Landscaping in Small Places with Stone and Flowers

Northampton, MA

This project was spread out over 2 years because of the size. Phase 1 was designing & installing perennials, trees, shrubs, tall grasses & vines in the front yard of a suburban home near downtown Northampton, MA (first 2 photos). The front yard was a small grassed area with a short steep slope down to the road that made the area unusable. The porch was seldom used because privacy and front yard aesthetics were nonexistent. Plants were chosen on the criteria of: low maintenance & multi season of interest. We did a design, collaborating with the homeowner, and she can now look forward to many years of beauty and enjoyment with simple maintenance.


1 Year After Install
The concrete front steps and walk (previously flanked by lawn) dominated the front yard.
Perennials and shrubs now cascade over its edges to make it a less dominate feature. Visible in the photo are the long blooming coneflower and catmint with red flowering roses starting to climb up the posts which will frame in the view.


On the edge of the road and the yard we planted shrubs of moderate height that would delineate the space and provide some year round visible interest. We chose the native variegated dogwood shrub for its: interesting leaves, flowers & wintertime red stems. Low growing perennial geranium are growing in the shade at the base of the shrubs for a unique ground cover. The purple coneflowers poke up at random intervals to give the space a sense casualness.


Phase 2
The back yard is an area about 35’x35′. On the border with the neighbors a large tree had just been taken down giving sun to an area that had previously never had it. But in exchange for the sun, my client got full exposure to her multiple neighbors. Our goal was twofold: create year round privacy and beauty while not taking up much of the small yard. Because the soil was very thin in this area many yards of compost and top soil were needed. To hold the soil in place I designed a stonewall that would look beautiful and could double as seating for backyard summer parties. A small goshen stone was installed to fit 2 chairs.
The wall stone is set on a gravel foundation with topsoil behind it.


The wall starts to take shape. The plants will be installed after its completion.


This photo was taken only 1 week after construction ended.
The serpentine wall creates a nook for a sitting area along with making the backyard feel bigger then it actually is. It also allows for a greater depth of planting space resulting in greater privacy and beauty. A mix of trees and flowing perennials were used in this phase.

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