Garden for Gathering

Berkshire Botanical Garden Design Competition

Drawing on the tradition of the Berkshires as a retreat, our design seeks to evoke the salon tradition, offering a space for gathering during the day with ample seating meant to inspire conversation between returning friends and new acquaintances, whether while waiting for a tour to depart or enjoying a treat from the cafe. The space is meant to be open and inviting, with the noise from Route 2 diminished by a carefully considered perennial planting that attracts birds and butterflies to visit, with gravel and non-linear benches to encourage a slower, meandering pace through the garden. As a refuge for both people and pollinators, the space is meant to be a regenerative moment that encourages curiosity while leading visitors into the gardens. 

Proposed site plan with curving bench seating and a dense sensory border planting

Plant palette

Using a holistic approach to noise mitigation, blocking and masking, we are proposing a dense planting along Route 2 in place of the suggested earth berm. A wall of Japanese cryptomeria, often used as a windbreak and a privacy screen, serves as a strong diffuser of sound. It is backed here by the densely branched and bird-attracting sweet plum tree and cranberry viburnum, followed by sound attenuating and producing grasses and dense juniper groundcover.

Section showing the layering of plantings separating the garden from the roadway. Each was selected for its acoustic properties, whether it be dampening, diffusing, or masking potential traffic noise

Regular visitors enjoying the garden as a space for rest and conversation during their stay

The garden can also host educational programs or serve as a great space for school groups to take a break or reset

The garden can also serve as a flexible space for special events including evening gatherings amid the uplit plantings

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