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Lots of Lush

Lifescapes International has completed its landscape design around the Encore Boston Harbor—a $2.6-billion development that opened its doors to the general public on June 23. The destination property features a 210,000-sq.-ft. casino; 15 dining and lounge venues; 671 guestrooms and suites; and more than 50,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space.

Lifescapes’ landscaping plan for the 33-acre project was no less ambitious: Deliver the same, five-star, Las Vegas-caliber “wow” factor that Wynn properties are famous for in a way that fits the more refined sensibilities of New England.

“The design of Encore Boston Harbor brings the romantic contemporary style, which is such an iconic part of the brand, and fuses it with the unique waterside setting and plant material of the northeast to create a fully immersive garden environment that feels like it could have been there forever,” Andrew Kreft, director of design, Lifescapes International told InspireDesign. “The property is designed as a hidden gem of fanciful gardens, strolling parks and a waterside Harborwalk that meanders along the river’s edge, once again bringing nature and accessibility to the city of Everett.”

The solution is evident as soon as visitors ascend the property’s sinuous, floral-rich entry drive defined by tall Scotch pine trees individually collected from the open fields of Western New York State. A welcoming porte cochere featuring a seven-ft. polished convex mirror sculpture named Torus by David Harber is centered in a colorful parterre garden with custom-brick-paved floral entry carpet. Inside, lush interior botanicals beckon, in classic Wynn Resorts style, featuring the newest Preston Bailey floral carousel at the center surrounded by four 20-ft., multi-trunk ficus trees transported from Southern California. Floral mosaic inlays decorate the perimeter walkways as curved escalators dramatically rise in the back, all leading toward impressive culinary and entertainment options.

Upon entering off Broadway, Oak Plaza greets pedestrian or bus traffic, where a 45-ft. majestic red oak, surrounded by Scotch pines and lush weeping cherries, anchors the center of the park-like garden. Spruce tree masses define the surrounding spaces, with accents of dogwood, magnolia, serviceberry and Japanese maple trees sprinkled throughout for a diversity of color and seasonal variation. The vast, flowing lawn draws guests into the property while providing ample space for small events and seasonal food and beverage opportunities.

Tying into Boston’s extensive regional trail system, Lifescapes International also designed the stunning quarter-mile, 17’ wide pedestrian Harborwalk. Open to the public 24 hours a day, the Harborwalk features an elegant, gazebo, an abundance of benches and viewing opportunities, informational signage, boat dock access, connections to the many resort gardens and lush verdant space with magnificent floral displays.

“From the spectacular 45’ oak you pass upon entering, to the masses of plantings that lead you up to the elevated porte cochere, the property conveys a sense of grandeur—the planting was designed to provide an elegance and sophistication without compromising the harbor views,” said Roger Voettiner, VP of design and Horticulture, Lifescapes International. “We had to select plant material very carefully, because of the change of seasons, to ensure that the property is as colorful and majestic in winter as it is in summer.”

The centerpiece of the promenade experience is Jaume Plensa’s three, 10’ bust sculptures set among the colorful, fanciful flow arrangements. Bridging the harbor between Everett and Boston with a water transportation system, the full-service resort is reshaping travel and tourism to the Boston region with the best in upscale accommodations, amenities and gaming.

Located along the southernmost edge of the Harborwalk, the Mystic Shoreline is a 23,000-sq.-ft. intertidal planting area, designed by Pam Shadley of Shadley Associates. To achieve a distinct contrast with the resort’s perfectly manicured resort gardens, native plant species offer a “natural” look at the river’s shore, stabilize the bank, create habitat and provide seasonal variety and interest on the shoreline.

Nestled within a flower-lined formal garden, with direct connections to the Harborwalk and convention ballroom, The South Lawn Garden has 27,000 sq. ft. of functional lawn to accommodate events of various sizes. A bouquet of mature evergreen and deciduous trees enclose the space, providing a rich backdrop for all seasons. Visible only to harborside hotel and spa guests, a 10,000-sq.-ft. “green roof” garden features more than 6,000 seasonal blooms planted in floral shaped parterres reminiscent of designer Roger Thomas’ familiar motif.

“This project has elevated the bar. It’s a game changer for the region, setting a new standard of quality and excellence,” said Matt Geiss, senior project manager, Lifescapes International. “The gardens and open space, much like the interiors, are captivating, intended to offer a delightful escape for resort guests and local residents alike, and are what make Encore Boston Harbor truly iconic and special.”