Courtyard Landscape Design

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Courtyard Landscape Design

Jun 07, 2011

You know by now that entryway curb appeal is important to create an inviting and appealing home. Everyone wants to know how to attract home buyers and often they will consult a curb appeal specialist for the explicit purpose of making their home attractive to buyers. But front yard curb appeal is not the end of the story. You need to consider the backyard landscaping, the hardscaping of the front and back yards, and, if you are lucky enough to have one, the courtyard landscape design.

A courtyard, as if you didn’t know, is a private area on a property enclosed by either walls or buildings (or a combination of both). When one imagines a courtyard, one imagines beautiful, lush foliage and water features. One imagines the courtyard landscape has perfectly appropriate and elegant appointments throughout the courtyard and the hardscaping is of the highest quality. However, courtyards don’t always start out that way. They begin as blank slates and, without adequate courtyard landscape design, they will probably remain that way.

A good courtyard landscape designer will incorporate elements of the surrounding architecture. The type of materials used in the construction of the building can be used throughout the courtyard design. You wouldn’t want polished granite in the courtyard of a stucco house…so pay close attention to what’s appropriate. Certainly architectural embellishments and styles should be reflected in the overall courtyard landscape design as well. So, basically, if you have a French Chateau-style home, don’t start planning a gorgeous Japanese-style koi pond in its courtyard. Landscape design should always directly compliment and accentuate the home.

It is important to consider that the courtyard is, by nature, an enclosed space. Finite spaces absolutely require, and work best with, a space plan. Take measurements of the entire courtyard and sketch out the courtyard to scale. Be sure to note any doors, windows, built-in benches or anything else that is immovable. Don’t include any existing containers or plants. After all, you’re redesigning the courtyard landscape.

Now that you have a scale drawing of the courtyard, note any areas in the plan that would lend itself to a more intimate setting. You may want to create several distinct areas in the courtyard. Sometimes one corner would be the best place for a small seating arrangement. In a smaller courtyard, you may consider adding one central, unifying piece in the courtyard which will help to orient you and the visitor to the courtyard and will allow you to design elements around the central piece as is appropriate and as will comfortably fit in the courtyard.

Speaking of which, have you thought about water features for your courtyard landscape design? You might be surprised at how inexpensive they can be. You don’t need a huge fountain tiled in expensive glass tiles dominating the entire courtyard…you can start with a small, reasonable, store-bought fountain. Look around at your local hardware store for some inspiration. You may also check the local hardware store for artistic embellishments. Small (and tasteful please) statues in your courtyard can help fill in the space and break up the vegetation. If you are feeling very creative, you can also purchase a larger sculpture from a local artist.

After you have a rough idea of the larger pieces which will occupy the courtyard, go to the local garden center and find some plants that you think would work well in the courtyard landscape design. Keep in mind the scale of the courtyard and the planned furniture pieces. You will want plants with appropriate height. Don’t worry about it if you fall in a love with plants that are too short…after all, you can always put them in beautiful containers and elevate them. Outdoor garden pots are a great way to bring in plants (sometimes utilitarian and sometimes decorative) on a budget. It may not look like a professional courtyard landscape designer created your courtyard, and only a professional can truly make courtyard landscape design that looks professional, but it’s a start.

By paying attention to the courtyard of your home, and ensuring that it is just as beautiful as the entryway landscape design and the back yard landscape design, you are going to create a more comfortable home for yourself, develop an inviting atmosphere for your guests, and improve the resale value and marketability of your home.

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