A designer’s not-so-secret cutting garden provides a fresh family hangout as well as beautiful blossoms.
Hidden behind the garage of Sarah DiMascio’s Chestnut Hill Tudor Revival is something wonderfully unexpected—a glorious profusion of blooming flowers, herbs of all varieties, and more than enough vegetables to share the bounty with neighbors (and the occasional squirrel). The garden, pea stone patio, and three raised beds provide DiMascio, her husband, Joe; sons Logan, six, and Jack, three; and a puppy named Finley a peaceful, secluded area to relax and entertain, as well as get their hands dirty.
The seed of an idea was first planted in the interior designer’s mind when the couple bought the house in 2016. DiMascio, whose design firm ST Studio is based in Chestnut Hill, wanted somewhere to grow vegetables, so she and her husband installed two small, raised beds in the backyard. Sometime later, they hired John Haven of LeBlanc Jones Landscape Architects to develop a master plan for the area. After seeing the beds, he “ran with the idea for a cutting garden”—a spot to grow flowers meant for bouquets and table arrangements, says DiMascio (who uses the surname Trumbore professionally).
But DiMascio didn’t want to use the space solely for gardening: She wanted her family to hang out there, too. “It became the destination bookend to the overall design,” Haven says, drawing people away from the seating terrace off the back of the house. “It’s on the loop of circulation around the property, so there’s a lot of movement and passage through the garden.”
Phil Mastroianni Corp. Landscape Construction fenced in the 28-by-42-foot space and surrounded it with boxwood hedges. In the spring, daffodil and tulip bulbs that were buried before the winter in the new cedar beds bloom first. Then, DiMascio, with help from her two sons (who love to dig around in the dirt), starts planting tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, snapdragons, cosmos, and zinnias.
Nothing brings the designer more joy than retreating to the garden—“I’ll bring my laptop out there and my coffee and do some work,” DiMascio says, “or we’ll go to watch the boys play with their trucks in the pea stone”—but beautiful bouquets of flowers grown just outside her back door feel like icing on the cake.
LeBlanc Jones Landscape Architects
Phil Mastroianni Corp. Landscape Construction