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The 411 on Tree Conservation By-Laws

After much of New England lost its forests in the early 19th century to agricultural clearing, shipbuilding, and fuel gathering, the region has seen remarkable reforestation and now boasts a substantial forest-to-developed-landscape ratio in favor of forests. Today, many people don’t give too much thought to trees as a general resource that can benefit both property owners and the public.

Topics: Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape

Preparing for Dept. of Environmental Protection Enforcement Orders: 3 Tips to Minimize the Damage You’ve Done

Property owners undertaking landscaping projects adjacent to watershed resources or other public property without first making application to the local conservation commission often unwittingly run afoul of environmental regulations. Often the property owner is simply unaware of the rules and regulations governing land development in their community.

The lucky ones are those who may have not gone too far with their landscaping project, or who have done work (which may be “damage” in the eyes of the conservation agent or conservation commission), which can be undone or revised to meet by-laws and satisfy the agent or commission. The truly unfortunate ones are those who may have cut down trees that are viewed as vital to protecting water resources or some other environmentally sensitive feature. So how can you minimize and manage the damage you’ve done and still try to keep your landscaping project on track? 

Topics: Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape

Legacy Landscapes: The Art of Preservation and Conservation

There are few places in the United States with historical landscapes as rich and diversified as New England. Over the centuries since Europeans first set foot in the New World, the landscape has changed dramatically – from the pre-European open woodlands carefully maintained by the Native Americans to nurture biodiversity for food and shelter, to the thousands of miles of stonewalls and variety of cultivation of the early European settlers, to the recreational and residential landscapes of a growing middle and leisure class.

Today, virtually every New England community has landscapes connected to the past. Old farms from the 18th and 19th centuries, with their meadows, orchards, walls, and shade trees. Estates and facilities from the late 1800s featuring elegant drives and walkways, stately trees, and colorful gardens -- all elaborately designed to showcase the prosperity of the new industrial era.

With increasing environmental awareness there has also come a growing interest in preserving and conserving natural resources and landscapes. Wait a minute, you’re thinking, preserving and conserving? What’s the difference? The short answer is, plenty.

Topics: Eco Friendly Landscape Horticulture Environmental Landscape

3 Tips to Design Your Landscape While Complying with Local By-Laws

If your property is in an environmentally-sensitive area, especially one that abuts a watershed resource, getting a landscaping project approved can be tricky. As we discussed in our previous blog posts about Mass DEP and local conservation commissions, there are a number of rules and regulations in place to protect the environment and community natural resources. In fact, local conservation commission by-laws can be stricter than state conservation guidelines. So what can you do to get your landscape project designed and approved with minimal hassle?

Topics: Sustainable Design Landscape Site Analysis Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape

Case Study: Straw Hat Park, Medfield, MA

Turning underutilized public space into a green-oasis “pocket park”

Urban blight is not just a problem for major cities. Smaller communities across the nation are also faced with abandoned and forgotten properties, some taken over by municipal governments. For many community planners the problem is in knowing how to convert an underutilized parcel of public land into a useful and engaging space, like a vibrant pocket park for public use and enjoyment.

Topics: Garden Design Sustainable Design Environmental Landscape

What You Need To Know About Local Environmental By-Laws For Landscape Projects

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has in place a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to protect the environment, most notably wetlands and other water resources that are vital to the public well-being.

Topics: Eco Friendly Landscape Local Landscape Ponds Environmental Landscape

7 Characteristics of the Best Designed Environmentally-Friendly Landscapes

Property owners who abut public property face a unique set of challenges when it comes to getting a landscaping project approved. Instead of having to contend with just one or two immediate neighbors, you’re potentially faced with the entire community which becomes, in a sense, neighbors and can have a say in what you can and cannot do with your landscaping project.

Topics: Eco Friendly Landscape Landscape Site Analysis Understand DEP Regulations Environmental Landscape