On a suburban property disturbed by new home construction, the owners sought a landscape that looked as though it occurred naturally. Indigenous plants, locally sourced stone, and a created stream evoke scenes of nearby natural areas, and as a measure of project success, visitors often assume the stream is original to the site.
Study site for Burghardt, Tallamy, and Shriver, “Impact of Native Plants on Bird and Butterfly Diversity in Suburban Landscapes,” Conservation Biology, 2008, vol. 23, no. 1.
This one-acre suburban property marries culture, history, and a natural landscape aesthetic. Native woodland, meadow, and pond plantings reflect the region’s indigenous landscape while a remnant cutting garden and rustic gates, arbors, and furniture (including a circular bench made from recycled New York City curbstone) complement the architectural style of the house. The property owners have actively promoted what they call their “New World Garden” as a model for how to fuse historic and ecological restoration.
This project met the challenge of synthesizing the clients’ highly gardenesque design preferences with the very specific suite of native plants tolerant of the property’s dry, ledgy, limestone-derived soils. Despite the site’s harsh conditions, plantings have flourished without soil amendments, fertilizers, or long-term irrigation. Precisely matching plant palette to existing site conditions is key to LWLA’s design approach.
Located near the entrance to a development, this property features a native meadow flanking the driveway; closer to the house, a terrace replicates a rocky knoll, entryway gardens evoke openings in nearby woodlands, and a stabilized limekiln ruin with new plantings serves as a unique garden feature. Adjoining property owners were so impressed by the native meadow that they established meadow landscapes of their own. Today, native meadows sweep across three neighboring properties, providing a dramatic and inviting entrance to the neighborhood.