Kusko Residence

Williamstown, MA
United States
Kusko Residence

Landscape Information

The landscape for this private residence situated at the edge of the Berkshire Mountains in northern Massachusetts integrated the Modernist geometry of the house designed by the architecture firm of Burr McCallum with the surrounding dense woodlands by using a plant palette of evergreens, local hardwoods, ferns and shrubs, native to the region.

Approaching along the extended entry drive, visitors pass through a vegetative tunnel of tightly planted hemlocks into a dramatic opening in the forest. To make this wooded glade Kiley removed understory trees and debris and planted the ground plane with dense groupings of ferns and low-lying flowering shrubs; the edge of the glade is defined by the towering elms, poplars, and birch trees of the surrounding forest.

Close to the house Kiley cut across the sloping topography with a stone retaining wall to create a flat open lawn. To soften the wall he edged it with clipped yew hedges on top and rows of shadbush trees along its base. Terraced grass and moss steps edged by wooden railroad ties descend from the lawn down to a pool fed by an artesian well. The pool’s organic-shaped, woodland edge, lined with natural stones and used for swimming in the summer months, hovers above a natural ravine. A simple wooden bridge connects from the lawn across a nearby brook to a promontory planted with beech, birch, hemlock and partridgeberry.