Landscape Design

Sustainable Design with an Artistic Flair

 

We design gardens to be lived in and walked through, not just admired from a distance. This means creating spaces that draw you into them through all four seasons, while supporting the health of the soil, air and water that surround them.

Together, we can assess any areas of your property that are not meeting these goals. As an independent, fee-based design firm, we do not try to sell you the largest landscape installation with the most features. Our focus is on listening to what really matters to you, and what will work for your budget. With this in mind, we can design new beds and gardens, re-imagine parts of an uninspired or overgrown landscape, or undertake a comprehensive property design.

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Personalized Garden Rooms

 

We can organize your outdoor areas into garden rooms, which are intimate areas of the larger landscape in which you can really feel at home.

05 30 18 5931 copyWe will do our best to fit your favorite plants into the design. We will pay close attention to the style of your home, since the dimensions and position of the planting beds should relate to the house, and any hardscape components like patios, paths and walls should complement the style of the home. We encourage clients to think outside the limitations of traditional foundation plantings to incorporate that area into garden space that they can actually use.

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New Life for an Old Landscape

 

IMG 0397 editedPerhaps you have inherited a landscape with shrubs that were planted ten or more years ago, and they have become overgrown, or your perennial garden has turned into a chaotic jumble. We can develop a plan of action that will breathe new life into these garden areas. Through selective removal, pruning, dividing and re-organizing we can update your landscape so that it looks balanced and vibrant again.

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Comprehensive Property Design

 

If you are looking for a complete, immediate transformation of your existing landscape, we can create a plan for your entire property and then work with one of our trusted installers to put it in place over the course of one or more seasons.

Perhaps a gradual transformation is more in your budget? Many of our clients ask for a plan that they can implement, either with our help or by themselves, over the course of several years. We can also identify parts of your property that would be suitable for more of an ecological restoration approach, and partner with a company that specializes in caring for such areas in a more natural fashion.


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Sustainable Design Considerations

 

Compost systems and clotheslines—These offer an easy way to help the environment by reducing waste that enters landfills and saving energy, while giving you an excuse to spend a few extra minutes in your garden. We can show you how to set them up so that they work well and do not detract from the landscape.

 

IMG 0397 editedTree placement—Carefully sited trees can significantly reduce home heating and cooling costs. They can also contribute to the health of the ecosystem beyond your own yard by capturing carbon, intercepting rainwater, and cooling the local environment.

Water management—Rain gardens and bioswales can slow the movement of water so that it has time to trickle down through the soil and recharge groundwater supplies, rather than rush off your property and contribute to localized flooding.


IMG 0397 editedHabitat restoration—In addition to serving as critical components of the local ecosystem, the little winged creatures that visit your garden add a dynamic element to the design. We can help you create the following to invite them in:

  • Butterfly borders—nectar plants for butterflies and foliage for their caterpillars
  • Berry hedges—native fruits for resident and migrating songbirds
  • Beneficial insect patches—nesting areas and food sources for out threatened pollinators, as well as the insects that eat the “bad” bugs in your gardens

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New England Gardens

 

In New England, we are fortunate to live in a place known for its varied topography, wild beauty and breathtaking fall foliage. Our glacier-scoured landscape features lakes, rivers, wetlands and marshes, rolling hills and several mountain ranges. Along with the rocky bays and islands that line the craggy Atlantic coastline, they were formed by retreating ice sheets during the last glacial period, and have resulted in the unique features that characterize our landscape today.

At Sweetgum Horticulture, we are mindful of integrating the natural and surrounding landscape into our personalized garden designs. If a client’s property includes features such as a rock outcropping, a stream, or wooded area, we create a plan to preserve and showcase these natural formations while designing a garden that exists in harmony with them, as well as with the local flora and fauna.

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Urban and Suburban Homesteading

 

We can help you make the local food movement truly local by identifying the best areas in your yard to raise vegetables, fruit trees and berries. If your local ordinances allow, petite farm animals like chickens, rabbits and small goats can add to the charm, and are a great incentive for children to get outside.

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Further Design Interests

 

  • Personal healing retreats and meditation gardens
  • Plantings for year-round interest
  • Meadow gardens
  • Low-maintenance lawn alternatives
  • Fragrance gardening with scented flowers and aromatic foliage
  • Homegrown cut flower beds
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Why native plants?

Although we appreciate old garden favorites like irises and lilacs, and will happily incorporate these into a design if requested, we look first to the colorful palette of native plants to fit the needs of a particular area. Native plants anchor your garden firmly into the New England landscape, giving it a sense of place, and a connection to the woods and meadows that might be glimpsed from your property. Although not guaranteed problem-free, they are proven performers in the local soil and weather conditions. Perhaps most importantly, they are host plants (food sources) for the insects that are in turn food sources for our lovely—and threatened—native songbirds. In his book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, ecology expert Doug Tallamy explains how, within just a few years of filling your landscape with native plants, your property can function as much-needed habitat for a wide range of songbirds and butterflies. Taken together, all of the native landscapes in an area can function as a truly valuable sanctuary for these creatures. The use of native plants does not mean that your garden has to look scruffy or unkempt. Our favorite gardens are those that pair striking hardscape elements—like stunning walls, arbors or sculpture—with exuberant native plantings. We can incorporate any level of “native” that you are comfortable with into a design—for instance, a meadow of straight species of regional provenance whose only management is removal of invasive plants and mowing once a year, or a traditional perennial border of more refined cultivars of native plants that are trimmed and groomed on a biweekly basis to keep them looking tidy.

 

 

Area of Service

Sweetgum Horticulture is serving clients in the Metro West communities of Boston, MA, including Wellesley, Weston, Newton, Needham, Natick, Wayland, Lincoln, Dover, Sherborn, Sudbury, and Framingham.

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates are available for all of Sweetgum Horticulture's services. These make great birthday, thank-you or Mother’s Day gifts.

Gift Certificate

Affiliations

Affiliations

Homegrown National Park