Academy Homes I, Roxbury, MAShirley Eustis House, Roxbury, MAPuddingstone Garden, Roxbury, MAPine Street Inn Residence, Brookline, MA


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The Elephant Walk in Waltham


Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design

COGdesign is a non-profit service organization offering:
  • quality landscape design for community-based groups;
  •  meaningful professional experience for student and practicing landscape designers;
  • volunteer opportunities for those interested in strengthening communities by creating and improving neighborhood green spaces.

COGdesign clients include affordable housing, public and private schools, neighborhood parks, Friends groups, churches, municipal agencies, historic sites, and community gardens. (see Map)

COG designers are trained landscape design professionals and students who work pro bono on these projects.

COGdesign serves as a facilitator between the community organizations seeking landscape design services and the landscape designers looking for professional development opportunities and community-based field experience.  Projects may be undertaken by individual designers, as studio projects at the Landscape Institute of the Arnold Arboretum, by design students as thesis projects, or as community events.  Design services are available to community groups which satisfy COGdesign’s eligibility requirements (client FAQs) and at minimal cost to the client.

Our clients, the community organizations, benefit from the innovative and creative work of COG’s designers.  The designers are engaged with projects that offer them challenging field experience, portfolio material, and the satisfaction that comes from improving the community landscape.


Do you know our next designer? We're looking for lead and assistant designers and landscape architects for 4 upcoming...

Posted by COGdesign on Friday, April 24, 2015

The 2015 COGdesign Online Auction!

We hope you're coming to our Ben Falk talk December 2, but if you are looking for a great environmental event before then, check out Biodiversity for a Livable Climate's conference on Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming! Register NOW at the following link:

Click for PDF
Click image to download PDF

Through the Eyes of a Designer

Our Design Showcase in PHOTO FLASH format featured the work of landscape designers, artists, contractors, and community activists who rejuvenated tired public spaces into places which inspire hope and delight!

Friday, November 15, 2013, at The Depot in Lexington, MA.

Thank you to the presenters and our event sponsors: Hartney Greymont, NELDHA, Terrascapes Landscape Design, Derby Farm Flowers and Gardens, BISCO, Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc., Gaudette Insurance Agency, Inc., Global Beer, Gracious Gardens, Warner Larson Landscape Architects.

TRANSFORMATION was supported by The Rosalie Johnson Fund.

Planting Brigade Activities

Summer 2013 – This has been a busy season for COGdesign’s Planting Brigade. Coordinator Diana Simon has worked with volunteers at sites all around greater Boston to plant, weed, mulch. Have a few hours to help? Let Diana know at

Spring Garden Fest

May 18, 2013 - COGdesign’s Nursery Garden was the locale for music, dance, plants, and horticultural education on a perfectly gorgeous spring day! Garden talks by landscape designers, activities for kids, and a tasty lunch menu from local Waltham restaurants made it a place to linger!

Garden Fest SPONSORS: Agway/Waltham, Allegra Printing, Elephant Walk Waltham, Phil Mastroianni Tree & Landscape Corp., Waltham West Suburban Chamber of Commerce, Waltham Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Mass. Cultural Council, a state agency.

New Vision for Peace Garden

Egleston Square, Roxbury, March 2013 – Local residents, youth, and business people turned out for the Community Visioning events organized by the Ecumenical Social Action Committee, the Egleston Square YMCA, Egleston Square Main Street, and COGdesign. Once the question was asked, “What would you like to see in the Peace Garden?” many voices, many opinions, and many great ideas poured forth! COGdesign’s team of designers will be inspired by the community’s ideas as they develop a new design for this tired neighborhood park.

Theater Seeks Green Retreat

Charlestown, January 2013 – The Charlestown Working Theater owns a small unused and overgrown space with great potential. Gardens for Charlestown, a thriving community garden, is a neighbor. Landscape architect Carolyn Cooney is consulting to both organizations to help them develop the space for events and relaxation.

All About the High Line

December 2012 – Johnny Linville, Friends of the High Line’s Manager of Horticulture (center in photo), told a full house of COGdesign friends everything we wanted to know, on the ground and behind the scenes!

Left to right: COGdesign board members Carolyn Edsell-Vetter and Jon Pate, Johnny Linville, COGdesign board member Amy Voorhes, Landscape Institute director Heather Heimarck. Photo by Kathy Tarantola,

All About the High Line Major Sponsors: Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, The Elephant Walk in Waltham, NELDHA. Sponsors: Boston Tree Preservation, Cavicchio Greenhouses, Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens, Gaudette Insurance Agency, New World Hot Sauce, Van Berkum Nursery, Warner Larson.

