Part of the charm of the Napa Valley lifestyle is the year-round mild weather, which allows homeowners to truly make their outdoor space an extension of their indoor living areas. Whether used for extra seating, dining, entertaining, or recreation, luxury outdoor living is an essential element to consider when choosing or improving your Napa Valley vineyard and winery real estate. I’ve chosen five essentials to consider when designing or redesigning your outdoor space.
Five Essential Elements for Luxury Outdoor Living Spaces
Whether you’re preparing a wishlist for your home purchase, upgrading your existing home for a more luxurious feel, or considering updates to raise your home’s value before putting it on the market, there are five categories of improvements that add value, style, and enjoyment to your home every day.
The Perfect Opulent Pool
The centerpiece of luxury outdoor living design, a pool is a must-have for everything from early-morning exercise to elegant, outdoor entertaining.
Consider a Grotto
A grotto pool can create an exceptional design element in your landscape, mimicking natural pools, springs, and waterfalls with an emphasis on lush vegetation and hidden spaces. Some may include cave-like spaces for sheltered spa, swimming, or seating areas.
Add the Elusive Infinity
By contrast, an infinity pool disappears into the horizon and is all about stripping away anything that would impede the view. Infinity pools can be very effective on properties with higher elevation, allowing the landscape to fall away and emphasizing more distant views.
Compare Water Types
One of the choices you’ll need to make with your luxury pool is between saltwater and chlorine. While saltwater pools are more expensive to build and maintain, many people prefer saltwater’s milder, natural chlorination, which is less harsh on skin, hair, and swimsuits. Whichever you choose, you’ll want to decide early in the process as lighting and building materials will need to be optimized for the type of water you prefer.
Chef Style Kitchen and Dining Outdoors
Forget backyard barbecues, luxury outdoor kitchens and dining spaces are ideal for gourmet meals and sophisticated social gatherings.
Add the Stone Oven
While many people think of pizza when they think of outdoor stone ovens, in reality, a stone oven is the right choice for everything from fresh brioche at brunch to grilling steaks or seafood. They’re available in both gas-fired and wood-fired versions for maximum convenience and versatility.
Consider Seating Options
When furnishing an outdoor dining area, it is important to decide whether to nestle it in a sheltered spot with a roof or on an open terrace with an umbrella or other covering. This will make a difference in terms of what materials you choose, how much upkeep will be required, and how often you’ll need to change out cushions and decorative elements.
All Important Wine Amenities
An outdoor wine cellar is an essential element of luxury outdoor living in Napa Valley. The cellar would allow you to regulate the temperature and storage conditions of your wine. You may want to install two different units in order to allow you to maintain storage at different temperatures for different wines. Don’t forget to include plenty of small tables in your outdoor seating plan so that guests always have somewhere to set their glasses.
Set the Mood With the Right Lighting
Lighting serves a variety of purposes from general illumination to decoration to creating drama in a luxury outdoor space.
Bring the Indoors Out With Overhead Lighting
Many luxury outdoor living spaces include both sheltered areas and open-air terraces. While you’ll probably have built-in lighting in your roofed spaces, you’ll need to create overhead illumination in more open areas. For outdoor entertaining, thickly hung strands of light can create a beautiful canopy or curtain effect, especially for al fresco dining. Pergolas also offer opportunities for mounting outdoor lighting while preserving an open-air feel.
Sustainability With Solar Power
Solar powered lighting offers a convenient option, allowing lights to be placed with little regard for wiring or power sources; they work regardless of the weather and even when the power goes out. When considering placement, be sure to determine how much sun your chosen fixtures need to reach full charge. Some types can charge even on cloudy days, so choose these for shadier areas of your grounds.
A Fire is More Than a Gathering Place
From poolside fire features for drama to tabletop fire pits for warmth and light, you’ll love bringing this element into your outdoor design. Consider a variety of fire elements throughout the space, from a small fire bowl in a seating area to a larger fire pit for whole-group entertaining.
Set Your Pool Center Stage
LED options offer a variety of opportunities for pool lighting, from strips outlining the lap lanes and stairs to traditional lights set in the poolside. Don’t forget to light the walkway as well, perhaps with uplights along a wall or fence or with small fire features dotted throughout the space.
Include Fun With Recreation and Hobby Spaces
Whether for personal fitness, socializing, or enjoying your hobbies, the best outdoor spaces offer plenty of room for fun.
Choose Your Court Wisely
If you have your heart set on tennis courts, consider whether you want to choose grass, clay, or hard surface courts. Forgo ugly fencing in favor of stone walls or foliage barriers, or set your courts into the landscape, allowing rising ground to serve as a natural barrier. Don’t forget seating for players and spectators as well as professional lighting; you may also want to include dining spaces for courtside brunches or cocktails.
Show Off Your Car Collection
If your hobby is car collecting, you’ll want to create a space for your collection that is both beautiful and highly functional. State-of-the-art filtration and climate control is a must for the serious collector, as well as hydraulic lifts and the ability to maintain and repair vehicles on-site. Don’t forget entry and exit space for bringing in new additions to the collection on large carrier trucks.
Escape in an Outside Shower
Whether you’ve been swimming laps, playing a tennis match, or just spending time on the grounds, an outdoor shower is a highly desirable feature of your design. You may want a simple outdoor shower or a full bath suitable for guest use. Whichever you choose, carefully consider placement to determine whether you want the shower to lead into your owner’s suite or into an indoor dressing space.
Design Details in Your Luxury Outdoor Living Space
A beautiful marriage between the indoors and outdoors creates seamless design that enhances and improves both.
Architecture is Key in Napa Valley
Consider the design of your home when choosing your outdoor features. A minimalist, contemporary house will be enhanced by a clean outdoor feature, like an infinity pool and a sundeck with streamlined furnishings. Avoid incongruity between your home’s indoor and outdoor style.
The Landscape Ties it All Together
Consider choosing landscape elements both for their beauty and for their utility. Choose plantings that enhance the view or that serve as a needed screen or shelter for game courts, seating areas, or activity spaces. Be sure to choose plants that are suited for the local environment and layer in plants that reach their peak at different times of the year, so that there is always something new to enjoy.
Hardscape options include clean, seamless stone slabs, as well as smaller paver designs. Break up all of that hardscape with borders of greenery or small pebbles for a more dimensional look and to divide different outdoor spaces.
Fire Pits are More Than Lighting
Luxury fire pits come in a variety of styles, from above ground pits to in-ground, from outdoor fireplaces to pool features. Consider seating and safety when installing a fire pit, as well as ongoing maintenance, especially in the event of storms or high winds.
Transition Spaces are Key
Think about the spaces where you transition from outdoors to indoors when considering flooring, seating, and other elements. Consider heated flooring for a covered porch or sunroom to makes pets and guests more comfortable. Beautiful outdoor fabrics and furniture can also be used in a transitional space in order to avoid damage from wet bathing suits and towels or sweaty athletic gear.
Architectural Elements in Doorways
In order to maximize views and create seamless transitions between outdoor and indoor living, dining, and play spaces, consider seamless glass doors or sliding panels for oversized entrances that can be left open for entertaining and events. Consider adding glass walls or direct access to outdoor spaces from nearby rooms to better integrate indoors and out.
Let’s Create Your Ideal Outdoor Space
Truly exceptional luxury outdoor living enhances everyday lifestyle and your home’s value. If you’re considering updating or upgrading your outdoor space, let’s discuss the way your home is positioned in the local market and ensure that you’re choosing the right luxury elements for maximum effect.