Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA
Garden Dialogues

Garden Dialogues 2022: Sonoma, CA

Sonoma, CA

All events will be subject to local guidelines on gatherings, including social distancing, wearing face coverings, and stay-at-home orders. Attendance is limited, not only to maximize the safety of those attending but to promote an intimate learning experience. If this event needs to be postponed to comply with local ordinances, registrants will be notified directly.

Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA - 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Sonoma became the destination of choice for a small group of Bay Area friends, who each found and purchased properties near town. The client chose this steep, wooded 17-acre site with volcanic rock fields less than two miles north of the historic town square, Sonoma Plaza.

Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA
Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA - Photo Photo by Marion Brenner, courtesy Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, 2016

The directive from the client was to be rural contemporary, with clean geometry and a palette of natural materials, including large expanses of glass, rectilinear stone veneer, horizontal cedar siding, and concrete. Preserving and taking best advantage of the existing oak woodland and volcanic rock outcroppings was paramount. The landscape architect, Roche + Roche, worked with the architect and builder to take best advantage of the limited level space. The entire compound is off the grid, generating enough energy with hidden solar panels to power all on-site electrical needs, and charge the owners’ electric vehicles.

Where the private gravel lane leaves the county road, low, gently curving walls planted with stachys and bouteloua frame the entry. These walls are made of boulders found on site, fitted together in the Inca style of tight, mortarless jointing. At the lowest developed level, a guesthouse, game room, and small play lawn are tucked into the trees.

Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA
Sonoma Overlook, Sonoma, CA - Photo by Marion Brenner, courtesy Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, 2016

The client desired most of their daily living on one level, so the second-floor bedrooms, kitchen, and great room open out onto the concrete pool terrace, all with views over the Sonoma Valley and beyond to San Francisco across the Bay. The pool captures the reflection of existing oaks, and two recirculating water elements provide respite from the hot summer sun, while the naturalistic sweeps of plantings connect the compound to its natural surrounding landscape. Arbors of woven willow panels set in steel frames provide much-needed filtered shade and help define the outdoor space with a custom concrete fire pit.

At the top of the site, what was once a forgotten rock-strewn knoll is now a destination with spectacular views. A gravel terrace with gas fire pit utilizing existing volcanic rock as its backdrop overlooks a bocce court laid into a gap in the native rock outcroppings.


Fox Ridge, Sonoma, CA – 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM 

In 2014, Jon Reiter of Reiter Fine Home Building purchased this undeveloped 16-acre Sonoma hillside parcel to developed as a high-end spec estate with a beautiful 5,000 square feet residence, detached garage/game room, pool and pool house, with a party barn and several acres of production vineyard. 

Fox Ridge, Sonoma, CA
Fox Ridge, Sonoma, CA - Photo courtesy courtesy Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, 2022

The property was purchased in 2016 by a young Bay Area family as their weekend country home, and shortly thereafter, the 2017 Patrick/Nuns wildfire swept through the property, damaging the residence and the vineyard, and destroying the barn, windmill, tree house, and many of the existing Oak, Madrone, Bay and Manzanita trees.   

Starting in 2018, the structures were rebuilt, a guest house was added, and Roche+Roche were engaged to design new hardscape and landscape for the barn and the guest house and develop active outdoor spaces including a new bocce court and woodland garden associated with the garage/game room, and a creative solution for a large former construction staging area known as ‘The Bowl’.  Extensive walking and ATV path and trail systems were developed to connect all areas on this property, and to connect it to the flanking properties acquired by the owner.  

Fox Ridge, Sonoma, CA
Fox Ridge, Sonoma, CA - Photo courtesy courtesy Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture, 2022

Tour participants will tour all the above and catch a peek from a safe distance of the ongoing construction on the adjacent 12-acre property. From the hilltop residence, we will see how the property and the surrounding area are rebounding from the fire and discuss fire resilient design in the wine country. 

This Garden Dialogue will be led by David and Nancy Roche of Roche + Roche Landscape Architecture.

Transportation between the two locations and lunch will be provided. Note: Attendees should be prepared to walk steep stairs and driveways.

2.0 LA CES™ professional development hours will be available to attendees.

Click here to view the complete 2022 season of Garden Dialogues.

Refund Policy
Cancellations and Refunds will be granted according to the following schedule:
Up to two (2) weeks in advance: 90% (Deduction represents administrative processing fees)
Less than two (2) weeks in advance but up to seven (7) days prior: 70%
No refunds will be made for cancellations seven (7) days prior to event
No refunds will be made for “No Shows” (a person who registers for a program but who does not cancel registration or attend the program).
Refunds will be processed as they are received or after the conclusion of the program, depending on the program date and when cancellation occurs. Refunds may take five (5) to seven (7) business days to process.