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Kristin e. Thomas Landscape Planning Portfolio

South Hadley, MA •

Index Design and Planning 2-5 6-9 10-13 14-15

Site Design and Management Plan Urban Design Residential Landscape Design Installed Designs and Site Work

Related Works 16-17 Photography 18 Watercolor 19 Writing




Site Design & Management Plan Tully Lake Campground 25 acres Royalston, MA Spring 2010 Kristin Thomas, Tabitha Kaigle, Jamie Scott

Project Context: Tully Lake Campground is a quiet refuge on 200-acre Tully Lake, offering 35 tent-only campsites.

All graphics by Kristin Thomas

Tully Lake is an artificial lake created as a result of the construction of the Tully Dam and many of the most popular campsites are located directly on the water’s edge. As the campground continues to grow in popularity the aging facilities are no longer adequate for camper demand. At the broader scale, some of the shoreline campsites are experiencing significant erosion. The towering canopy of white pines is in decline and may no longer be there within a few decades. The site design of this project focused on the common area of the campground, and looked to increase ranger work and storage space, increase the ranger station and comfort station facilities and define and enhance visitor gathering areas. The project then looked at the broad scale to develop best management practices for entire campground, addressing such issues as shoreline erosion and declining forest health.






oad Common Area

Tully Lake

Tully Dam

The campground is located in a large expanse of undeveloped land, much of which is white pine. Many of the pines along the shore are in decline.


Looking northeast towards ranger station and common area. The overnight parking and fire pit area experience some mid-day shade but are mostly hot and exposed.

Looking west at the ranger station. While it is conveniently sited near the entrance, it is too small to meet the current demand.

Autocad, GIS, Indesign, Photoshop, Hand Drafting/Rendering, Alternative Designs, Client Presentation


FEMA 100-YEAR FLOOD-PLAIN: The campground sits just above Tully Lake and is very susceptible to flooding.


flooding of Tully Lake is contributing to severe shoreline erosion and declining forest health. The final design proposes limiting visitor access to the shoreline while it is under restoration. Soil bioengineering techniques are recommended to stabilize the shoreline. Revegetating with native species tolerant of seasonal flooding is also recommended for those areas losing large populations of white pines.

t Boa To nch Lau

To Southern Campsites

Overnight Parking

ger Ran ion a St t

Rec Area Picnic/Fire Pit Area

Day-use Parking

ane Do



es W To




Comfort Station





Ca Areas of Crowding, High Use

ACCESS AND CIRCULATION ANALYSIS: This analysis of the common area revealed that there are few paths or edges to direct pedestrians. Surface water is predominantly shed away from the site and buildings towards the surrounding forest edge or across the parking area onto Doane Hill Road.

High Use Areas Puddling Water Visitor Vehicles


The site analysis of this project occurred at the scales:

• Broad scale analysis of the whole campground including shoreline erosion, declining forest health, and trail overuse. • Fine scale analysis of the campground common area where visitor check in and all campground facilities are located. The fine scale analysis included access and circulation, sun and shade, legal restrictions, soils and vegetation. The analyses revealed many constraints within the common area, limiting where new buildings, parking, and additional group gathering spaces can be located.

Foot Traffic Direction of Water Flow Ranger Vehicle Access


Recycling/ Trash Comfort Station

Final Design

Looking south into the newly designed entrance

Accessible Parking

and common area, tall and medium size shade trees dot the landscape, helping to define spaces and give afternoon shade. An enlarged ranger station greets visitors with a broad front porch Firewood and accessible ramp while the heart of the common area draws visitors in with a broad Boats lawn and a fire pit surrounded by a pergola. Accessible parking, sited east of the fire pit, is located close to accessible campsites and Ranger Station is reached via a narrow access road.

Ranger Work Area

Solar Pergola and Fire Circle

Common Lawn Seating Wall Horseshoes

Access Road



eH an

Do ad

Ro Overflow Parking Parking


A new ranger work area is located on the southern end of the common area and is buffered from visitors’ view with tall vegetation. A newly designed comfort station is accessed via paths lined with meadow grasses and native shrubs and perennials. The recreation area has remained in the same location over the leach field and stone seating walls offer a place for onlookers to gather. The parking has been collected near the entrance and large trees have been added to provide shade. An overflow parking area has been developed west of the primary parking lot and can be used during busy weekends.

