Landscape Design

Sustainable design with an artistic flair.Sweetgum Horticulture | Boston | Liatris Kobold

I 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 designer, I do not try to sell you the largest landscape installation with the most features. My focus is on listening to what really matters to you, and what will work for your budget. With this in mind, I can design new beds and gardens, re-imagine an uninspired or overgrown landscape, or undertake a comprehensive property design.

New Beds and Gardens

I can organize your outdoor areas into garden rooms, which are intimate areas of the larger landscape in which you can really feel at home. I will do my best to fit your favorite plants into the design. I 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. I encourage clients to think outside the limitations of traditional foundation plantings to incorporate that area into garden space that they can actually use.

New Life for an Old Landscape

Sweetgum Horticulture | Boston | StokesiaPerhaps 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. I 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.

Comprehensive Property Design

We will take a close look at yoSweetgum Horticulture | Metro West | Garden Designur entire landscape and figure out what is and isn’t supporting your outdoor living needs. We can identify priorities in accordance with your budget, and work out a time schedule for the installation of the design. After our discussion, I can provide freehand sketches as a starting-off point for your do-it-yourself gardening adventures. Or if you prefer to hire a contractor, I can return to carefully measure your property and develop a detailed design that can be used to install your ideal landscape.

Sustainable Design Considerations

Compost systems and clotheslinesThese 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. I can show you how to set them up so that they work well and do not detract from the landscape.

Sweetgum Horticulture | Wellesley | American Cranberrybush Viburnum

Tree 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.

Drainage—Rain gardens and other plantings 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.

Habitat restorationIn 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. I 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

Urban and Suburban Homesteading

I 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.

Other Design Interests Sweetgum Horticulture | Garden Design | Aster October Skies

  • Plantings for year-round interest
  • Meadow gardens
  • Low-maintenance lawn alternatives
  • Fragrance gardening with scented flowers and aromatic foliage
  • Personal healing retreats

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 and Sudbury.

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