Thursday, September 5, 2013

Creating a Classic Courtyard

Although your courtyard or townhouse garden may be surrounded by walls, that doesn't mean you need to feel hemmed in. There are many ways to add features to create classic and timeless areas in which to retreat.

Use focal points wisely and sparingly. A statue or large urn placed in a corner or at the centre point of a feature wall can be very effective. On the opposite end of the scale - go big and go bold.

Blurring the boundaries

The first priority when landscaping a courtyard or walled garden is to blur the boundaries. Not only between indoor and outdoor spaces, but also around the walls themselves. You can do this by repeating colours, materials or decorating themes.

An illusion of space

To give smaller areas the illusion of more space, choose light-coloured, large-format pavers. This also applies to the surrounding walls. Whites and light neutrals can make an area seem bigger, while colours such as red and yellow make a space seem smaller. However, for a big impact use bold colours.

Adding interest

In plain, featureless courtyards, introduce level changes to add perspective and interest. Raised bricked beds, wall niches and deck areas lead the eye upwards. Or try adding curved elements to fool the eye and give the appearance of a less boxy area.

Soften up

To soften hard landscaping and paving, grow groundcover around the perimeter, interplant with something low-growing like mondo grass, or insert decorative pebble features or borders. You can also use plants to soften existing features within the courtyard, such as a pergola.

Catch the eye

Use focal points wisely and sparingly. A statue or large urn placed in a corner or at the centre point of a feature wall can be very effective. On the opposite end of the scale - go big and go bold.

To give smaller areas the illusion of more space, choose light-coloured, large-format pavers. This also applies to the surrounding walls. Whites and light neutrals can make an area seem bigger, while colours such as red and yellow make a space seem smaller.

By using tapered, vertical, climbers and hanging baskets you draw the eye upwards - again creating the illusion of a larger space.

Used as a focal point, potted topiary or dwarf trees can make a courtyard seem a little larger - and more like a classic courtyard garden.

Add tranquillity

Water is considered an essential element of any garden. Don't forget to introduce a water feature to cool down the space and add a sense of movement and create a tranquil space. This might be a wall-mounted feature so it doesn't take up too much room.

Dressing up

Dress up a wall with a work of art, hanging baskets or espaliered plants. The latter can soften the look of a bare wall, minimise glare and generally help to cool the courtyard. Containers can also add an element of interest. Shop around for pots that fit in with your scheme. Look for clay pots or metal containers that look good on their own.

Adding on

If you consider the courtyard to be a waste of space and just don't have a green thumb, consider bringing the inside out into the space. A conservatory or garden room not only adds to the value of a home, the space can be used for entertaining, breakfasts, or just simply relaxing.

Whatever you decide to do in your courtyard, it's your space!

Article courtesy of Home-Dzine


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