Project: Wellesley Hills Courtyard Gardens

Background

Our relationship began when the clients redeemed a gift certificate that I had donated for a fundraiser at a local library. After our initial on-site consultation, the clients asked for a proposal to redesign both the front and back courtyards of their Wellesley Hills condo, located in a renovated industrial building.

The owners had just downsized from a large property in Weston, but were craving some connection to nature, as well as inviting outdoor spaces to expand the smaller footprint of the condo.

Outcome

In the back courtyard, which is shaded most of the day, and where the clients like to spend time in the afternoon and evening, we removed the existing brick patio, and installed two adjacent patios: a formal bluestone patio closer to the building, which defines the outdoor dining and grilling area, and an informal patio made from Goshen stone, quarried in Western Massachusetts, farther from the house.

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The Goshen patio provides a setting for two casual lounge chairs, which are nestled into plantings chosen for their fragrance and shade tolerance. A bubbler fountain
selected by the client distracts from the noise of the nearby busy intersection and is often filled with happily splashing birds.

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Planters filled with lush, colorful, shade-loving annuals provide the feel of a tropical oasis in which the owners can relax, escape from the busy world just outside the fence, and enjoy the songbirds and hummingbirds that visit their tiny courtyard.

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The clients were also eager to grow edible plants, which were a natural fit for the sunny front courtyard. In that space we left the existing brick patio, which suited the type of plantings that I envisioned for the space, but we removed several overgrown shrubs and thorny brambles. We created an area for two cedar planting boxes for vegetables and herbs, and planted the rest of the courtyard with sun-loving herbs like lavender and thyme, along with native perennials to attract songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies. The clients enjoy the colorful plantings and the winged visitors while sipping their coffee at the bistro table every morning.

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Project coordination

 During the course of the project, I coordinated the following details:

Garden care

During the design and installation phase, my company installed and planted two raised vegetable beds and six large containers of herbs, vegetables and edible flowers, as well as sixteen ornamental planters. We returned every other week throughout the growing season to care for the containers, in addition to the newly installed in-ground gardens.

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Client response

"We absolutely love our new outdoor spaces that Catherine designed and created. We recently downsized from our home in Weston that had almost 2 acres of land and beautiful, large outdoor spaces. We were lucky to find a condominium in Wellesley with small, private outside spaces in the front and back of the unit, but the outdoor spaces were not very inviting. Catherine’s vision and design for these areas have transformed the space. We now live in our beautiful yards and feast off their fresh produce. Birds come to bathe in our bubbler fountain and butterflies come to the flowers. We feel that our condo has doubled in size. Catherine has always been professional and responsive to our needs. Catherine’s maintenance work keeps the spaces looking their best."
Maureen M. and Jim L., Wellesley, MA

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