Oceanfront Oasis

Combining classic Cape Cod curb appeal with plush poolside amenities produces an award-winning landscape.

By Rob Duca | Photography by Katherine Jackson Architectural Photography
Landscape: Executive Landscaping
Design: Andrew Garulay from Yarmouthport Design Group
Stone supplier: Stonewood Products

When approaching the front of the house, one would think it has been part of the Chatham landscape for generations. But walk around to the back of the property and you might suddenly wonder if it had been built in the past year or two.

With a perfect blending of traditional and contemporary, the landscape surrounding this newly built oceanfront Chatham property managed to meet all the expectations of homeowners who were intent on matching a simple design with extravagant amenities.

The front of the house evokes visions of Nantucket with a clamshell driveway, white picket fence, ornamental grasses, roses and hydrangeas.

“We didn’t want a grand entrance,” says the homeowner. “We wanted it to look like the house had been here a long time. But we also like to do lots of entertaining, so we needed something that was conducive to that.”

The task fell to Executive Landscaping, which has offices in Hyannis and South Dennis, Massachusetts. “There are basically two different themes to the landscaping,” explains Kyle Holt-Cullity, operations and project manager. “But everything just flows nicely.”


A white picket fence acts as a divider between the front and back yards, giving the property a classic Cape Cod appeal. In the front, the curving clamshell driveway is anchored by a grass island, while ornamental grasses, Cape Cod roses and hydrangeas fill the flowerbeds.

That’s not to say the front of the house is lacking a “Wow!” factor. The gated entrance is framed by massive 12-foot-high granite columns, which are lit at night and are engraved with the house number. The area also includes four terraced granite garden beds that will not rot or ever need to be replaced. Holt-Cullity notes the homeowner requested a “Nantucket theme” for the front of the house, which is further accentuated by front steps and a stoop made from reclaimed granite that came from the streets of Boston. “We cut the granite and made the steps and stoop on site,” he says. “Reclaimed granite was also used for the pillars.”

Garden beds made of granite will withstand the test of time.


At the back of the house, you’ll discover a far more elaborate design. You are first struck by the breathtaking ocean view. Once you soak that in, you can see that the dramatic elevation changes required a creative design.

The solution was a series of three terraces made from Niagara Blonde granite and Boston Blend Roughly Square and Rectangular building veneer that cascade down the hill. “Now, you can stand on the patio and look over the pool right to the ocean,” says the homeowner.

A unique priority of the homeowners was to have a lawn area large enough to accommodate a bocci tournament that has been a family tradition for years. Mission accomplished. Holt-Cullity ordered more than 8,000 feet of sod, much of it to cover the 5,000-square-foot backyard where the bocci tournament could be held. “We have 24 people each year for the tournament, and the back lawn is perfect for that,” the homeowner says.

To accommodate a sloping lot, Executive Landscaping built three terraces using Niagara Blonde granite and Boston Blend Roughly Square and Rectangular building veneer.


With the rear of the property backing up to the ocean, there were obvious hurdles to clear in creating an outdoor hardscape that would fulfill all the homeowner’s needs. “It was tight quarters and there were conservation regulations to consider with the ocean right there, so that was a challenge,” Holt-Cullity recalls.

Working with a design created by Andrew Garulay from Yarmouthport (Massachusetts) Design Group and alongside Rick Roy Construction of Harwich, Massachusetts, the overall contractor, Executive Landscaping built a cascading series of tiers in order to accommodate the sloping lot. In the process, they used 120 tons of stone veneer and constructed walls up to 10 feet high. The three descending tiers begin at the back patio, extend below to the 18-by-38-foot infinity edge pool and then on towards the back lawn.

On the uppermost level of the multi-tiered backyard is a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, dining area and casual lounge space
with a gas-operated fire pit.

Boston blend veneer stone was used for the walls, while 2,400 square feet of Niagara blonde granite was brought in for the patio and the deck around the pool. A sunken spa is tucked into a corner near the pool on the middle level.

The back also features a fully equipped kitchen on the uppermost level that includes a four-burner grille with a side grille for cooking lobster, a full sink, ice chest, full refrigerator and several drawers for storage. There is also a comfortable seating area off to the side and a gas-operated fire pit. “Everything we need to host an outdoor barbecue is there,” says the homeowner.

At the lowest level, stone walkways and half-staircases are sprinkled throughout the lawn and a stairway of natural granite boulders leads into the ocean. Outdoor lighting attached to the walls adds a special touch. “It’s a really nice feature. It looks amazing,” exclaims Holt-Cullity.

In keeping with the traditional theme at the front of the house, the plantings are Cape Cod grasses and hydrangeas. “Nothing crazy,” Holt-Cullity says.

The hardscape won a Silver BRICC Award from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod in 2016. “Everyone at Executive Landscaping was excited and appreciative for winning the award from the Home Builder’s for this amazing project,” says Holt-Cullity.

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