Community Landscape Design

Terrascapes has designed a number of landscape projects for schools, libraries, planned communities and open spaces. Here are some samples of the community work we have done.

Mendon-Upton Library-Nature Park: A Legacy of Stone

Thirty acres of bucolic farmland in Mendon were donated for the building of the future library. Architectural plans for the library were drawn up as the community considered the best way to combine a sense of open space with the stretched needs of the growing communities of Mendon and Upton, Massachusetts.

The nature park was designed to enhance the experience of learning inside the library and to promote learning in o the accompanying nature park. To preserve the history of the farmland, existing stone walls were replaced with one stone wall that stretched across the property uniting the space as it did the two abutting communities.

Masterplan: The masterplan shows a more controlled learning environment nearer the library with a more exploratory experience away from the library. Library Access: The perimeter of the library required a large parking area as well as access from the nearby busy street. An intimate entrance for vehicles and pedestrians was a main focus of the design.
Drumlin Field: Site research revealed depressions in the land which remained after glacial drifts eroded the terrain 200 million years ago. Glacial Pool & Bog: A 30’ pool transitions the new stone wall into the 400-year-old segment of the stone wall representing the history and future of the land.

Brook Farm Healing Grounds Analysis and Plans

This National Historic Landmark, with 179 acres of rolling fields, woodlands, and wetlands, is rich in social and intellectual history spanning four centuries. The site, best known as a direct link to the Transcendental movement, was home to renowned authors and philosophers including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dana, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller. After many years of neglect and development impacts, Brook Farm was slated for plans of restoration. The polluted marshes, pitted grounds and dying forests inspired a project whose goal was to heal the site by engaging the park user in rituals that honored the land.

Soils Analysis was part of an extensive site analysis. The Brook Farm Healing Grounds concept was based on three consecutive levels. Identifying the sites weaknesses such as polluted marshes, exposed gravel pits and a dying swamp lead the way for revealing areas of the land’s spirit. This allowed for the identification of specific areas for celebration and ritual. Engaging the park user in rituals such as raking composted materials into the gravel areas, pouring water into a borrowed pool of polluted marsh, and stacking rocks on tree stumps allowed for mourners from Brook Farm’s many surrounding cemeteries to heal themselves while also healing the land. This plan exhibits a synthesis of archetypes of the land and identifies the areas chosen for specific healing. The area of Freedom leads the park user through a dark forest that opens into a sunlit meadow strewn with boulders for sitting and contemplation. The area of Survival includes a pond and pool where the visitor can engage in the “part” by pouring water from the pool into the pond or just sit and reflect on the “whole.” Finally, the area of Challenge encourages the park users to wander through a “dead” area of the forest through a strange pathway that leads to a gravel pit. Rakes invite the visitors to rake the loose leaves and compost into the gravel, as done in Japanese style, thereby allowing soil nutrients to mix with the gravel. Eventually the gravel pits will be covered with fresh and healthy soil, and the earth’s wounds will be healed.

Lenox Housing Development Analysis and Master Plan

This 1930’s public project in South Boston began as an apartment complex with front and backyard green spaces. Throughout the decades, and with the invention of the automobile, the green spaces eroded into an asphalt park where residents could park their cars. The challenge on this project was to allow enough area for vehicular parking and traffic while creating green space for children to play. Residents needed to enjoy their yards and, at the same time, feel safe in a populated urban environment.