Southampton, New York
A creative reuse of existing landscape elements characterized this project. The clients tore down and replaced a one-hundred-year-old house with a new residence. Rather than start from scratch, however, in redesigning the landscape, an eight-acre plot on a bluff overlooking Peconic Bay, the LaGuardia team chose to make use of the century-old cedar trees that give the property its name. These were carefully dug and moved to create a cedar forest by the street through which the new curving drive wound its way. The ground underneath and around these cedars was planted to a native woodland meadow of tufted hairgrass. As the drive pulls up in front of the house, a more domesticated landscape was developed by enclosing the house with massed American boxwood and holly osmanthus shaded by specimen trees—a pair of mature-sized tupelos was introduced to
supplement the existing oaks. Around this informal shrubbery border extends a softer ground layer of Pennsylvania sedge and fountain grass ‘Hameln’.
A glass-enclosed, indoor swimming pool attached to the south side of the house furnished panoramic views on three sides and opportunities to bring the outdoors inside. On the east side, against the backdrop of the boxwoods lining the drive, a small Zen-inspired garden centers on a carefully chosen and placed specimen Japanese maple. Outside the opposite, west, side of the pool, lies a terrace, paved with irregular stone flags. Two irregularly contoured beds flank this, offering lush plantings of specimen sweet bay magnolias and specimen Japanese snowbells, under-planted with dwarf fothergilla, fountain grasses, and a frame of boxwoods.
Across a sweep of lawn to the west of the house, an outdoor dining table was set in a peninsula of turf extending back among specimen cedars that were brought in to supplement the natural growth. Thoughtfully placed to frame views of the bay, these trees create a savannah-like setting
interspersed with drifts of native little bluestem and switchgrass. This wood and meadow landscape extends north to the crest of the bluff, where it shades into a naturalized buffer strip of beach plum and bayberry as the land falls away.