Farrar Pond Residence FLEXfence

This private residence is situated within a three-acre native hardwood forest overlooking Farrar Pond, one of the many ponds linked to Walden Pond, Thoreaus historic home in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The design intent was to integrate contemporary materials and design elements with this native plant palate and natural kettle and kame geology. A rich tapestry of native plants that transform over the seasons weaves seamlessly with the existing forest, creating a sustainable landscape. The ground plane material weaves lilac bluestone paving with moss throughout the site offering an alternative planting scheme from the traditional lawns found in traditional suburban landscapes. The sculptural FLEXfence flows through openings in the forest and over various ground plane materials, both defining and blurring boundaries. The landscape design reflects the clients deep respect for land stewardship while asserting a contemporary design language that reflects the clients interest in art and sculpture.

The sculptural Corten Steel Flex-fence creates a secure area for the client and their dogs along the kame ridge on the west side of the property and acts as a counterpoint to the solid CorTen retaining walls along the main drive at the kettle area on the east site. The form of this fence was inspired by the structure contrapuntal music, using simple layering of unit construction to develop variation in the overall view of the sculptural screen. Seven unit lengths comprise the entire construction creating a cellular construction that transforms as it registers the modulation of the ground plane.

The FLEXfence height ranges from 4-6 to 6-3 in height as it undulates in the landscape and is 12 thick because of its four steel layers that allow for the curvature of the structure. The Fence system expands and contracts like an accordion and was brought to the site bolted in its most contracted position and then craned and unbolted to expand register the changes in the site topography. This enclosure was made up of four sizes of steel bar stock that was constructed with an intricate flexible joint system that allows the design to transform and morph with the subtle undulating ground plane.

The design seeks to enhance the natural beauty of the site by using a rich tapestry of native plants that protect the existing ecological and watershed conditions. Lilac bluestone pavers are placed like stepping stones throughout the front entry sequence, the driveway edging and the paths through the forest, so that all surfaces are pervious to runoff and drainage. Moss and thyme are planted between the open weave pattern of the bluestone.

The plant palette defies conventional high maintenance plant choices and opts for options that do not require chemical maintenance or any irrigation systems. A grove of Paper Birch Betula Utilis frames the main entry to the driveway. A secondary gateway of River Birch Betula nigra is located prior to the main pedestrian entry to the house. Finally, a third Paper Birch grove is designed to weave through the CorTen Fence and creates a dialogue with the existing Birch trees throughout the native forest landscape that slopes down to Farrar Pond.

The project maintains the resonant qualities of this New England forest landscape and the towns strict land stewardship by laws of watershed protection and dark sky requirements while asserting a contemporary constructed language that speaks to the clients interest in art and sculpture.


Project Type


Lincoln MA United States 01773, 01773,