Courtyard gardens

Courtyards can be very special places, as they tend to be more intimate and self-contained. It is this sense of containment that makes them unique and sought after features of the landscape. However, this very sense of introspection can also make them quite challenging to design. The secret is to manage the space correctly as this effects the ambience you create.

In the designs below I used light colours to create a sense of space. In both gardens the original boundaries were dark and created an oppressive feeling. Lifting the colours completely changed the mood of the garden.

The idea of the courtyard garden is to create a cocooning affect but there is a balance between achieving this and not making the area feel cramped and cluttered. In both gardens a vertical element was used to create the sense of space. The raised water feature and steps lift the eye up and make the garden appear bigger. The same is achieved in the other garden with the upright shed and also the raised wall.

Courtyard gardens rarely have a lawn but it is important that the paving does not become overpowering. In both gardens different effects were created using a mixture of paving materials but at the same time not creating a fussy looking garden.

Since Roman times, water has played a key role in courtyard gardens. In both gardens I introduced a water feature. In one, it was the raised pool for fish with a letterbox water feature piped up the wall. In the other garden, a simple sandstone water feature was used to create the sound of running water.

In both gardens planting was used to soften the hard materials and create movement, add scent and bring the garden to life.

If you’re considering the transformation of a courtyard area, please get in touch for a free consultation either by calling 01508 558743 or email