Best of Boston Home 2010

Let’s face it: Construction and renovation are not for the faint of heart. Unless, that is, you’ve got expert guidance on your side. That’s where the Best of Boston Home comes in.

Outdoor


Big or small, a yard deserves more than a low-concept, high-maintenance carpet of bluegrass—especially since there’s a mind-boggling variety of flowering plants, wild grasses, and trees to choose from. The best landscapers and designers can turn these elements into an attractive, resilient space that suits your style and, most important, your tolerance for yard work.

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This Reed Hilderbrand landscape design uses terraces to connect a Lexington residence with its rural setting. (Photograph by Kent Dayton)

Landscape Architect
REED HILDERBRAND

With notable skill and a deep sense of place, the designers at Reed Hilderbrand craft refined, understated landscapes. Their work incorporates sustainable principles, indigenous plantings, and beautifully detailed stonework, and is heavy on four-season appeal. Reed Hilderbrand’s best-known local project is the Leventritt Garden at the Arnold Arboretum, a three-acre terraced landscape that showcases nearly 150 plant species.

741 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, 617-923-2422, reedhilderbrand.com

Decks
SITECREATIVE

As founder and principal of SiteCreative, Stephanie Hubbard regularly conquers projects involving steep terrain, challenging wetlands, and problematic urban sites. What else would you expect from a This Old House regular and the architect behind the DeCordova Museum’s superb sculpture park? Hubbard also has an affinity for creating rooftop decks and courtyards, using unexpected materials like frosted glass and black river rock. Green bonus: Several of her projects have achieved LEED certification.

535 Albany St., Ste. 402B, Boston, 617-390-5663, sitecreativelandscape.com

Fencing
NEW ENGLAND WOODWORKERS

Unlike many local fencing companies, New England Woodworkers actually grows its own wood (on a tree farm in Maine), which helps ensure the impressive quality and longevity of its handcrafted fences and gates. Want something unique? The Woodworkers team is more than happy to design a pattern exclusively for your home, complete with coordinating pergolas, gates, trellises, and decks.

Sagamore Beach, 508-833-5175, newenglandwoodworkers.com

Garden Center
MAHONEY’S

Whether it’s a Boston fern, a fiberclay planter, or a flowering tree, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Mahoney’s Garden Center. With eight locations across the state (including a new outlet in Chelmsford), this garden emporium has been helping green up Massachusetts yards and homes since 1959, and has a reputation for educating customers on plant care. You can walk away with something green for as little as five bucks, or you can ask the on-site pros to landscape your entire backyard.

449 Western Ave., Brighton, 617-787-8885, mahoneysgarden.com

Hardscape
O’HARA & COMPANY

Dedicated to re-creating the ancient stonework of his native Ireland, Nick O’Hara gets personally involved in every job that comes his company’s way. The firm has spent the past 20 years building outdoor fireplaces, chimneys, walls, archways, and paths that look as if they’ve existed for centuries. (The company motto? “Every stone must have character.”) O’Hara’s passion doesn’t stop with bricks, though: He’s also been known to build custom wine cellars like those found in European chalets.

11 Cordaville Rd., Ashland, 508-881-6851, oharacompany.com

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A 2,400-square-foot natatorium created by pool pro Combined Energy Systems. (Photograph by Alan Ward)

Pools
COMBINED ENERGY SYSTEMS

Armed with 30 years’ experience and state-of-the-art technology, CES swims laps around its competition. Given that the firm has pulled off some of the Hub’s most challenging projects—e.g., a basement Olympic lap pool—surely it can handle yours.

37 Ayer Rd., Ste. 9, Littleton, 978-486-0070, combinedenergysystems.com

Furniture
DIDRIKS

A local store with a national presence, Didriks is the go-to for furniture that transforms backyards and gardens into fully realized entertainment spaces. Among the draws: the award-winning British line Barlow Tyrie, which includes teak tables, sofas, and chaises.

190 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-5700, didriks.com