Jack Gorman was seeking a celebration of the senses when it came to reworking the 8¼-acre property surrounding a simple shingle house he purchased in Westport as an escape from city life. “I want to connect with the natural world — its sights, sounds, and smells.” He adds, “The house itself is modest; the real beauty is the land.”
Mature woodlands line the street end of the drive and the perimeter, but save for three trees — a Stewartia, a river birch, and a magnolia — the property immediately surrounding the house was a blank slate. Gorman started by mowing and pulling out undesirables. When he saw the landscaping of a home in adjacent Little Compton, Rhode Island, he knew he had found his coconspirator. “It wasn’t overdesigned,” he says.
A call to the creator, Andrea Nilsen Morse, owner and principal designer of Marblehead-based Nilsen Landscape Design, established that the two were in synch. They met on-site in August 2013, and by Thanksgiving, a plan was in place. The look is in keeping with what Morse describes as the “coastal-farm hybrid” feel of the area.
Installed in the spring of 2014 by West Bridgewater-based Schumacher Companies Landscape Artisans, the design balances the deliberate and the informal. It incorporates a hand-built stone wall, two half allees of mature trees with pretty blooms and delicious scents, a wildflower meadow that is home to Gorman’s beehives, an orchard of 16 trees bearing four different kinds of fruit, perennial gardens in a restrained palette of purple and white, and a majestic sculpture.