The Knowles Garden at the Barker Center of Harvard University is designed to be a contemplative, memorial garden adjacent to the bustling heart of Harvard Square. Small seating areas spread across the space of the open lawn where benches and chairs are set upon patterned bluestone terraces. A cascade of Redbuds and Amelanchiers float through the landscape defining soft shaded areas for both private reflection and small group gathering. Dedicated to Jeremy Knowles, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the garden serves the Harvard community in his honor.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc.

Photography by Warren Jagger


The Cornerstone Garden is located on the historic grounds of the National Cathedral Close in Washington, DC on the campus of St. Albans. This garden will transform a currently unused portion of campus into an enclosed columbarium where the ashes of alumni, faculty and staff can be interred. Nestled between the campus sanctuary and the main academic building, a steeply sloping site presents the opportunity to utilize retaining walls as memorials where inscriptions commemorate the deceased.

Four low stone walls traverse and climb the hillside allowing plantings of flowering trees, evergreen trees and shrubs to spill from the upper levels of the garden. Designed with procession and reflection in mind, visitors move from the sanctuary down a path into the garden. Walking through the garden on the crushed stone pathway, one is drawn past the memorial walls to intimate seating areas for pause and reflection. The power of it as a spiritual place is commanding when the garden path aligns with a view of the National Cathedral in the near distance.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Richard Williams Architects


Located in Maine’s Penobscot Bay, a master plan for this 200 acre property uses natural landforms and historic settlement patterns to influence both the spatial and organizational characteristics of this multi-layered production/gentleman’s farm.  Existing buildings dotted along the shoreline are the components of the family’s daily life including the main house, boat house, dinning cabin, office/studio, and guest house.  The daily life of the family is separated by a small country road from the daily life of the proposed farm.  Doolittle Farm will include both livestock and agriculture production on the lower elevations and recreational fields, stables and hunting and hiking trails on the higher elevations.  The organizing spine of the property is a ledge outcropping that runs south west to north east.  Through specific and purposeful clearing, this landform will create a ‘second shoreline’, ultimately activating the higher ground of the property.  Raised garden beds associated with movable greenhouses will allow for four- season harvesting of crops for local markets and restaurants.  Lamb, chicken, goats and pigs will produce food and wool for the family and local and specialty markets.  

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. 


Careful planning and design for this residential property included structuring a series of outdoor rooms to expand the feeling of a small, suburban lot. The first in the series of rooms is a productive garden space of orchard trees, raised vegetable beds and blueberry bushes. Separated by evergreen walls, the central space opens up to a wide lawn terrace, pool, pool pavilion and surrounding perennial gardens. An allee of White Birch creates a dense planted edge at along the central space which leads one to a quiet space at the back of the property. A dense, arborvitae hedge, under planted with ostrich ferns, define a simple rectangle of lawn used for play.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. 


A natural pool and pool house constitute phase one construction on this remarkable site overlooking the ocean. Designed by Butz and Klug Architects, the pool house sits at the back of the site nestled against a stand of Black Pines. The structure of the house and the pool were designed to be spiritually as well as physically part of the rocky, seaside landscape. The rising meadow-topped roof of the pool begins at the ground and gently rolls up toward the sky, its grasses becoming intertwined with the distant shoreline. Within the pool, the water is cleansed through a bed of aggregate and aquatic plants emerge from the surface. The infinite edge of the pool again, ties the sky to the water and the structure to the landscape.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc.