Creative Courtyards

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Love your gardens but short on space? With the move to large houses on small blocks of land, courtyard gardens may be the answer to your flora fantasies.

Any well-designed garden has rooms within the overall space, resulting in a greater focus on individual themes and secluded nooks to find respite from a busy world. Think of your courtyard as one of these rooms, ready to dress up with your favourite outdoor decor. Be creative & daring in your practical choices.

A great start to your planning is to walk around the space and notice what you see from each of the entry points, and what you don’t want people to see. Perhaps there are services like airconditioning units that need to be hidden whilst not impacting their performance. Or neighbours that are just a little too friendly? An appealing solution is to use oiled wood slat screens which not only keep the unwanted sights hidden but also become a feature in themselves. Remember to include woody, earthy tones in your garden to help the admirer dissolve into the tones of nature. As space is at a premium, select one quality feature to draw the eye of the visitor. A fountain, statue, decor pot or highlight plant will make a world of difference. Consider installing garden pavers or tiles to provide a solid, low maintenance surface to define your space. Do you want your space to be on the one level or do you prefer to have multiple mini-terraces to explore? A section of wooden decking or several wooden stages can add the wow factor to an otherwise mediocre layout.

Use above ground garden beds & planters to frame your plants. Think of how you will water plants and where the excess water will runoff. Incorporate drainage channels – something as simple as decorative stones & gravel are an ideal solution, and they can help highlight your areas of plantings.

And seating is a must. It could be incorporated into the raised garden beds or built as a standalone fixture. Top priority is that it needs to be comfortable. Courtyard yards are your chance to escape from the unforgiving materials of your dwelling, so give yourself permission to lazily relax and succumb to the beauty of your mini-paradise.

Plant selection needs to be optimised to suit the environment of your courtyard. Is it shaded in the morning but baking in the afternoon’s western sun? Sunny all day or totally shaded. Choose wisely as every plant will make an impact in your small space.

Choose different height plants to add interest and install a trellis to create a green wall of freshness. Tall pots can help your short plants look amazing. Most of all have fun. Courtyard gardens should reflect your personality & creativity. Be prepared to make mistakes and then try something different. Wise gardening doesn’t happen though knowing, it comes through doing. Grow forth & be lush!