A courtyard is a private oasis in the best sense. It is a place to sit in peace surrounded by nature or entertain guests, while having all of the conveniences of home just a few steps away. Here are some tips for creating beautiful courtyard designs.
Create Comfortable Sitting Areas
In small courtyards, creating sitting areas is as simple as setting up a small table and chairs. Larger courtyards call for a different approach, however, to keep things visually balanced. One method uses the same principals that interior designers use for defining separate spaces indoors. Creating several small sitting areas, each with their own unique views or special aesthetic, breaks up the space and adds warmth and comfort. Here we built a low, semi-circle wall with built-in seating. The fire pit makes this area cozier, even on chilly mornings or evenings.
Pathways for Function and Beauty
Easily navigable walkways make a courtyard more welcoming, and the design and colors used can enhance other architectural or landscape features, creating design cohesion. For this pathway, we used colors and materials that complemented other features of the home and landscape.
Designing a Side Court
Side yards can be put to wonderful use as a singular courtyard or as part of your front or back courtyards. The wall opposite the home will strongly influence the ambiance of this space, so add beauty to it where you can. One way is to add a fountain, as we did in this side court, and flank it with lush greenery in raised beds.
Soften Hardscaping with Plants
Hardscape features can serve dual purposes for privacy and decoration. Without the softening influence of plants, however, they can make the space feel cold and empty. Use plants to cover walls or place container arrangements nearby. The planter atop the pillar here adds visual appeal to the sitting area and creates a transition between the courtyard area and the surrounding landscape.