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Give your Sonoma yard some fire and water

12 Sep 2012 8:18 AM
Give your Sonoma yard some fire and water

Although many of us often focus our design attention to the interiors of our homes, creating an elegant space outside for relaxation and friendly get-togethers can be just as gratifying. This is especially true in Sonoma, where temperate weather throughout the year makes it possible to lounge outdoors on almost any evening.

However, many of the owners of luxury homes in the area may not know how to best utilize their space or make it amenable to social gatherings and leisurely meals. Luckily, a recent article by interior designer Mary Courtney in Sonoma Magazine provides residents with some great ways to get the most out of their beautiful homes and welcoming yards.

Fire pits
One of the best ways to create a special outdoor space is by centering it around a fire pit. There is no better way to enjoy a crisp evening than by sitting outside around a roaring fire. Whether natural gas or propane, these devices are easy to use and maintain and can be the perfect backdrop for a meandering conversation fueled by some of the region's famous wines.

To spice up a traditional pit, Courtney recommends finding one with a decorative pattern or featuring crushed glass.

"The more dated and dark look of fake logs or lava rocks have no comparison to the beauty of the glass surface," she writes. "If you have an existing fire pit simply change the bed to the crushed glass to give it a more contemporary and beautiful look."

Water features
If fire isn't your favorite, try water. Water features can add a meditative and relaxing atmosphere to your yard or garden. While a traditional basin or bird bath will provide an element of grace, incorporating moving water might be a way to add more originality to your space. Plus, the sound of streaming water is known to have a soothing effect on people.

"The many sounds of cascading water draw you to stop and listen, calming your environment and giving a 'life' to the patio," Courtney writes.

See for yourself
If visualizing such a setup is difficult, Sonoma residents don't need to travel far to see a similar one in real life. The Cottage Inn at 310 First Street East has a Moroccan-style atrium that features a fountain with a fire-pit perched above it. This could prove a useful example for residents looking for ways to add fire and water to their outdoor environments.