Relating the Esses’ residence to the shoreline beyond a steep bluff was a
challenge. With permission from the Conservation Commission in Truro,
Massachusetts, landscape architects at Stephen Stimson Associates in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, designed a staircase using helical “corkscrew”
posts. The structure is anchored in a way that minimizes impact to the dunes,
while a landing halfway down provides respite for tired legs.
Elsewhere, only minimal changes were allowed to the site’s grading, so
subtle transitions were employed. The lawn is in line with the boardwalk, for
example, and the water feature with the entry. “When you have just a few
human steps between different levels,” says landscape architect Annie Gilson,
— a rarity on the Outer Cape due to extreme wind and salt conditions — was
planted using perennial rye and fine fescue.
Brought on at the beginning of the project, Gilson worked with the
architect and interiors team from the start. “That kind of collaboration early
on,” she says, “creates harmonious transitions from inside and out.”
design decision Landscape for Tranquillity