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SIMPSON10@CSLD.EDU 832. 483. 5520

Project Goals 1) Preserve and encourage biodiversity 2) Increase outside social places, and site guesthouse 3) Grow food and flowers for family of 4

Section through the two-acre focus area, shows barn, new terraced garden, house, and patio.

4) Soften abrupt edge between focus area and forest 5) Direct water away from house 6) Improve safety and appearance of entry


ill and Christine Copeland moved into their passive solar home off West Road in Northfield, Massachusetts, with their two sons Luke and Will in 2002. Their home is six miles from downtown Northfield, on the upland ridge above the Connecticut River valley just west of the river and town center. Bill and Christine work in Greenfield approximately eleven miles away.

the rural character and diverse forests in the northwest corner of Northfield along West Road. The winding West Road is the old road between Northfield and Vernon, Vermont that connected the fertile Connecticut River valley with the timber-rich hillsides. In an effort to protect the area from further low-density development, the Copelands bought the adjacent parcels, increasing their property to almost 200 acres. Much of their land and the The Copelands are nature enthusiasts who were drawn to surrounding area has been logged multiple times since the early 1700’s; stonewalls suggest a period of grazing or crop production; and mixed ages and sizes of tree stands and overgrown skid paths are evidence that there has been a logging disturbance since the last 60 years. An abrupt forest edge surrounds the focus area, and creates a pleasantly enclosed feeling. The Copelands want more visitors to enjoy this private place but lack well-defined areas for hosting guests. They want to have a central outdoor gathering place that connects to other places on the property. They desire new social nooks in the focus area to increase access and use of otherwise under utilized areas. Additionally the Copelands are looking for an appropriate location for a new small structure that can serve as a guesthouse. Summary Analysis: Drainage, circulation, views, sun & shade, and vegetation.

While the Copelands like the feeling of open space, they are less enthusiastic about mowing their lawn every week

Section drawing of new vegetable terrace, trellis, and pond on the east side of the Copeland’s home.

and feel improvements can be made to the abrupt forest edge to make the edge more gradual. A small break in the forest edge to the southeast provides a hilltop view across the Connecticut River valley. A thoughtful selection of trees, shrubs, and flowers has been planted somewhat haphazardly around the property. The Copelands want an organized planting scheme that will beautify areas with blooms throughout the summer, define places, and provide a mix of fruits, berries, and nuts. They want to improve the vegetable garden by defining it better within the landscape, make it more welcoming to people, and less welcoming to animals.

Final Plan: New paths, gardens, outdoor social places, and management plan.

Section drawing of new patio, arbor, and hot tub.


Northfield Project  

2 acre focus site within a 200 acre property in Northfield, MA combines habitat design with food and fuel production.