Shelter Harbor Point

Location: Shelter Harbor, Rhode Island

As part of a wholesale cottage expansion and renovation, a new and much improved relationship between house and garden was revealed by HMWhite’s comprehensive landscape design. Surrounded on three sides with its salt pond ecology, a matrix of native and natively-adapted flowering shrubs, meadow grasses and perennials was knitted into the existing marine shrub habitat. To satisfy and ultimately exceed coastal environmental regulations, a simple palette of complimentary native shrubs and trees was woven into the disturbed shrubland edge, reinforcing its buffering and stabilizing function. A coherent spatial structure created a stronger and more robust landscape armature and defined a network of garden rooms. A legible collection of functional outdoor rooms emerged which support adjoining rooms and uses. Each distinct outdoor room’s garden design share a common landscape language to ensure fluid habitat and visual connections throughout the property’s four acre landscape restoration. The family’s daily summer activities and the occasional hosting of special events were fully accommodated with the variety of garden sizes and their seamless linkages. 

Through the combination of modest topographic manipulations and the layering of high-performing native plant communities, the landscape was designed to fully exploit the site’s 270 degree ocean-front exposure. A selection of strategically placed mature native trees and shrubs were integrated within this expanded landscape fabric to improve and visually anchor the scale of the architecture to its landscape context. With the landscape viewed and experienced from multiple levels and points of view, its composition and spatial structure required a unique visual and functional resiliency.

Design Team:

Landscape Architect: HMWhite
Architect: Schmitt Sampson Walker Architects
Landscape Contractor: Landscape Creations of RI

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