Murdoch James Estate Wines near Martinborough straddles a dramatic escarpment that separates the upper and lower terrace of the vineyard. The winery buildings sit above the escarpment overlooking a pond and willow-lined creek. The design challenge was to plant the dry, crumbly bank, while providing a visual and physical connection between the upper and lower levels.
Local stone used in gabion baskets stabilises the base of the bank and defines the semi-circular lower lawn.
Generous timber and concrete steps descend through the centre of the bank with landings and seating to break the descent. These resting points allow visitors to enjoy the planting and views.
Planting was selected to provide quick cover and thrive in the steep, dry conditions. Native ground covers, flaxes, and grasses provide the base for the planting, while exotic trees and shrubs provide colour and seasonal change throughout the year.