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Before & After: A Landscape Where ‘Horticultural Worlds Collide’ at Scribe Winery

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Before & After: A Landscape Where ‘Horticultural Worlds Collide’ at Scribe Winery

January 21, 2021

In California, our architecture is young. We joined the Union in 1848 and since then have endured so many biblical calamities in the form of fires and earthquake that it’s a shock to find any building with a history that dates to 1850—much less a grand Spanish-style mansion with a pillared front porch and a terracotta tile roof, presiding over Sonoma County’s velvety green, rolling vineyards.

So you can understand how the hacienda at Scribe Winery sets the tone for the rest of the landscape. When landscape architects Alain Peauroi and David Godshall of Terremoto took on the job of creating new gardens to surround the grande dame that brothers Adam and Andrew Mariani purchased in 2007, they realized no ordinary garden would do.

The hacienda, rebuilt after an earthquake in 1906, had been abandoned for 20 years before the Mariani brothers bought the winery.

“How does one do ‘landscape architecture’ in a place where wild coast live oaks cascade down from the foothills and crash into grapevines?” wondered David Godshall. “How do you build a garden in a place where culture and wilderness physically touch?”

Here’s the answer to those questions.

Photography courtesy of Terremoto, except where noted.

Sonoma is an enchanting place, and Terremoto took full advantage of warm temperatures, a lack of humidity, and the magical quality of light to create &#8
Above: Sonoma is an enchanting place, and Terremoto took full advantage of warm temperatures, a lack of humidity, and the magical quality of light to create “a microcosmic daydream” of northern California, says Godshall.
The hacienda makes a grand entrance. To reach it, turn off Napa Road and drive down a long allée of palms.
Above: The hacienda makes a grand entrance. To reach it, turn off Napa Road and drive down a long allée of palms.
 A whimsical mix of ornamental grasses, succulents, low-water perennials, and a monster palm tree welcome guests to the hacienda.
Above: A whimsical mix of ornamental grasses, succulents, low-water perennials, and a monster palm tree welcome guests to the hacienda.

“We planted a wild garden that will be a place where landscape ecologies meet,” Godshall says. “Coast live oaks are confronted by palms, artichokes run wild, native buckwheat will stumble into twining white roses, and dune grasses will sweep into the edible garden.”

Terremoto created tiered edible gardens and paths that invite visitors to explore the landscape.
Above: Terremoto created tiered edible gardens and paths that invite visitors to explore the landscape.

Before

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Above: “We extended the existing stacked rock walls on site to almost touch the hacienda,” Godshall says. Santa Rosa–based Manuel Fernandez Landscape oversaw landscape construction and planting.
Sturdy redwood timbers from a local mill were laid as garden steps; over time, they will bleach and age in the elements, Godshall says. Napa-based Cello & Maudru oversaw construction of the new hardscape elements.
Above: Sturdy redwood timbers from a local mill were laid as garden steps; over time, they will bleach and age in the elements, Godshall says. Napa-based Cello & Maudru oversaw construction of the new hardscape elements.

After

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Above: “We elongated the olive grove to push farther out into the site,” Godshall says. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.

“There is beauty and meaning in the provocative moments when horticultural worlds collide, and so that, in a nutshell, is what this landscape project is about,” says Godshall.

A gentle slope, paved in gravel, leads to the hacienda&#8
Above: A gentle slope, paved in gravel, leads to the hacienda’s entrance. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
Unobtrusive pathway lights blend into the landscape; the Architects Path Light from Lightcraft is $80 at Yard Illumination. An LED light bulb, sold separately, is available in three wattages for $ to $43, depending on the wattage. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
Above: Unobtrusive pathway lights blend into the landscape; the Architects Path Light from Lightcraft is $80 at Yard Illumination. An LED light bulb, sold separately, is available in three wattages for $26 to $43, depending on the wattage. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
Prominent among the succulents on site are what Godshall calls &#8
Above: Prominent among the succulents on site are what Godshall calls “floating feral agaves” (and their offspring). Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
In restoring the hacienda, the Mariani brothers worked with architect David Darling of San Francisco firm Aidlin Darling to &#8
Above: In restoring the hacienda, the Mariani brothers worked with architect David Darling of San Francisco firm Aidlin Darling to “preserve the patina” of its past, Andrew Mariani recently told Architectural Digest. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
After a redwood tree fell on the property, Petaluma-based woodworkers Noah Elias and Dan Ford transformed its lumber into weather-resistant outdoor dining tables and benches.
Above: After a redwood tree fell on the property, Petaluma-based woodworkers Noah Elias and Dan Ford transformed its lumber into weather-resistant outdoor dining tables and benches.
Inside the hacienda, &#8
Above: Inside the hacienda, “in addition to extensive structural work and an upgrading of all its systems, the project involved a careful uncovering and preservation of its many layers, which mark the passage of time,” the architects say. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.
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Above: “We found a warm gray brick for the patio that married worlds old and new with a soft sensitivity,” Godshall says. Photograph by Andres Gonzalez.

Visit the interiors of the hacienda on Remodelista in Kitchen of the Week: A Hacienda Kitchen in Sonoma’s Hippest Winery.

Scribe’s dreamscape of low-water plantings sacrifices nothing to sustainability. If you’re designing an environmentally friendly landscape, find design tips in our curated Garden 101 guides and inspiration from more of our favorite gardens:

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