firm like Statile and Todd those changes can be made at any time throughout the installation process.
Statile & Todd had installed and maintained the landscape at the client’s previous home. We knew they have a real love for mixed shrub, perennial and rose gardens and the planting plan reflects that desire. Once again this is a view of a landscape that is less than one year old. The quality of the bed prep and our maintenance services is evident in the robust plant growth. We provide full maintenance services for the property so the plants will continue to thrive without becoming overgrown.