Legacy Planting - Tai Tapu Heritage Project

Tai Tapu, Christchurch


With a vision to the future, public and private visions can become intertwined in the repurposing of landscapes. In this case, our clients engaged in a heritage subdivision project, situated in rolling country below a public reserve, with high aesthetic requirements.

As a natural watershed, beneficial collaboration with the Christchurch City Council was part of the landscaping process. A series of water channels and holding basins were created to safeguard against downstream inundation and sedimentation. In 2019, Red Tree were called upon to design and plant the riparian margins.

The Challenge:

The landscape design and planting required functionality and high amenity value.

As the project backs onto native bush, this site is a hotspot for goats, deer, rabbits, and hares. The pests meandering down the valley and browsing the plantings has been a significant challenge in this project, with some of the bigger tree species becoming victimised by young stags shedding their velvet.

The Solution:

Moved by the sculptural ribbon like topography, Red Tree’s in-house Landscape Designer allowed the plantings to accentuate the contour of the land and water course, creating corridors of visual passage across the plantings. Kowhai, ribbonwoods, lancewoods, mountain flax, pittosporum, carex virgata, and silver tussocks were all part of the plant palette.

In consultation during the conceptual design phase, Red Tree’s horticultural team anticipated the presence of pest plants and recommended ideal plant spacing and full mulch coverage at ~75 mm depth. For ease of mind, our clients engaged with our three year maintenance and monitoring package, which allows Red Tree to guarantee 95% establishment success and protection of their investment.

Plant losses due to pest browsing were detected early in the maintenance phase. Pest management was then undertaken and the unharmed plants were caged, with replacement plants being installed the following planting season.


This Tai Tapu waterway ecology is a ribbon of greenery.

It is an establishing legacy planting that is aesthetically beautiful and ecologically diverse.

The desired result of stabilising the land alongside the drainage channels has been fulfilled.