A comprehensive assessment for a large family estate uncovers a wealth of opportunities on site and guides projects through long-term phasing.
Private Client, Concord MA
Concord, Massachusetts is a town steeped in early American history. Several battles during the American Revolutionary War were fought there, and are commemorated at The Minute Man National Historical Park. Concord was also home to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, writers who had a profound influence on American culture’s ideas around self-reliance and the natural world. Here, on a hill overlooking the Sudbury River Valley, RDG has guided a regenerative land use planning process for a 35-acre estate. The result will be an immersive landscape that inspires a connection to nature while building resiliency.
The client’s ambitions for their land are considerable, and RDG began the project by creating a Preliminary Assessment and Recommendations to help the family clearly articulate and refine a set of goals:
- Create a landscape that educates and engages through innovating agriculture strategies, improved trail systems, and diverse habitats.
- Develop regenerative agriculture and home-scale production suitable to the hilltop site.
- Enhance outdoor spaces for family through nature education elements, a balance of wild and cultivated areas, and public/private delineations.
- Improve the site for events and gatherings by expanding parking, accessibility, and trails.
- Develop sustainable land management systems that decrease reliance on off-site inputs.
The Preliminary Assessment included rigorous site analysis, with special emphasis on understanding the site’s dynamic topography, distinct ecological zones, soils, and existing infrastructure. This first phase of the project culminated in a 30-page report that included an agricultural opportunities assessment, ideas for trails and regenerative energy systems, and preliminary landscape recommendations by zone.
The second phase of the project involved design and implementation for a meadow, 4,000 square feet of additional garden space, a woodland play space, an edible foraging path, and terraced pollinator flower gardens. RDG continues to consult with the family and land managers to prioritize projects and recommend next steps in creating a resilient and immersive landscape.
- Enhanced Ecological Services
- Meadow Design + Implementation
- Yearly “Wheel of Activities” Guide for the Homestead
- Additional 4,000 square feet of Garden Space
- Long-Term Regenerative Land Use Planning
- Detailed Garden Design
- Drainage Improvements
- Agricultural Production Consultation
Increased variety of home scale production
can be woven into the various areas of the
land, occupying smaller niches with diverse
and interesting crops. The focus should be on
increasing the diversity of home production rather
than the quantity of individual crops, and to
process and preserve the surplus.
Excerpt from Preliminary Recommendations document