Pint-sized Perfection - Cape Cod LIFE Publications

Pint-sized Perfection

A beachside landscape brings big pleasure with all the latest outdoor entertaining amenities—on a tiny lot above Buzzards Bay.


Photo by: Dan Cutrona

Great vacation landscapes on Cape Cod come in all shapes and sizes. From sprawling estates with elegantly manicured lawns that seem to roll on forever, to tiny shore-side cottages surrounded by little more than sand, Rosa rugosa, and some picturesque plantings of native beach grass, the perfect oasis can be created. This is especially true if the landscape’s design and construction is in the hands of experienced professionals.

One Sudbury family found their dream getaway location on a postage stamp of a lot, perched high on a Nantucket Sound bluff in New Seabury. Undaunted by the restrictions of the small space, the homeowners purchased a beautiful seaside cottage with plenty of space for their three children and lots of visiting friends and family.

When it came to surrounding their home with a stunning landscape that they hoped could include hardy seaside plantings, an infinity pool with stone surroundings, and even an outdoor kitchen—they turned to Sudbury Design Group, the landscape design company that had created and installed an extensive landscape around their year-round home in Sudbury.

Mike Coutu, owner of the residential and commercial landscape architectural firm well-known for providing comprehensive services including landscape design, design/build, garden design, and full maintenance programs for homes in the Greater Boston area as well as for homes on Cape Cod, knew that his award-winning firm was taking on a challenge.

“This project started off with the homeowners saying, ‘We would like to have you look at the possibility of putting a pool in,’” says Coutu. “Pretty soon afterwards it was, ‘You know, we would like to put an outdoor kitchen in, too. And if we are going to do that, we would like a rinse-off area. If we are going to have the pool, we would really like to have a place to have a fire’—the project just kept getting bigger and bigger for a really tiny space.”

Add to this daunting equation the fact that the homeowners hoped to be swimming in their gorgeous infinity pool and savoring the joys of dining and lounging with spectacular seaside views by Memorial Day. “We essentially had to do the project in three months,” says Coutu. “We started in March and finished by Memorial Day, which was quite a feat.”

On a slight rise that is accessed on the street side by a narrow, one-way drive serving a clustered group of homes, the site offers limited room for regular cars and trucks, let alone space for the many vehicles needed to supply all the manpower and materials to create the oasis Coutu and his team of 12 designers began to envision. Working to meet the homeowners’ wishes, the team began to imagine extensive hardscape features, including a gunite infinity plunge pool, a spacious outdoor kitchen, two built-in dining areas, an outdoor shower, a built-in fire pit, and two sunning areas.