Nature's Widest Canvas
Gardens Illustrated|November 2017

At their home in Vermont, Susan and Rick Richter have collaborated with master stone worker Dan Snow to create a stunning structured landscape

Tovah Martin
Nature's Widest Canvas

Everything is relative. Three hundred acres in rural Vermont wouldn’t strike most as downsizing. But then, compared to maintaining two homes on opposite coasts of the USA, a mountainside in the middle of nowhere seemed comparatively restful. “We wanted somewhere to retire,” says Susan Richter, explaining how she and her husband Rick, a former screenwriter, came to look for a house in Rick’s old college stomping ground of Vermont. He recalled sweeping views, unspoiled woodlands and the famous autumn colour.

The couple’s specifications were detailed and only slightly idiosyncratic: the property they were looking for needed to have at least 100 acres and a stone house on high ground. Woodland Farms, with its 316 acres nestled into the side of a mountain, fitted all their criteria, but it was only a starting point. The couple revamped the original stone house into a style they have dubbed ‘medieval Vermont’. They chose to keep the house to its original footprint, but extended the stone out into the garden in the form of terraces on multiple levels. With Dan Snow, the acclaimed artist, stone worker and Vermont resident on board, the stoneworks gradually began to creep further and further into the garden and before long, Susan and Rick were collecting boulders with as much zeal as they collected plants.

This story is from the November 2017 edition of Gardens Illustrated.

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This story is from the November 2017 edition of Gardens Illustrated.

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