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Farm to Table

a blade of grass, farm to table

A revitalized suburban landscape brings home the bounty in more ways than one.

To the imaginative mind, wide open spaces signify limitless potential. Such was the case for landscape designer Jim Douthit when he first assessed this 53 acre property located in the suburbs northwest of Boston. Greeted by vast open fields, a historic farmhouse dating back to 1773, and a barn awaiting renewal, the stage was set for a grand transformation.

a blade of grass, farm to tableThe new owners, who yearned for an interactive relationship with the land they now called their own, approached Douthit, lead designer and owner of a Blade of Grass, with a shortlist of desires. “What they wanted from the property was pretty simple,” says Douthit, who teamed up with builders at Adams + Beasley Associates to execute the project. Although simplicity was at the heart of the client’s requests, with a focus on vegetable gardens and fruit orchards from which they could pick their own produce, the team presented a plethora of ways to maximize the use of the property. The owners entrusted the experts to manifest a luscious and dynamic landscape that would harmonize the built environment with nature’s splendor.

“They really let us be as creative as we wanted,” Douthit recalls. “We developed concepts for spaces that they didn’t know they wanted until we showed them it was possible.” Given the green light, Douthit set out to transform the open fields into a series of functional and picturesque areas. A nod to centuries past, split-rail fences and fieldstone walls were incorporated to define each zone while seamlessly blending with the landscape. The result is a captivating tapestry of distinct spaces, including a bountiful orchard of fruit trees, a flourishing vegetable garden, a chicken coop, a sheep barn, and an intimate outdoor seating area nestled graciously beside the farmhouse's newly added screened porch.

a blade of grass, farm to tableMindfully preserving the essence of the surroundings, Douthit strategically introduced mature trees to complement vibrant flower beds, adorned with an abundance of native materials and low-maintenance perennials such as lush grasses and black-eyed Susans. Amidst this verdant symphony, a custom built greenhouse, firmly rooted to the earth by its antique granite foundation, affords a year-round oasis where fruit trees and tropical flora flourish and thrive. A charming pathway network of antique granite and cobblestone leads toward a dreamy pool area, which boasts a floating cedar pergola, custom built by Adams + Beasley.

a blade of grass, farm to table

While the design’s beauty is crystal clear, Douthit’s holistic approach aims to ensure the landscape maintains its brilliance for the long term. “We spent a lot of time and resources clearing out invasive plants from the wetlands around the property, and replanting the proper plantings to help restore to its native habitat.” This level of care extends into the day-to-day, with Douthit’s team conducting customized maintenance to ensure their clients can enjoy their revamped properties stress-free. “We’re as intimately and personally involved in maintaining the property as we are in designing it,” Douthit assures. Like a true guardian of the garden, a Blade of Grass stays a jump ahead, preserving the landscape’s magnificence all year long. 

a blade of grass, farm to table

1)  A custom built greenhouse filled with lush tropical flora features New England round fieldstone walls with bluestone capping and antique granite posts.

2) Extensive vegetable and flower garden beds surround a chicken coop and sheep barn, with pea stone paths that provide easy access to fresh-picked produce.

3) Vibrant flower beds filled with annuals and perennials offer constant color all season long.

4) Nestled in lush greenery, a bluestone patio seamlessly extends off of the barn’s newly added screen porch.

5) A floating cedar pergola, custom built by Adams + Beasley, offers shade in the pool area. Nearby is a small lawn area, a hot tub, and an outdoor shower.

a blade of grass, farm to table

6) Luscious gardens surround raised vegetable beds, with a classic dry stacked New England fieldstone wall providing the perfect backdrop.

7) Perennial gardens pave a grand entrance to the orchard, with a thriving array of nepeta, alchemilla, and astilbe adorning the path.

8) An intimate outdoor seating area is the perfect place to enjoy the view.

9) Surrounded by gardens of fresh, ready-to-pick produce, and a granite fire pit just beyond, this outdoor kitchen and patio takes al-fresco to the next level.

10) A swath of daylilies bring summer color to the chip seal driveway entrance. Flanked by crab apple trees, which peak in the springtime, a cobble ramp leads to the newly renovated barn. 

Photography: Sean Litchfield; Warren Patterson, Landscape Architect: a Blade of Grass, Architect: Zac Culbreth, Builder: Adams + Beasley Associates


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