Imagine our complete surprise this morning to hear that Ocean Home Magazine has named MCLD as one of the Top Landscape Architecture Firms of 2016! We are very honored to be recognized alongside so many incredible design firms! If you happen to be passing through the pages of the 2016 April/May Issue, you’ll see one of Le Petit Chalet’s reclaimed granite terraces included in a story by writer Mary Grauerholz beginning on page 46. “Breathing Space” includes an interview with yours truly discussing how “the once humble outdoor patio is now a seamless extension of a home’s interior.” Thanks so much Mary and Ocean Home for this great exposure!
We were pleasantly surprised yesterday by one of our all-time favorite garden blog sites: GARDENISTA, with a feature about our project, Le Petit Chalet, in Southwest Harbor, Maine! Our work on this property has been an incredible highlight for our firm, and the list of people to recognize for their contributions is extensive. You can read more about the project by visiting the American Society of Landscape Architects, 2014 Professional Awards page. Thank you Michelle Slatalla for thoughtfully including our work on Gardenista—it is an honor to be on your radar!
We received fantastic news this morning from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers that our “Charles River Garden” in Needham, MA, has received a Residential Merit Award in their 2012 International Landscape Design Awards program!
The APLD confirmed that this year they received the most entries in the history of the competition, and we won one of only 16 awards given! The judging panel was comprised of well known experts in the field including: Robin Templar Williams, APLD, FSGD; Helen Billetop, FSGD; Sara Kinbar (former editor of Garden Design Magazine); Eric Liskey (Deputy Editor, Better Homes & Gardens magazine); Natalie Warady (Style + Markets Director, Country Living magazine); and Rosalind Reed, FAPLD.
This garden represents a wonderful collaboration with an inspiring and thoughtful client. Our initial challenge was to transform a harsh, inhospitable space into a comfortable and meaningful garden that merged quietly with the sensitive ecology along the banks of the Charles River. The new landscape replaces a massive, dilapidated swimming pool that was surrounded by more than 3,700 square feet of impervious concrete. The old garden was harsh, and a robust local ecology was relegated to the edges of the property. A failed drainage system often forced stormwater directly into the home’s finished basement. As the design process began, two major goals quickly evolved: (1) to develop a site master plan to efficiently move stormwater away from the house, and (2) to craft durable and memorable outdoor spaces that capture the spirit of the river.
The garden borders one of Massachusetts’ most celebrated natural water bodies, the Charles River, and embraces beautiful views and local ecology. Capital Contractors of South Natick, MA was chosen to construct the project, and their team worked efficiently to build a durable garden that blends smoothly with it’s surrounding context. A structurally modified existing deck and new stairs connect interior spaces to an elevated bluestone dining terrace. New, hand-crafted retaining walls extend from the house, forming an elevated landform overlooking the river. Rich perennial gardens surround the terrace and spill over the walls, creating dazzling multi-seasonal displays. Stone staircases glide down the sloping perennial beds leading to a patterned, bluestone pool terrace. A new drainage system combines with areas of porous peastone to quickly distribute stormwater away from the home. An energy efficient swimming pool and spa (60% smaller than the original structures) provide soothing and meaningful recreational opportunities for an active family. Stormwater is diverted from the house, and native plants stabilize the previously eroding riverbank. Porous materials have replaced nearly 50% of the hardscape, and spaces have been thoughtfully sited within the sensitive river ecosystem.
We are eager to receive the award at the 2012 APLD International Design Conference in San Francisco in September. Thank you, APLD, for recognizing this project!
Landscape and Irrigation Magazine has featured MCLD’s “Charles River Garden” on the front cover of their magazine in the 2012 May/June issue! Their Editor, John Kmitta, has written a great article called “The Big Picture” that features interviews with myself, as well as with Andrew Demus from the Gilson Group Landscape Design, in Tarzana, CA. The article focuses on our tips and tricks for managing large-scale landscape design/build projects. You’ll also see images of MCLD’s “Le Petit Chalet” and our “Chestnut Hill Estate.” If you are open to signing up with a username and password, you can read the article in their magazine format but clicking here.
I am so incredibly proud to announce that Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design has received a Merit Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects in their 2012 Professional Awards Program! Only 6 awards were given in the Residential and Garden Design category this year, and I am honored that MCLD’s “Le Petit Chalet” is recognized along with submissions by other firms such as Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture, Reed Hilderbrand LLC, and Ground, Inc.! I would also like to send a huge congratulations to the folks at Stephen Stimson Associates for receiving the Award of Excellence for their work at the Southwest Concourse at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst! Last but certainly not least, thank you Gardenform Landscape Construction for all of your amazing dedication and hard work––building this project with you in the context of Acadia National Park was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
The Annual BSLA Gala will be held at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA on the 26th of April, where the award will be presented. I look forward to connecting with old and new friends to celebrate!
At this point nearly everyone in the construction industry has heard of new trends in the green movement regarding adaptive-reuse strategies for reclaimed building materials. This recent project completed by MCLD takes the fairly straight-forward concept and adds a twist—resulting in a pretty fantastic contemporary garden for a new lakefront home designed by Ruhl Walker Architects.
It all started at a job site meeting in the GC’s construction trailer on a frigidly cold evening in November of 2010 when my clients mentioned seeing huge piles of granite stockpiled at the site of the new Ikea store in Somerville, MA. We had been working together on our design for the garden for more than six-months, and from the start our intentions were to source reclaimed material for the project. When the suggestion was made to see if we could get some of the seemingly abandoned curbstones for our hardscaping, my first reaction was: “wait, you want to use Ikea granite?”
We laughed about the idea together and the meeting moved on.
A few minutes later the idea was back on the table. I was pessimistic and optimistic. On one hand, how cool would it be to know the exact source of the stone for the project?! On the other hand, there just seemed to be no logistical way we would ever be able to make it work. The installation was more than six-months away, a landscape contractor had not yet been selected to build the garden, and the idea that the material would still be there in the spring seemed unrealistic at best.
Not long after our meeting all of New England was covered with over three-feet of snow, and winter of 2011 brought record snowfall. After a couple of failed attempts at reaching out to a few folks about the granite, the idea was tabled and we were back to the original idea of sourcing the stone from a local stoneyard. Once spring arrived not only had the project progressed, but the clients were now expecting twins. And the garden had to be complete by mid-summer. Then one morning the clients texted me with excitement that they had made contact with the owners of the granite, and that the material was available for our project!
Panic and excitement set in. How were we going to make this happen?
Our landscape contractor, Martin Lucyk, was on board with the idea immediately. He connected with the construction foreman and in a matter of hours we were out in the middle of this massive industrial construction site hand-picking slabs of old curbing for the garden. A few days later the stone arrived on site and the mason, Brian Griffin, was working at full-speed to install the materials.
I have a special place in my heart for reclaimed granite and have utilized stones sourced from all over New England in my work. There is something that can’t be beat about the rugged texture and aged patina one finds in this material. Using it gives the garden an established feel. If you’re nostalgic like me, you revel in the story that each stone has to tell. The stone in this garden certainly has a unique story.
Stay tuned for more images of “Lower Mystic Lake House” as the garden matures and evolves over the coming seasons!