This project commenced with completion of a new corporate headquarters for the Granite State Independent Living Foundation in Concord, New Hampshire. Key to the design of this facility was creating an office space that featured spaces and details that facilitated the tasks and comforts of office staff in wheelchairs or who are physically handicapped.

This goal was also applied to a "gardenesque" outdoor patio space that was designed for staff and visitor use for meetings, presentations and wheelchair accessible gardening. In addition, the patio design provided a framework for fund-raising of its own construction and to generate revenue for future projects with the use of modular concrete pavers and granite accents in different sizes to be inscribed with donor names. Constructed in the center of the patio was a time capsule placed beneath a four foot square piece of granite.

Specific site and landscape improvements included:

  • Coordination of overall site grading and shaping of the site to create a setting for the patio area, raised planter, entry into the office and connection to a parking lot.

  • Development of a series of patio edge plantings, characterized by layered and massed groupings of trees and shrubs as well as lawn and perennial beds arranged and installed for presentation, screening spatial definition, visual interest and seasonal color. Tree plantings featured groupings of Himalayan Birch to frame the patio space and to reiterate a theme used for the building's front elevation plantings.

  • Construction of a patio for staff retreats, organizational outings, training, fund raising events and relaxation. The patio paving consisted of concrete modular pavers in three color blends and granite accents to highlight layout geometry and a central focal point where a time capsule was placed.


Specifically, the patio's layout and "finish" included:

A. Perimeter and Interior Banding
Material: "Yankee Cobble" concrete pavers
Size: 6-5/16: squares and 3-1/8: x 6-5/16" rectangles
Color: Beacon Hill Blend (red) and Quarry Blend (gray)

B. Main Field Paving
Material: "Classico" concrete pavers
Size: 4-1/2: square, 6-3/4" x 4-1/2" rectangle and circle stones
Color: Harvest Blend
Accent: Random placement of inscribed pavers with donor names

C. Granite Accents to highlight layout geometry
Material: Saw cut granite
Size: Average 16" x 16" square, 14" x 18" rectangles
Color: NH Gray
Accent: Inscribed with donor names or memorial text

D. Time Capsule Feature
Material: Saw cut granite square with core drilled 8" diameter circle @ center
Size: 4'0" square
Color: NH Gray
Accent: Perimeter framed with gray and red blend Yankee Cobble pavers


  • Construction of a concrete modular block retaining wall to create a raised edge to support a cantilevered metal planter to allow wheel chair users the use of a garden space. Wall layout consisted of a serpentine layout of 5'-0" radius curves terminating at both ends with straight wall sections dying back into grade at groupings of granite boulders. Wall height averaged 42" but was reduced to 22" where the metal planter was placed to provide a 12" wide overhanging garden section. Stone wall units were a "tumbled" style modular wall stone which was visually similar to the patio pavers.

  • Placement was a series of granite boulder groupings to provide a naturalistic accent within the planting beds and to add some vertical accent as well.

  • Construction of a winding asphalt path from the patio to the office parking lot. Path layout provided a closed loop through existing trees and new lawn to offer users a park-like experience. Pathway width and vertical grades were varied to enhance and challenge staff and visitors alike.

  • Design a simple line voltage outdoor lighting scheme to provide a combination of birch tree canopy up-lighting and soft "washing" of plants and building for accent, interest and security.

  • Install a simple loop of line voltage and ground fault protected duplex outlets to supply power to equipment needed for events, food service and entertainment. Some lighting was placed within the retaining wall and others were placed in the planting beds.

  • Coordinate the installation of an overall landscape irrigation system specified to water all lawn, shrub and perennial beds on a timed and low water use schedule.


The design and construction challenges for this project focused on satisfying a number of client goals, which included:

  • Completing all work by Summer 2000, with the design commencing in December 1999 and landscape construction occurring over a seven month period beginning in Fall 1999;

  • Accomplish the work desired by creating a Design/Build team between the Landscape Contractor and a local Landscape Architect comfortable with working on a tight schedule, experienced with high end landscape construction and able to deliver innovative landscape;

  • Provide design solutions and implementation that deal with specific client objectives pertaining to creating a functional, but distinctive, outdoor patio space that is both functional for varied staff needs and capable of supporting future fund raising needs and a a safe, but challenging, handicapped accessible garden space;

  • Create a mixture of outdoor landscapes suitable to serve the varied and seasonal needs of the clients, staff and visitors;

  • Provide a design, specify materials and use construction techniques that are durable and practical for long-term maintenance;

  • Fulfill the client's overall budget requirements; and

  • Create a lasting "hardscape" distinctive to the clients desires and appropriate for the surrounding context.


Subcontractor List


• Irrigation
New England Lawn Irrigation | Bedford, New Hampshire

• Electrical Lighting
Rudolph Electrical Co., Inc. | Concord, New Hampshire

• Plants
Millican Nurseries, Inc. | Chichester, New Hampshire

• Pavers
Ideal Concrete Block Company

• Granite
Swenson Granite Company | Concord, New Hampshire

• Wall Block
Del R. Gilbert & Son Block Company, Inc. | Laconia, New Hampshire

• Asphalt Paving
Paving & Sealcoating by Sam Cooper | Bow, New Hampshire

• Engraving
Designer Brick | Hudson, New Hampshire

Granite State Independent Living

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