Hilltop Views

Design: Monica Fairbairn

Boulder Edging

This Watertown client had a steeply sloped front lawn on a corner property with a lot of potential. However, the presence of bedrock within inches of the soil’s surface severely limited plant growth. Because the hill was continuously shedding mulch, we started by building two New England Boulder retaining walls in a dry-laid fashion(without mortar), matching an existing on-site stone wall.The client also needed a lawn and plantings that would both tolerate a lot of sun and bring an element of symmetry to frame their home

Side Entry Plantings

Building a tree bed and filling it with rich soil, we planted two red maple trees and a dogwood. We then installed a drought-tolerant, tall fescue sod lawn, as well as shallow ground cover plantings to fill in bare spaces. In order to maintain a clean division between the lawn and the surrounding plantings, we lined the edging with New England boulders, mimicking the retaining walls.

To meet the client’s need for an environmentally friendly approach to lawn maintenance, we installed a customized irrigation system that uses untreated rainwater, decreasing water usage and costs overtime.

Side Entry Plantings

Behind the house, the patio garden was visible to neighbors higher up the hill. We opted for a screening hedge and trellises for an element of peaceful privacy. Shallow soils and shade at the main back entrance inspired a Japanese-style garden of smooth river stones, a bluestone focal point, and pottery. Well-placed outdoor lights further enhance the garden as an inviting space for outdoor living.

Hilltop Views Patio

After 3 years of the installation, we wanted to show the beauty, growth and maturity of the landscape today. Many of us have a hard time envisioning what something will look like until it’s complete, and this is just a prime example of how and why we plant and design things the way we do.

Now seeing the fullness of the plants in the back patio and how much different the front of the home looks compared to the original home makes your eyes draw to it even more. It looks like it has been that way for many years!