The Joy of the Outdoors
June 27, 2018
Three diverse landscape and garden projects prove that there’s no one right way to revel in the joys of the outdoors.
Text by Paula M. Bodah
At first glance, this expansive Nantucket property had everything its new owners needed. Still, a bit of tweaking was in order. The pool sat in a sunken area tucked between the home and the pool house, leaving no space at the rear of the house for the outdoor kitchen and spa the couple wanted. Front landscaping consisted of little more than a shell driveway and a lawn. Landscape architect Gregory Lombardi took a critical eye to the whole parcel—“We thought, how many interesting things can we get to happen on this site?” he says—and devised a radical new plan. The front now sports a lovely terraced garden, laid out in a somewhat formal style with walkways of grass and stone and softened with graceful ornamental grasses and fragrant clusters of lavender. In back, Lombardi swapped out the pool for a swath of lawn. The new zero-edge pool nearby has a section that’s just six inches deep so the grownups can lounge in cool comfort while the kids splash and frolic. Not far from the pool, where the lawn gives way to the natural environment, Lombardi installed a fire pit carved out of a huge piece of granite. He also expanded the wooden terrace at the back of the main house to make room for an outdoor kitchen and dining area as well as the spa. And a stunning water feature that incorporates an antique stone trough now graces the path from the parking court to the back door.
Photography: Richard Mandelkorn
Landscape design: Gregory Lombardi Design
House builder: O’Connor Custom Builders
James Ogilvy’s own Nantucket yard started as a patch of worn-out grass. “The previous owners had two big dogs, and it was a run-around area for them. It was a blank canvas, for me,” he says. In a two-week marathon session one spring, Ogilvy (with help from his friend and fellow Scotsman Tim Paterson, who owns Highland Design Gardens, in Pound Ridge, New York), fashioned an island oasis. Low fieldstone walls form curved edges around a series of gardens that are a symphony of color and texture. In front, a tidy hedge forms an archway over a gate that opens on a circular garden, where lavender, daisies, and black-eyed Susans offer guests a colorful greeting. Ogilvy made his plant choices with the birds and bees in mind, incorporating plenty of specimens pollinators love among the grasses, ground covers, and ferns. In keeping with the casual look, he positions bright ceramic bowls to stand in for formal birdbaths.
Photography: James Ogilvy
Landscape design: James Ogilvy, Ogilvy Landscape Design
The Best of Both Worlds
Even on the most glorious of days, it can be nice to have an indoor spot to retreat to. This one—a charming Osterville pool house that doubles as an entertainment pavilion—offers the perfect example of bringing the outdoors in. Architect Paul Weber collaborated with C.H. Newton Builders, landscape architect Katherine Field, and interior designer Carolina Tress Balsbaugh, a partner and senior designer with Boston-based Manuel de Santaren, to achieve this sweet state of perfection. The architectural details of the structure mimic the main house (the renovation of which is in progress). “It has a simple, bungalow sort of elegance,” says Weber. Radiant-heat flooring, heating and air conditioning, and an efficient but spacious bath/changing/laundry room make the house suitable for year-round use. On warm, bright days, the mahogany-trimmed bifold doors open wide to welcome sun and breezes; on chilly, gray days, they can be closed to keep things cozy but still show off the water views. Inside, shiplap walls and ceiling enhance the beachy feeling, and Tress Balsbaugh outfitted the open living and dining area with JANUS et Cie furniture that wears durable outdoor fabric in shades of sand and sea. Field’s landscaping plan fosters easy circulation between pool house, pool, and main house. And everyone, from the design team to the owners to their guests, marvels at the subtle drama she introduced in the form of inlaid lighting in the pool surround that casts a beautiful glow on the whole scene come nightfall.
Photography: Keller + Keller
Producer: Karin Lidbeck Brent
Architecture: Paul F. Weber, Paul Weber Architect
Interior design: Carolina Tress Balsbaugh, Manuel de Santaren
Builder: C.H. Newton Builders
Landscape design: Katherine Field and Associates Landscape Architects