Home Prairie and Wetland Center
16245 S US Hwy 71
Belton, MO 64012
Tel: (816) 331-9738
Fax: (816) 331-9739

A Coastal Rhode Island Property

Category: Estates

Location: Coastal Rhode Island
Designed By:
Oehme and van Sweden Landscape Architects,
Landscape Design Overview:
A long-dormant farm property on Narragansett Bay, restored in accordance with the owner's conservationist spirit as a part-time residence.

"I couldn't believe such a piece of land could exist," says the proud owner, referring to his decision to purchase the 85-acre parcel on the Rhode Island coast. "I bought the land in 1992 and it has been a dominant part of my life ever since."

His dream was to rejuvenate the land and make it a beautiful place to visit, to walk, to contemplate. His goal was to create a habitat for plants, animals, and people that would be harmonious for all three. He wanted to take what nature had placed in this extraordinary setting and, with some human intervention, let it flourish.

"It was a jungle," says James van Sweden, partner in the landscape architecture firm which has been working on the property with the owner and his wife since 1993. "It hadn't been farmed in 45 years. The first time I visited it, we didn't know if we would find our way out."

The garden, says van Sweden, "is a metaphor for the American meadow. It is more gardenesque and more detailed and intricate the closer it is to the house." As it falls away toward the sea, it becomes more informal, incorporating grasses until it merges with the coastal buffer, where a set of mahogany stairs leads visitors to the gray shale of the shore.

--Excerpts from "Dream Land" by Gail Ravgiala, The Boston Globe Magazine, April 9, 2000.