Once again, Napa and Sonoma Valley are setting the trend. This time it’s for driveways. For many grand winery estates here in wine country, the driveway can be the most arresting part of a home’s landscape. The photo above is a good example, for my listing at 3880 Silverado Trail.
According to The Wall Street Journal, today’s driveways go the extra mile as landscape architecture becomes more important in home design. It’s an important preview of a property’s overall splendor. In fact, during the Country Place Era (1880s -1920s), extensive driveways in the form of approach roads signaled a dignified arrival setting and were an important component of gardens and estates.
“Good driveway design is all about the arrival experience,” says Charles A. Birnbaum, founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a non-profit based in Washington. “Whether the driveway is long or short, as you arrive at a destination, the driveway says something special about the place,” he says. “You want it to create an opportunity, to tell you what’s coming.”
In a national survey of its members, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) reported that 81% of respondents saw stable or growing demand for work in the first quarter this year; much of it in residential projects. That is in line with the past two years and significantly higher than the same period in 2013, when only 59.5% of firms reported the same. ASLA says driveways are often overlooked when houses are designed and built.
According to appraisers, driveways affect resale value. That’s why homebuilders laid 670 million square feet of residential driveway for new homes in the U.S. last year, up by nearly 80% from 2009. Typical modern driveways made from solid nondescript masses of asphalt or concrete, leading directly to the garage door, are out. Homeowners are looking for a graceful arrival to the front door, much like the homes of Napa and Sonoma.
If you are looking to move to Napa or Sonoma Valley, check out the driveways in my listings and imagine yourself driving up to your new grand estate. I am happy to arrange tours for you. Call me at 707-953-9456 or contact me via email. I have access to some extraordinary wine country wineries, vineyards, estates and homes in the area.
Napa and Sonoma Valley Driveways Set The Trend Nationally