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Landscape Design

Cape Cod Landscape Design

Professional ideas and inspiration for Cape Cod gardens

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Cape Cod Style Guide

Use this design sheet to help you create the perfect Cape Cod landscape. You'll get ideas for color, décor, materials, plants and fabric. It is a great starting point for any landscaping project.

Cape Cod Landscape Style Guide (PDF)

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Cape Cod, the cape in eastern Massachusetts is the birthplace of the Cape Cod design style that has spread throughout the country. The homes are meant to blend into the landscape, however, still stand out with their charming character. The original Cape Cod home was built to endure harsh weather conditions; carefully placed within their surroundings, they are simple and elegant. The homes are usually painted in natural tones to reflect the light landscape, their design is not overpowering to the natural beauty of the area. The foundation and landscape plantings are kept minimal, just enough to accent the architecture of the home. Whether you live in Cape Cod or just love the architectural design, you can create the perfect landscape by understanding the basic principles of the Cape Cod garden.

Elements within Cape Cod gardens:

  • Window boxes
  • Shutters
  • Picket fencing
  • Traditional bird baths
  • Bird houses
  • Pergolas
  • Brick
  • Bluestone

Simple, unique garden décor speaks volumes in a Cape Cod garden. With the homes effortless charm of shutters, planted window boxes and white picket fencing; the character can be carried throughout the garden with wildlife escapes and secluded seating areas. Natural stone walkways, pergolas, arbors, patio furniture, and container gardens all contribute to the overarching theme of the simple lifestyle in the Cape Cod.

Common characteristics of a Cape Cod garden:

  1. Foundation plantings - should be kept minimal, not taking away from the home. Using smaller plants will prevent the landscape from overwhelming the home.
  2. Xeriscape - is a great method to landscaping a Cape Cod home. Xeriscaping sustains natural resources by using native plants that require less water, no chemicals and represent the natural landscapes of Cape Cod.
  3. Native grasses - that grow along the beaches of Cape Cod, or are native to your area will keep the Cape Cod landscape truly original. Try to stay away from grasses and turf that require excessive maintenance and water.
  4. Cape Cod architecture - is simple, but powerful. Elements within the garden like gates, arbors, pergolas and lamp posts will all complement the beauty of your home.
  5. Container gardens - can be placed anywhere is the garden. Large, cast iron or glazed pots planted with flourishing flowers and lush greenery will accent small areas.
  6. Color - choices like white, grey, cream, or light yellow work best for the home, while you can make pops of color with annual flowers in containers or in the foundation planting.

Laying out the hard lines in your landscape plan will be the first step to designing your front or backyard. Hard lines include all hardscaping elements like walkways, driveways, walls etc. The landscape plantings should blend into the hardscape, home and surroundings without being too overwhelming. With the Cape Cod style you don’t want an overdone landscape, it’s doesn’t make for a successful design; what does is a landscape that blends in and contributes to the architecture of the home and its natural environment.

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