A Landscape Plan for the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center was defined in 2005 by a landscape architect historian as part of the Feasibility Study. It will be eventually be updated and changed but it remains the current guide and parts of it have been implemented.
Specific landscape design options were considered which responded to the goals stated previously including site circulation/traffic safety, historic features, and views. Significant variables that were explored included the location of vehicular access to the site from surrounding streets and magnitude and location of parking.
The preferred landscape design concept keeps vehicular access from the Ambrose School driveway for the short term while allowing for the possibility of a driveway from Cambridge Street to be constructed in the future. A parking area with 31 parking spaces plus an optional 8 additional spaces are located in the area between the Sanborn House and the Carriage House. There is also unpaved overflow parking (reinforced turf) and in the evening, subject to school activities, parking could be available in the Ambrose School parking lots. In addition, the design proposes to preserve and protect features original to the Oren C. Sanborn era. These features include the grading of the terraces and serpentine roadways left unpaved to allow sledding, the stone retaining wall along High Street, and the stone steps and stone retaining wall to the spring, along with the mature evergreen trees planted during the Sanborn and Downes eras.
In addition, enhancing the north and west edges of the property will:
1. provide privacy to residential neighbors and,
2. strengthen the connection between the Ambrose School and Sanborn House.
A clear, efficient and historically sensitive pedestrian network, including well-defined entrances to and exits from the buildings and well-articulated pathways to different parts of the property is provided.
Other elements include enhancing the existing plantings, by removing suckering shrubs and invasive understory growth, and planting historically accurate species. Re-introducing some of the details of the Sanborn and Downes eras, including the formal garden, seating, sundials, and the orchard, and removing non-functioning late 20th century features such as the grotto and small-scale flowering trees will round out the transformation.