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Boston Public Facilities Department


Roxbury, MA



Ida B. Graves Memorial Yard @ Tobin Community Center

The Boston Public Facilities Department and the Boston Center for Youth and Families commissioned Warner Larson first to perform a master plan study for the overgrown backyard of the Tobin Community Center and then for design and construction oversight of the installation.

The master plan included a community process that invited ideas and refined priorities that shaped the program for this space and ultimately the design for “The Yard” which includes a community garden, stage and pavilion with lawn gathering space, outdoor dining with café and picnic tables and a shady outdoor classroom adjacent to the Tobin School. A primary goal of the master plan was to increase the diversity of outdoor programs for all ages within this Roxbury community with flexible spaces that are easy to maintain.

Bold colorful signage and custom “garden tools theme’ gateway call attention to the space behind the community center building and provide a fresh new look to the community garden. The custom pavilion with its colorful translucent polycarbonate roof commands attention from the open assembly lawn (natural looking synthetic turf) with ambient LED festoon lighting strung between trees flanking the sides. The outdoor grilling and dining space incorporates fixed and movable furniture within a natural stone dust surface under the canopy of mature trees. A birch grove and simple woodland planting creates a shady side yard for the outdoor classroom and hexagonal permeable pavers connect the contiguous spaces with the durability and look of granite.