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“My motto is do it once, and do it right,” says Hickey. “If you have to hire someone to take care of your space, or when you sit down to relax all you can think about is the things that need to be fixed or taken care of, it defeats the purpose of a garden. So most of what we do is low-maintenance, because the whole goal is for people to enjoy their space.” While Hickey’s designs may be low-maintenance, they maintain a level of elegance and charm that in every way enhances the ease and comfort of the gardens she creates. This ability, and, more importantly, willingness, to harness the potential of a garden space certainly rivals that of “Capability” Brown. 

Hickey’s foremost inclination is to work with rather than against nature, enhancing instead of manipulating its original beauty in a way that complements the space she is working with. Her gardens often incorporate elegant curves and natural plantings. At this North Falmouth home, conservation efforts were at the forefront of the design. “Sometimes people are intimidated by conservation laws and the use of mitigation plants, but I work in curves and incorporate a lot of native perennials. It makes it more fluid,” explains Hickey, who worked with native perennials and low-growing shrubs to add natural pops of color to a sprawling landscape and a framework for a spectacular ocean view.

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space—a place not just set apart but reverberant—and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”

Michael Pollan, “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education”

Hickey explains how she carefully chose native plants to complement not only each other but also the home. “This project required approval by the town’s conservation board, often a daunting undertaking for most homeowners, but I believe we were successful because we were thoughtful in our plan,” she says. “We offered a combination of native plants, shrubs and perennials to provide an aesthetically pleasing as well as functional wildlife habitat. The ‘understory,’ or native shrubs, provide habitat restoration for nesting songbirds.”

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