Landscapes of the Month: Landscape Creations of RI Blends New with the Old - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Landscape Creations of RI Blends New with the Old


In Little Compton, Rhode Island, you can find a new home nestled in a field with extensive stone walls that appears to have been there for years.

This homeowner had grown up in the area and spent time riding horses on the property as a child. It was a place she had always wanted. Landscape Creations of RI, based in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, was introduced to the project through the landscape architect firm, Stephen Stimson Associates.

The new house was placed further back from the water on a high point.
Photo: Landscape Creations

The client wanted a seamless transition so the new house blended into the pastoral setting and historical town. The project took a year to complete and the final results earned Landscape Creations a Gold Award in the 2020 Awards of Excellence.

“A NALP Award gives potential clients just one more way of knowing we are respected in our field for completing beautiful, award-winning work,” says Rochelle Zeyl, executive partner of Landscape Creations. “Sharing our work with others through NALP is also a wonderful way to validate the hard work and effort of our team, and to honor their talent and skill. It is recognition for a job well done, an acknowledgment that their work is admired and appreciated. When a project is selected, there is nothing better than seeing the pride that our team shares for being distinguished on a national level.” 


The homeowner knocked down the original home and buried the swimming pool. The new house was sited further back from the water on a high spot of land.

To make the new house appear it had always been located in the field, Landscape Creations re-shaped the land to create a gradual and naturalized ascent from the water’s edge up to the elevated site of the new house. Loam, heavy sand and leaf compost were brought in to reset the grades.

“The grades were brought up tremendously on this project, in some places by 5 feet,” says Mike McMahon, project superintendent. “In fact, the meadow surrounding the house looked nothing like it does today. Their original existing home on the property was much closer to the water’s edge, with a swimming pool, and a long driveway to access it.”

Landscape Creations worked closely with the home builder, Dennis Talbot Construction, to naturalize the ascent from the water’s edge up to the elevated site of the new home.

“Native plantings and the construction and rebuilding of stone walls that are so prominent in this area helped to finish the look,” McMahon says. “We knew we were successful, when a new visitor asked the question, ‘Wow, what did you do here?’”

Photo: NDoan Photography

Landscape architect Joe Wahler from Stimson selected the plant palette and except for the perennials near the house, all the plant material were natives such as hydrangeas, cedar trees, maples, viburnums and grasses. This was all to help meld the new home back into the landscape. London Planetrees and Russian sage line the walkway from the pool area.

Over 1,000 feet of free-standing, dry set single stacked walls can be found on the property. Some of the walls were preexisting and needed repair while others were created from scratch.

Photo: NDoan Photography

Once the grading to improve sightlines was complete, crews could begin working on these many stone walls. During the peak of construction, eighteen masons and crew members transformed about 250 tons of stone in 350 linear feet of new stone walls in less than a week. Using no structural concrete or mortar, the dry set walls were built by selecting and placing rocks in a stable arrangement.

The project also included numerous stone walkways and pavers, a sports court and a pool for the rustic setting. The pool was constructed with Kitledge granite while the walkway in front of the house is built from salvaged granite curbing with antique cobblestone detail.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? The deadline to enter is Aug. 9, 2021.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.