A small courtyard can be a tiny oasis in a busy, urban life. The scent of living things, the fresh air generated by plants and the beautiful feeling having a little nature in your environment can have huge health benefits.
But while our initial impression of a small courtyard might lead us to a small amount of despair, the limited size you have to work with may actually be a great benefit. A small courtyard requires less money to set up and less money to maintain. There's also something uniquely soothing about being in a small area surrounded by high green walls or plants hanging overhead. A small courtyard can easily feel like being in a little forest.
Read on for a few tips and a few small courtyard designs.
An atmosphere of ambience and tranquillity is one of the greatest things a small courtyard has to offer. The placement of plants, grouping of particular colours and the level of care in the initial setup will pay great dividends later on. It's not always necessary to add a whole lot of objects, but to consider the shape, line and arrangement of the objects so they work together in harmony.
No matter how small or large your courtyard, any moving body of water is a great addition to a small courtyard. An above ground pool like this is obviously a great luxury on hot summer days, but even a small water fountain offers the soothing sound of moving water.
This tiny little courtyard is so lush and sophisticated that it's easy to overlook the size. The simple addition of a pebble ground adds an outdoor feel, while comfortable outdoor furniture adds a bright splash of colour and contrast. To finish the effect, a very high garden wall adds that vital green living component to the space.
Sometimes all we need to create a courtyard garden is a splash of green. This can be created with just a soft green lawn and a few very happy potted plants. A minimalist home can often work best with a minimalist garden. The green grass here adds a vibrant shot of life into this clean white modern home. To accentuate the effect, position some high, gloss panes of glass or mirrored finishes to double the effect.
After all this talk of greenery, let's not forget to consider the social benefits of a small courtyard. An outdoor area is a great way to get people out of a pokey apartment and congregate outdoors. While an outdoor barbecue is always a popular choice, a simple, ground fire pit like this is a spectacular feature that requires almost no maintenance.
There's an old saying that a man (or woman!) should plant a tree before he dies. The cost of grown trees may be prohibitive, but if you have the patience and time, it's a lovely thing to start with a small sapling. A single tree sapling will eliminate the need for the costly purchase of many smaller plants and will be an ongoing project to watch with pride.
If you are interested in courtyards, you'll love this Ideabook: A House in the Shade of a Sapodilla Tree