Home Outside Project: Terrace Garden, Boston Area


The owners of a lovely traditional New England home needed to replace an old brick patio that was deteriorating, in part because the roots of a magnificent maple tree were nudging the bricks out of place. They decided to take the opportunity to install a new terrace and garden that would unify their indoor and outdoor spaces while addressing the problem of the tree roots.

Home Outside designer Samantha Anderson created a design for a curving terrace that wraps around the back of the house with two areas for different times of day; the sunny morning terrace has seating that faces outward for coffee and garden viewing, while the evening terrace has a table for summer dining under the shade of the maple tree. Samantha recommended replacing the brick—which didn’t complement the red siding—with Goshen stone, which beautifully reflects light and brightens up the whole patio. She enlarged the thresholds to the kitchen and greenhouse and sited the grill right outside the French doors to the dining room.

A large circular bed around the maple gives its roots some breathing room, and the circle is neatly edged with cobble stones. The bed is planted with tough, shade-loving plants such as epimediums, hostas, Aster ‘October Skies,’ hellebores, evergreen Christmas fern, Carex ‘Ice Dance,’ ajuga, and variegated Solomon’s Seal.

“We are real do-it-yourselfers, but we were out of our league on this particular project. I shudder to think where we would have ended up if we hadn’t worked with Home Outside! We had some basic ideas about what we wanted…the Home Outside folks really challenged our thinking on virtually every aspect of this project. I think this is really significantly going to change where we spend our time and how we use the space.”

Click here to see a larger view of the design. You can see the finished terrace in our short video about the Home Outside design service.