Replanting with Native Species

For the common area, a number of different plant species are recommended to

create a transition from the surrounding, mature forest down to a common lawn area. The woodland shrub and perennial border uses native species, some of which are endangered, to provide habitat for wildlife and help maintain ecosystem diversity. The recommended plants help define spaces in the common area while still maintaining a naturalized aesthetic. The use of native species is also recommended when revegetating the forest in place of deteriorating white pines. Native species tolerant of seasonal flooding are recommended for the shoreline area.

Existing Forest

Woodland Shrub Border

Woodland Perennial Border


Low-Mow Lawn

VEGETATION TRANSITION: A gradient from the existing forest edge to a low-mow lawn provides a gradual transition from dense vegetation to a more developed open common area.


Urban Design Project Context:

Downtown Hopkinton, situated only four miles from I-495, holds the intersection of Routes 135 and 85

and is characterized by fast, heavy traffic and frequent accidents. Overhead utility wires overshadow the downtown’s beautiful old buildings, and crumbling sidewalks and minimal greenery also visually define the streetscape. For a town of 14,000 people, Hopkinton’s town center has relatively few businesses or lively social spaces.

Main Street Revitalization 10 Blocks Hopkinton, MA Winter 2010 Kristin Thomas, Gareth Crosby, Lily Jacobson All graphics by Kristin Thomas

This plan takes a multifaceted approach to revitalization. It proposes economic development measures, walkability improvements and traffic calming measures, streetscape improvements, stormwater runoff mitigation techniques, and strategies for creating lively social spaces.

Residential on the Hill

Municipal Bldg

Commercial Bldg

Dense Commercial

Commercial at the Crossroads

Residential Bldg


Downtown Residential

Historic homes dot the hill but pedestrians are exposed to fast moving traffic.

The dense commercial area has many faded crosswalks and sees heavy traffic.

The crossroads of Rts. 85 and 135 bring heavy traffic through the town center.

Historic homes house various downtown businesses and have large setbacks.


Rt. 8


EXISTING CONDITIONS: Within this 10 block stretch, four distinct character zones are evident.

Rt. 135


ArcGIS, Google Earth, Indesign, Photoshop, Hand Drafting/Rendering, Alternative Conceptual Plans, Public Meetings and Presentations



During the analysis process of this project, the physical and social com-


Land Use Commercial Industrial Undeveloped Land Nursery Water High-Density Residential Medium-Density Residential Low-Density Residential Roads

ponents of Hopkinton’s town center, seen in relationship to the town as a whole and the regional context, were explored.Various types of analyses were done to inform this project, including regional and community connections, land use, population growth, zoning, pedestrian and vehicular movement, stormwater, aesthetics, and social spaces.

TOWN-WIDE LAND USE: Much of the development throughout the town is low-density residences, which results in the majority of the residents living away from the downtown. High Density Residential

Medium Density Residential

Low Density Residential



SURROUNDING COMMERCIAL CENTERS: A lack in variety of downtown retail stores as well as strong commercial centers in surrounding towns draw Hopkinton residents out of town.



Project Focus Area Unaltered roads Narrowed roads Commercial Center Downtown Greenway Parallel street parking Small street trees Large, broad trees Rain gardens Pocket park Municipal parking lot Municipal parking garage Farmers market Medians Mixed use infill Gateway Point of interest

Final Conceptual Plan

In the future Hopkinton that this plan envisions, the downtown is becoming the heart of the community with many

lively places where people interact. This conceptual plan outlines measures to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow, aesthetics, social spaces, and allows for infill development to encourage more businesses and residents downtown. All of these factors and more contribute to a downtown that is part of an increasingly resilient, thriving community.



Tree lined streets, as this photo simulation shows, are suggested for the majority of downtown Hopkinton. They help narrow overly wide travel lanes and slow speeding vehicles. They also provide a visual buffer between pedestrians and vehicles and can visually unify the different areas of the downtown.

PHOTO SIMULATION: Existing street trees on Main Street, above left. A significant increase in street trees, above right, greatly improve the streetscape.

