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3 Stunning Outdoor Living Spaces Where the Beauty Is in the Details

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Eric Roth

Say you’re driving through the Boston suburbs and see the front yard of your dreams out your window. The symmetrical landscaping, the manicured grass, and rustic stone driveway are striking…but you’ve already sped past before noticing anything else. For those strolling by, though, a whole world of exquisite details emerges, all coalescing to tell a cohesive and compelling story.

Landscape architect Gregory Lombardi, principal of the Cambridge-based firm Gregory Lombardi Design, calls this contrast the 55 miles per hour view versus the slow walk through a forest. A property can look great at a quick glance, but hidden layers spring to life when the particulars of the design are closely observed.

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Randy O’Rourke

“That level of nuance, connectivity, and detail is what I’m most interested in,” says Lombardi. “I feel that a multi-layered space is far more engaging and satisfying.”

Stuck at home thinking it’s time to refresh your outdoor living area? Get inspired by these three magical Lombardi spaces where minor additions make a major difference.

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Neil Landino

Paving the Way

The Challenge: Designing a backyard space where the minimalist sensibilities of a mother of six seamlessly translated from interior to exterior.

The Solution: Installing gray and white banded, bluestone granite paving that creates momentum and draws the eye outward to the tranquil patio framed with a lush tapestry of plantings, yet still maintains the home’s subdued color palette.

“It’s calming and not cluttered,” says Lombardi. “The level of detail was all done to reinforce her clean sensibility and create a serene space.”

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Anthony Crisafulli

A Watershed Moment

The Challenge: Translating a Midwestern couple’s modest ideals into decorative elements on a  small parcel of a nine-acre Dover farm, without them getting lost in the open pasture.

The Solution: Referencing the agrarian history of the property by crafting a modern watering trough carved from a block of New England granite.

“It’s an authentic and humble detail that supports the bigger story of this couple wanting to memorialize a historic working farm,” says Lombardi. 

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Rob Cardillo

Framing the Fire

The Challenge: Create a concealed and intimate gathering point in a small West Cambridge backyard that melds with materials used in the interior of the home.

The Solution: Work with a stone dealer to track down fine-grained Roxbury puddingstone, and use it alongside brown granite to build a cozy yet visually alluring fireplace.

“The mixed materials, asymmetrical symmetry, and rolled edges help it to not look heavy and oppressive,” says Lombardi. “There’s a richness to it that shows someone cared a lot about putting it together.”

gregory lombardi design

Photo Credit: Neil Landino

Whether the design is micro or macro, Lombardi emphasizes that it’s those subtle details that make him the most excited each day, working alongside clients to make beautiful outdoor spaces that resonate, especially when you look closely.

“It’s like a friendly game of tennis where we form an understanding with our clients and bounce ideas back and forth, making sure we never add anything to the picture that doesn’t support the story,” says Lombardi. “Maybe it’s just a minor change to the existing landscape, but that extra layer can make a world of difference.”

To learn more about telling your story and designing your dream outdoor space with Gregory Lombardi, visit lombardidesign.com.