Libraries in Need of Welcoming Spaces

Brighton, November 2012 – Although this public library recently went through a major renovation, a small outdoor area was forgotten. Landscape designer Janis Porter is consulting with the Friends of the Brighton Branch Library to help develop a serenity garden for patrons.

East Cambridge, October2012 – The O’Connell Public Library, an important community resource tucked into a dense urban neighborhood, has a tiny front yard cut off from visitors by a large iron fence. At the request of the East Cambridge Open Space Trust, landscape architect Anjali Joshi and landscape designer Chantal Eide are helping to create a more inviting outdoor space.  

CONVERSATION with Tom McCarthy:
Innovating Parks for Universal Access

Many state parks in Massachusetts offer adaptive features to visitors in wheelchairs which help them experience the joys of kayaking, skating, fishing, and other rigorous outdoor activities. For more than 25 years, Tom McCarthy has been improvising and innovating as the Director of the Universal Access Program for the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.

>> Read the Conversation. (PDF)


Arlington, September 2012 – The rain had stopped and the evening was gentle and dusky as Luminarium dancers quietly entered The Children’s Room garden. The garden, designed by David McCoy, was transformed into a performance space as the dancers interpreted grief and healing to the captivated audience. (The Children’s Room provides caring support to grieving children and teens.)

The evening continued with a screening of the amazing video-made-from-stills, A Garden Grows, by Kathy Tarantola, and a thought-provoking talk by landscape architect Rob Hoover. Hearty savories were provided by many local Arlington and Somerville restaurants.

> Watch the Youtube video A GARDEN GROWS

GARDENS & HEALING was sponsored by the Arlington Garden Club, John’s Landscape Service, Inc., and Big Foot Moving & Storage.

> The Children's Room project sheet (PDF)


Celebrating 15 Years of Greening Communities

Mitchell School Courtyard design and illustration by Alice Evans

During 2012, join COGdesign in a retrospective look at the process and outcome of community greening projects – developing partnerships, supporting clients' missions, institutionalizing use and maintenance, hearing from the users.

>> Schedule of Events (PDF)


Students in the Mitchell School Outdoor Learning Center

187 Brookline St.,
Needham, MA 02492

Thursday, JUNE 7, 2012
4:00pm - 6:00pm

The OLC Open House was sponsored by Terrascapes Landscape Design. 

Six years after the COG-designed Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) was installed in the courtyard of the Mitchell School in Needham, it is a vibrant and meaningful part of the school’s academic curriculum. The Mitchell School and COGdesign invited the public to an Open House to see the OLC, meet students and teachers, hear about curriculum development, and how community-wide partnerships keep the OLC thriving.

>> Project Sheet (PDF)


New Garden Days Ahead

May 2012 - The new ornamental garden at the Roxbury YMCA is officially open for pleasure and learning! Designed by COGdesign and supported by many, the floriferous and leafy green space adds beauty to the neighborhood and supports the Y’s mission of social responsibility, healthy living, and youth development.

>> Plant List (PDF)

Walker Center for Ecumenical Exchange

May 2012 – Thanks to the generosity of McKinney Brothers Tree Services, the canopies of many mature trees at the Walker Center for Ecumenical Exchange, a new COGdesign client, received long overdue maintenance!

New Raised Beds for Comfortable Planting

April 2012 – COGdesign’s Nursery Garden now offers wheelchair accessible planting beds to volunteers! Thanks to Pine Street Inn’s Handy Works, a social venture program, three sturdy and elegant raised beds were designed, constructed, and installed as a new feature in the garden. The raised planters offer an alternative to gardening volunteers in wheelchairs or those gardeners for whom bending and stooping is challenging. The Nursery Garden is a source of hardy, ornamental plant material destined for community projects on a shoestring budget.

Concord Prison Outreach

March-April 2012 – A team of COG designers, Karen Longeteig, Susan Balleza, and Anne Smith, collaborated with Concord Prison Outreach, Inc. to enrich a horticulture program behind bars. The designers offered sessions to inmates in site analysis, measuring, design principles, and model-making. Under the direction of Correction Officers, inmates maintain the prison grounds and plant gardens.

Vital Spaces, Vibrant Lives

March 2012 – An audience of neighbors, designers, local elected officials, and green space advocates gathered in the Church Park Apartments Penthouse to hear a panel discussion about developing a new design concept for Symphony Park in the Fenway neighborhood. Organized by COGdesign and the Fenway Civic Association; sponsored by the New England Landscape Design and History Association (NELDHA).

Embassy Park Design Competition

Professional 1st Place: Herrera Nielsen Design, Brooklyn, NY

Winners Selected!
View the winning submissions to COGdesign's INTERNATIONAL design competition! Visit

> Design Competition Report
> PRESS coverage
> Embassy Park Project Sheet


Please see EVENTS & NEWS for more special project events!  



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