In the redesigned cross-

roads of routes 135 and 85, rain gardens surround and beautify the intersection, softening hard surfaces and providing a barrier between pedestrians and moving traffic. Wider sidewalks welcome pedestrians and additional street trees offer shade. Retail Shop

Seasonal Planter

Rt. 135 East

Seasonal Planter

Rain Gardens and Additional Vegetation

A PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY MAIN STREET: Increased vegetation and widened sidewalks welcome pedestrians downtown.


Residential Landscape Design Historic Residence Project Context: Being a 19th century home, there was a strong desire to preserve and improve existing, historic vegetation. Increasing privacy through strong visual and sound buffers, particularly in the rear yard, and addressing inefficient access from the home to outdoor spaces were also areas of concern. Finally, improving drainage along the driveway and considering alternatives for outdoor living spaces was also a priority.

The front entry porch lacks vegetation and can be hot in the afternoon sun. The driveway slopes towards the house, causing puddling water along the foundation.


Main Street

Norway Maple


Neighbor’s Garage


Neighbor’s Shed

Main Entry



Red Maple

Common Lilacs Annabelle Hydrangeas

0.25 acres Shelburne Falls, MA Fall 2009

Norway Spruces

Historic plants, including maples, lilacs, and hydrangeas, surround the home but provide little privacy on a what is a very open and exposed site. Neighbors surround the home on 3 sides. The rear of the house lacks an attractive and stable point of access to the side yard. There is also no dedicated outdoor entertaining space.

Senior Center

EXISTING CONDITIONS: A lack of privacy, little vegetation, and neighbors on three sides create a feeling of exposure on this historic site.


SKILLS & TECHNOLOGY USED: Property Survey, Vectorworks, Google Earth, Indesign, Photoshop, Hand Drafting/Rendering, Alternative Designs, Client Presentation

SUN/SHADE ANALYSIS AT SUMMER SOLSTICE: Sun and shade, shown above at 9 am, 12 pm, and 6 pm on June 22, reveals areas in need of summer shade.


The site analysis of this project revealed numerous challenges and opportunities thorughout the property. A sun and shade analysis,

shown above, revealed that the front entrance area is exposed to hot afternoon sun while the side yard has has mixture of sun and shade throughout the day. The senior center to the south and the Norway spruces to the east cast significant shade all year long. This information as well as other analysis, including drainage, views, and access and circulation, informed final design decisions.


vegetation, making privacy a challenge. Red Maple

Entry Porch Annabelle Hydrangea

Side Entrances to Kitchen Common Purple Lilac

Rear Entry

Garage Norway Spruce


Final Design


x A stone patio steps

u The driveway has been re-

graded to create positive drainage away from the house A new vegetated drainage swale along the northern property boundary catches runoff from the neighbor’s gutter.

Neighbor’s Garage rs on


Emtpy Concrete Pad

Rear Entry


Picket Fence

Main Entry

v A welcoming front

garden has been created with serviceberry trees that provide spring flowering interest, summer shade, as well as strategic buffering of views into the backyard.

x NPaewtio

v w

indicates the transition from public to private space and panels of trellis extend on either side of the arbor to maintain privacy for the backyard.


Neighbor’s Shed

d Porch New Covere


Senior Center

y To increase winter solar gain, the three Norway spruces have been replaced with a red maple transplanted from the front yard and smaller flowering trees.

z A new private garden is

Gate 6’Fence


w A trellised gateway


Pervious Pave Driveway

up to a covered porch where deep shade creates a comfortable space to relax and the kitchen is easily accessible.


surrounded with large shrubs and flowering perennials.

Amelanchier canadensis (3)

Mixture: Buxus macrophylla, Syringa ‘Josee�, Ilex glabra

Main Gateway Entry & Arbor

Mixture: Syringa vulgaris, Taxus media, Vaccinium corymbosum

Covered Porch Mixture: Hydrangea macrophylla, Nepeta faassenii

Rear Entry

Covered Ramp Mixture: Ilex glabra, Juniperus chinensis, Kolkwitzia amabilis, Taxus media

FINAL DESIGN SECTION THROUGH SIDE YARD: New ornamental trees provide shade to the western-facing entry porch. A gateway and arbor and tall shrubs provide privacy for the backyard and a new covered porch along the southern face of the house provides additional outdoor living space. A covered ramp improves the transition from the garage to the rear entry.


