In 2013, The Friends of the Public Garden undertook a multi-year renewal of the landscape along the entire 900-foot Boylston Street border of the Public Garden. This border has seen many chapters in its history, and today serves as a naturalistic planted screen from the busy urban environment, offering protection as well as framing the view of the street.

The Boylston Street border was planted with a mix of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small flowering trees in 1994. At the time, it was noted that the soil conditions were problematic and future growth of canopy trees would limit sunlight. Deep shading from the mature elms along the street and lining the opposite side of the Garden’s path, poor soil, and limited drainage played a major role in the decline of some of the plant material. This resulted in a border with gaps and areas of spotty plantings, and a ragged path edge from soil erosion during rain.

The project began with the renovation of a 150-foot pilot section. Trees and shrubs were transplanted and more were added, and the drainage issues were addressed. Each year saw a new section reclaimed until the border was complete. A huge Elm threatening the stability of the William Ellery Channing statue had to be removed and new plantings in the area behind Channing required additional work. For the first time since the 1970s benches were added along this border, allowing the park users to not only sit among the new plantings but to look to the north across the Garden and view its wonderful landscape and statuary.

Generous contributors to the project included The Highland Street Foundation, The Phil and Norma Fine Foundation, The Stanton Foundation, and many individuals.

Project cost: $500,000

Boylston Street Border Renovation Before and After

View the Boylston Street Border renovation project pictures here.