FOPG Making Mall a Greener Thoroughfare

Workers are shown putting the sprinkler system in place.

Workers are shown putting the sprinkler system in place.

The Friends of the Public Garden has launched a major turf restoration project in the Massachusetts Avenue to Charlesgate block of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall with the goal of transforming the bare, compacted soil into a lush, green lawn once again. The Friends is building upon their recent success in 2011 with restoring the Hereford Street block.

The Charlesgate block presents particular site challenges. Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted with a curvilinear roadway connecting the Mall to the Fenway, it was later straightened in the early 20th century and then reconfigured again when the underpass was built at Massachusetts Avenue. All of this reconstruction created a green space with a very different substructure than the other blocks of the Mall, that caused grading and drainage issues in addition to the soil compaction experienced in the other Mall blocks.

Project work includes removal of turf, soil amendments that will improve drainage and relieve compaction, and reseeding. Fencing will be up until the grass is established, to ensure a green and beautiful landscape.

“We are excited to be able to make such a significant improvement in a block of the Mall that has needed major attention for quite some time.  This project has been made possible thanks to a Beautify Boston grant from the City of Boston, generous grants from the Biber Foundation, the Garden Club of the Back Bay, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay and 80 local residents totaling $43,000 to support the effort,” stated Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden.

For more information about this and other projects contact the Friends of the Public Garden at [email protected], by calling 617-723-8144 or online at

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