Installed Designs & Site Work




I am inspired by shapes and

patterns I see in both the natural world...


... and the built world, particularly when the two are intertwined.



Watercolor is another way that I see the landscape; it allows me to observe and record shape and form in a free flowing medium.


Writing Reflections on Sustainability and Regenerative Design

At a fundamental level, many of us

are looking for a more sustainable future. I believe most people would agree that we wish to see human life continue on. I would also propose that people want to see our natural environment restored and even improved for current and future generations. These two desires comprise a core part of the notion of sustainability; sustainability is based on the value of meeting current human needs without compromising resources for future generations. Sustainability at its core is a hopeful, forward looking approach. It recognizes that our current actions can and will affect the future of our natural world. However, if we stop here, we could potentially still view humans and nature as separate entities. In a linear view, we may think that human ingenuity and technology will provide for us in the long run, focusing solely on the end product. However, technology will not feed and shelter us and it certainly cannot replace the complex, awe-inspiring wonders that we see in the natural world. It is necessary to have a paradigm shift, to view nature and humans as part of the same system and to view them in a cyclical, interconnected way. Regenerative design embodies that necessary paradigm shift and is based on principles that make leaps and bounds towards a more sustainable future. The crux of regenerative design is in its view of nature and people. It has a systems approach, viewing all the elements of nature, including people, as a part of a larger ecosystem. Within that larger ecosystem exist smaller ecosystems. The fundamental theory of regenerative design is recognizing that nature and humans exist within a mutual framework, have impacts on each other and perhaps most important, have the potential for a symbiotic relationship.

Regenerative design also recognizes that human growth and development are real, unavoidable factors and sets out to modify and adapt landscapes to meet human needs in such a way that is self-renewing. It acknowledges that completely natural ecosystems evolved prior to human intervention and are essentially an unattainable state of being. Therefore, this design approach sets out to establish systems that allow for constant replacement, or regeneration, by using their own functions, materials and energy. Regenerative design at its core means shedding a linear view of resource extraction, production, consumption and waste and taking on a cyclical view of the flow of resources at their source, consumption, and waste stages. In recognizing the presence and associated needs of humans within nature, one also recognizes the inevitability of necessary development to meet those human needs. Currently, our development patterns are highly destructive, or degenerative, and highly consumptive of natural resources. In contrast, regenerative design recognizes the inherent complexities of nature and seeks to learn from them, creating regenerative and sustainable development patterns for humans. In his pioneering work in the field, regenerative designer John Lyle recognized that human systems often simplify development, such as our monocultural agricultural system, while natural systems often add more complexity to development. Along with creating complex, resilient systems, regenerative design also recognizes that it exists in the specific context of its location and qualities of place. It analyzes and responds to the particulars of soils, vegetation, hydrology, topography, climate and culture. While every landscape may not need to be designed for human activities and functions, humans must be considered as a contributing factor at some level in the design process to allow for effective planning of future ecosystem needs and impacts. Furthermore, when necessary, incorporating humans into the design solution, as exemplified through the principles of regenerative design, will create resilient, lasting landscapes for current and future generations.


Resume Education Conway School of Landscape Design Conway, Massachusetts June 2010 M.A.L.D. (Masters in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design) • Design theory and learned skills are applied to real projects including a residential landscape design, regional public planning project and master plan project. • Relevant Classes: Landscape Ecology, Site Engineering and Hand Graphics, Humanities, and Graphic Design.

The University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources Burlington, Vermont May 2006 Bachelor of Science in Private Outdoor Recreation Management Concentration in Sustainable Landscape Design and Horticulture • G.P.A.: 3.66 • Relevant Classes: Landscape Design, Sketching and Illustration, Design Strategies, Park and Recreation Design, Community Design and Planning, Natural History and Field Ecology, Ecosystem Management.

Landscape Design and Land Use Planning Experience


Freelance Landscape Designer

Associate Planner

Various Design Projects in Western MA, CT, NH & VT June 2006-Present • Drafted comprehensive site designs and planting plans for residential and commercial properties. • Designed and implemented edible, perennial, and native gardens. • Consulted with clients on design and implementation alternatives. • Mapped, measured, inventoried and photographed sites. • Developed multiple design solutions for site renovations. • Selected site-appropriate plant material and installed designs. • Executed seasonal maintenance for established landscapes. • Collaborated with other site contractors to ensure an accurate end product.

Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, Briistol, CT November 2010-Present • Project Manager, Food Systems Planning: Led project team to develop a plan identifying neighborhoods with poor access to healthy foods. Collected and analyzed data, held public forums, and developed individual and community solutions to improve access. Drafted and designed final plan. • Project Manager, Forestville Community Design Project: Developed project concept for a village revitalization plan. Organized design team including University of CT LA faculty and graduate students Oversaw and participated in data collection and analysis. Led public participation forums, wrote project contracts and proposals, and contributed to creation of final land use plan. • Land Use Planning: Analyzed zoning regulation amendments from neighboring municipalities in light of the Regional Plan of Conservation and Development. Ensured that proposed changes would encourage sustainable development. Wrote staff reports recommending the acceptance or rejection of said amendments.

Campground Site Design and Management Plan

Landscape Installation and Field Experience

Tully Lake Campground The Trustees of Reservations, Royalston, MA Conway School Spring 2010 • As part of a three-person team, analyzed site conditions at two scales: Broad scale analysis of the whole campground including shoreline erosion, declining forest health, and trail overuse. Fine scale analysis of the campground common area including solar aspect, drainage, and legal restrictions. • Determined solutions for numerous facility issues including an overcrowded ranger station, insufficient ranger work and storage space, and limited parking. • Identified opportunities for sustainable management practices including alternative energy and composting toilets.

Nursery Supervisor and Assistant

Main Street Revitalization Plan Downtown Revitalization Committee, Hopkinton, MA Conway School Winter 2010 • As part of a three-person team, conducted site research and analysis and mapped GIS data. • Held public meetings. • Researched aspects of revitalization, including economic development, sustainability standards and stormwater management. • Developed a two-phase schematic revitalization plan for the 0.7-mile stretch of Main Street in the downtown, increasing pedestrian safety, improving aesthetics and vehicular movement, and creating opportunities for social interactions and community building. • Created a series of design guidelines for topics including economic development, pedestrian and vehicular movement, infrastructure, aesthetics, social spaces and sustainability. • Developed a timeline of implementation for the revitalization plan.

Residential Site Plan Shelburne Falls, MA Conway School Fall 2009 • Surveyed and mapped a 0.25-acre historic site. • Analyzed such factors as sun/shade, vegetation, views, drainage, and access and circulation. • Presented landscape designs to clients. • Developed a site plan that increases privacy and outdoor living spaces, improves drainage and circulation throughout the property, and highlights and builds upon existing historic plantings. • Created a driveway grading plan, a materials palette using locally sourced products, and a comprehensive planting plan.

Gardeners Supply Company, Burlington, VT April 2007 –August 2009 • Responded to and addressed customer complaints. • Balanced constantly shifting priorities, including staff needs, plant care and customer requests. • Interviewed, hired and scheduled a team of 6 seasonal employees, working within a set seasonal employment budget. • As staff horticulturalist, prescribed organic treatments for pest and disease issues among nursery stock and for customer inquires. • Built seasonal and weekly orders for all plant material, including annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and tropicals. • Oversaw receiving of plant material, handling of claims and follow-through on special orders. • Designed seasonal layout of nursery and merchandising of nursery stock, including rotating weekly vignettes. • Developed curriculums for and taught numerous seminars, including Introductory Principles to Landscape Design.

Landscape Designer/Installer Shepherd Landscape & Design, Inc., Otis, MA Seasonal 2002 - 2006, 2010 • Planned and implemented various landscape designs. • Installed and maintained lawns, driveways and annual plantings. • Entrusted with increasing responsibility over four years from intern to full-time position, including overseeing the installation of plantings. • Crafted basic stone walls and walkways. • Executed seasonal maintenance for established landscapes.

Software Knowledge • • • • • •

Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, InDesign and introductory knowledge of Illustrator) ArcGIS Introductory knowledge of AutoCAD 2011 Google Docs Microsoft Office Introductory knowledge of Google SketchUp 7


Kristin thomas landscape design portfolio  
Kristin thomas landscape design portfolio