A pair of beautiful private courtyards within a unique condo development, “Kat’s Garden,” and “The Bloem Garden,” nestle into a densely populated neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The intimate and private spaces also feel inviting and lively.

In Kat’s Garden, a sentimental family drawing from the homeowner’s personal collection inspires a focal point in the form of a sculptural sliding gate crafted from raw aluminum—a threshold visible throughout the property. Horizontal wood fencing built from western red cedar radiates from the gate and encloses the courtyard, and a striking recycled-plastic dining set rests upon linear bands of reclaimed granite slabs embedded in the earth. Reflections from the furniture illuminate the space.

The courtyard holds three particularly special blocks of antique granite salvaged from an early 19th-century decommissioned building in Boston. Two are nestled into a planted slope as impromptu benches for overflow seating; the other is carefully outfitted with a stainless steel rill where water spills into a riverstone basin. Underground drywell “pockets” are dotted throughout the hardscape, and stormwater perks into the surrounding planting beds. Water becomes a calming, artistic, and nourishing element in the garden.

A dramatic, stainless steel trellis spans two stories where a clematis vine softens the scale of the house. A dynamic plant palette composed of sculptural trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, and multi-seasonal perennials provides excellent opportunities for active, inspired gardening. On lazier days, the courtyard can be taken in from two contemporary Adirondack chairs nestled into an elevated corner of the garden, a prime spot for reading.

In “The Bloem Garden,” a contemporary dining set rests upon an ashlar-patterned bluestone terrace where birch and stewartia trees provide dappled shade. Western red cedar detailing complements the neighboring garden, and a matching set of fencing and gates enclose a pet-friendly space for the family to enjoy. Native plants with contrasting colors and textures provide a low-maintenance backdrop for alfresco dining and casual relaxation. Thick, reclaimed granite bands are embedded in gravel parking areas to create a functional, inviting, and unique arrival experience for the homeowners.

The two, private gardens become the center of outdoor-focused activities. The spaces are unified, yet reflect the individual tastes of each of the people who call this place home.

2015 Merit Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects
2015 International Honor Award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Collaborators: Robert Hanss Landscape Construction, Ricci Brothers, Pond Creations By Sean, Shadows and Light, Bay State Irrigation, Olde New England Granite, Stone Farm, Select Horticulture, Artemesia Perennial Supply, The Garden Concierge