River Vista

McHale Landscape Design enhances a grand yet welcoming estate on the Tred Avon River

The sprawling, riverfront house in Easton, Maryland, was still under construction in 2004 when McHale Landscape Design was called in to orchestrate a comprehensive outdoor plan on the 50-acre property. The owners, who keep horses, “wanted it to feel like a farm estate,” says landscape designer and principal Stephen McHale. “But approachable too.”

He and his team created a grand entry drive lined with willow trees that culminates in a fountain made from a massive, antique cast-iron sugar kettle surrounded by Knockout roses. In the backyard, they sited a spacious pool and spa with the river as a breathtaking backdrop. A pergola at the far end of the pool is festooned with pale-pink New Dawn climbing roses. Pennsylvania flagstone paves patios and paths throughout the property. Two Little Gem magnolias flank the patio beside the house.

Today, McHale continues to maintain the extensive property, which has been enhanced over time. A natural screen of deer-tolerant plants, including osmanthus, schip laurel, and cryptomeria, acts as a barrier between farm fields. Beds close to the house are brimming with perennials such as nepeta, Knockout roses, and Anthony Waterer spirea, which flourish in Eastern Shore soil. Semi-monthly visits during the growing season keep the landscape healthy; an annual acid wash highlights the flagstone’s varied palette.


Award: Decade Award, Residential Maintenance. Landscape Design: Stephen McHale; Landscape Maintenance: Samantha Fisher, McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Photography: John Spaulding.