At this early 1800s home on Pearl Street, nestled in a neighborhood filled with classic, New England captain’s homes, Ted Carter’s client was looking for a refreshed landscape. The original garden was done in the 1930s, and the homeowners’ goal was to preserve its traditional configuration. Ted and his team completed a total lifting and resetting of the existing garden with all new plants that still maintained the form. Adding shrub roses and lavender, they festooned the edges to articulate the formality of the precise design.
With the addition of a new sunroom, Ted immediately saw the opportunity to create an outdoor space with a terrace garden, a granite fireplace, and two abutting house walls. The fourth side of the room opens into a sweeping lawn with a colonnade of majestic pink dogwoods. “We positioned very deep granite treads so you can float down to the garden from the home,” Ted says. The plant materials soften the façade of the house, making the Kennebunkport home feel relevant to its surroundings. “That’s what landscaping does,” Ted says. “It sifts the architecture and creates a sense of connection to the space.”
Ted’s perspective on landscaping dwells deeper than the surface design. He explains that a good landscape creates mystery and intrigue through the living plants and layers of stone.; thus, the eye is slowed down by the landscape instead of landing on the hard lines of the architecture.
“Cars, houses, walkways are masculine,” Ted says. “These are shapes that have no movement. When working with the landscape, it is supple and changing, which are qualities of the feminine.” The landscape honors both the history of the original home and garden, while embracing new plants and stonework that transition the site to the 21st century. Somewhere in Ted’s 2,000+ landscape projects, he’s struck a good balance between the old and the new.