Bardessono’s Compelling Courtyards

In the pouring rain, two garden design and writing friends and I made Bardessono our final stop on a whirlwind tour of Napa and Sonoma. I first wrote about this LEED Platinum certified resort/spa earlier this year in a post called The New Luxury.  I was surprised to find that it wasn’t out in the country, but smack dab in the middle of the charming village of Yountville.  The hotel/spa’s  website makes it look as bucolic as the rest of Napa and Sonoma.

Olive trees, grasses and rammed earth wall in the main courtyard

Even in the downpour, Bardessono’s landscape design did not disappoint.  Arranged in a series of individual spaces that flow around clean lined geometric architecture, each of the tree themed courtyards had unique yet related visual identities.  Richard Hestikind designed the stone and water features that are at the heart of the each space.  In his statement about the gardens, he says ‘At one time, years ago, a natural stream wound through what is now the hotel grounds.  The general goal of the water feature was to re-introduce emerging water into the courtyards in unique ways.’

The three primary courtyards:  Olive, Birch and Magnolia are distinct yet related via their tree themes and materials.

The Olive Courtyard fountain

The Olive courtyard fountain incorporates three stone olive grinding wheels.

The Birch Courtyard

A large circular pad leads to the bridges and winding path through the Birch courtyard.

The Magnolia Courtyard in bloom

The Magnolia courtyard was by far my favorite.  Sprial stone work on the ground plane juxtaposed with rough hewn basalt verticals, water and those blooming magnolias made the rainy trek so worth it.

The central spiral in the Magnolia courtyard
Spiral leading into spiral

Both of my companions for the day also wrote about this their takes at Garden Porn and Alice’s Garden Travel Buzz.  There will be some more from Miss R on this amazing day and other San Francisco Bay Area adventures next week.

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4 thoughts on “Bardessono’s Compelling Courtyards

  1. Simply gorgeous! Any idea what their source for those magnificent Olive trees is?

    I was told they were 80 year old field grown trees. There must be a nursery that specializes in them near there.–s

  2. Susan you captured some great images and your descriptive words do the landscape justice.

    To answer Dave Bockmans question about where the trees were resourced from :
    There are at least a half dozen suppliers in the area that either specialize or regularly located field dug olive trees.
    Many are coming from orchards in the central valley whose land was going to be bulldozed for development.
    Others orchards are jumping on the olive tree bandwagon due to the good price these large trees fetch.
    The dig up and transplant very good considering their size and age.

    Thank you Michelle, for both the complement and an answer for Dave! Was a beautiful place.

  3. Absolutely lovely, espec. the magnolia one. Saw some of this on Alice’s blog, but repays trble and quadruple viewing. Thanks!

    Best Wishes


    Ahh. That’s because Alice was one of my companions. Michelle D. was the other. Both wrote beautiful posts on the courtyards.

  4. I continue to worry about integration of a courtyard in my planned extended stay guest house for seniors. I have my degree in visual arts and love the thought of the peace and tranquility that I sense when I even think about this kind of feature in a home for any one. However I also continue to hear my fathers voice in e saying if you don’t see something in a market or if no one else is doing this then there is a good reason, cost prohibitive or no ones interests…pr perhaps some unknown problem to be discovered.
    If any one will assist me with this concept please write or call me. I have no one here in the south that seems to feel a courtyard is of value or desirable for the older people.
    That surely is nonsense.! Thanks and I personally have had many months on dozens of trip to the island of Bali where the courtyard and water feature rules! I love it.
    7062067559 if you have time to chat.

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