by Rebecca Falzano
Photography Todd Richardson
On a small cove, between an icy stream that trickles across the forest floor and steep granite cliffs that fall directly into the water, a camp is beautifully tucked into a small slope. Where the ledge ridge pulls away from the water’s edge, enormous broken boulders are left draped in moss and ferns. While the artfully crafted landscape gives the impression that the camp was built into this ledge, it was actually the other way around.
The goal of the landscape design by Todd Richardson of Richardson & Associates was to develop a family retreat that would capture the rugged spirit and landscape-rooted qualities of rustic camps of bygone eras. Richardson’s intent was to protect, maintain, and build on the special qualities of this unique landscape by drawing from the site, establishing reciprocity with it, and creating a distinct closeness with it.
The carefully chosen 369-acre site is heavily wooded with a mix of hardwood and softwood species and a light density of native understory trees, shrubs, and ground covers. Through the dappled green woodland’s navigable forest floor, glimpses of the water can be seen. The lake’s remote and undeveloped qualities are highlighted by the dramatic stone boulders and ledge cliffs that tumble to its shores.
The project was complicated by the remoteness of the site and constraints such as an abundance of ledge, steep slopes, and wet areas. To support the overarching goal of creating a rustic environment, modern infrastructure was concealed wherever possible, and a combination of above- and below-ground utilities was implemented. In places where construction or past use had negatively impacted the landscape, revegetation was accomplished using a palette of plant species from the site and by planting these species in complex, naturally occurring combinations and compositions. In addition, Richardson respectfully merged new with existing by carefully matching size, shape, grain, color, and patina to the site by sourcing new stone from old quarry tailings in a nearby granite pit.
Richardson & Associates received an Honor Award in Design from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects for this project. And a place of respite, solitude, and peace was established for the family and their guests.