PROJECT : Acton Agrarian

Acton Agrarian

  • CATEGORY : Residential
  • LOCATION : Acton, Massachusetts
  • DATE : Completed 2014

This edible landscape with custom raised beds and pergola is surrounded by an espalier pear hedge. Peastone paths and bluestone thresholds create geometry in keeping with this contemporary Acton farmhouse.

The greenhouse garden and edible landscape was designed as a potager by Offshoots with a formal rectilinear geometry to link the new greenhouse, garage and potting shed areas. Local vernacular materials were utilized to create bluestone thresholds between garden areas with connecting peastone paths. Custom raised beds were designed with the gardener in mind, at a height easy to tend (and a height too tall for bunnies to munch). The custom central pergola was inspired by the contemporary farmhouse architecture; clean lines and simple detailing create a focal point for the garden and an opportunity for growing vining plants. Since deer can often be damaging to an edible landscape, an espalier pear hedge and stainless steel trellis (with both traditional Bosque and Asian varieties) was designed around the edge of the raised beds as a deterrent. Much of the garden is comprised of perennial plants that come back each year to form the structural elements, and transplants grown by the homeowner in the adjacent greenhouse are used to fill the annually rotated beds each year. This functional landscape is an excellent example of how a beautiful aesthetic can also be made productive; each element of the garden not only has a specific aesthetic intent but has and edible function as well.

Design elements include:
• Espalier pears are underplanted with edible flowers, herbs and strawberries
• Berry hedges along a stepping stone path frame the end of the garden
• Thyme and other herb groundcovers are used as a green mulch to keep weeds at bay
• Edible plum was used to create a vertical element, breaking up the long façade of the adjacent garage
• Custom compost bins were designed to fit with the working landscape
• An outdoor shower is included to wash off after a long day of gardening work
• Native Virginia Creeper and low bush blueberries were use along the project perimeter to blur the lines between constructed landscape and the native woods beyond


  • Landscape Installation: Offshoots, Juniper Hill Design Build, Acorn Tree
  • Design: Offshoots & Marc Hall Design
  • Ongoing Maintenance: Garden Concierge

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Charlestown MA 02129
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