Tracy Riley – Eco Balance Landscapes


The warming winter sun peeks modestly through the leaves of your Jasmine creeper as the gentle breeze drops its fragrance over your comfy lounger. Your book drops to the floor as you lose yourself in this stolen moment. You’re nestled peacefully in your beautiful little courtyard garden.

Doesn’t this sound just idyllic? Courtyard Gardens are an effortless way to achieve a little oasis of respite in your chaotic surroundings, be it a school, a corporate building, private home or even a hospital.


Here are our top 10 ideas and tips to assist you in your courtyard garden project:

  1. Choose a courtyard theme

There are so many options when it comes to choosing a theme for your courtyard garden. You could relate it to a country for example the English or French countryside, or it could be a plant choice for example a succulent garden courtyard, or a tropical garden courtyard, depending on your climate.

  1. Use space wisely

Courtyard spaces are usually quite small so consider your use of space wisely. Use walls set up with a lattice and a climber such as a Jasmin creeper. Install paving that is just the right width, not too wide nor too narrow – set it off with cobblestones to add texture. If you have a window looking into the courtyard, this is a good opportunity to plant a window box, for extra planting space.

  1. Add structure

Use water features and planting containers to bring structure to your garden courtyard. The water feature can be a focus point of calm and serenity. Don’t be afraid to use a bold water feature but keep the size relevant to the size of your courtyard.


  1. Choose the right plants

Your plants should be chosen according to your chosen theme, but don’t neglect to consider your environment. Does your courtyard get any sun or is it fully shaded? Will you be able to water regularly, or do you need a hardier succulent? Have you installed a lattice that needs a creeper? Is there good draining in the courtyard? Are you looking to provide shade for a very sunny area? These should all be consideration when choosing your plants.

  1. Consider growing useful plants

You could make your garden earn its keep by growing small veggies or an herb garden. These would fare well in your window boxes if you choose to use these as a feature. You can plant herbs in a container closer together than you would in the ground.

  1. Let the light in

When you’re planning your courtyard garden, remember to consider the natural light coming into the courtyard area. Design your outdoor space with care to enhance the natural outdoor light as much as possible.

  1. Make clever use of seating

The right choice of seating can add a huge wow-factor to your courtyard garden. Consider your intended use of the garden: would you be using it for entertaining or breakfasts outdoors? Would you like to enjoy the space as a quiet reading-corner? Modern garden-seating can be both weather-proof and extremely comfortable, as well as aesthetically pleasing. A well-chosen outdoor lounger or 2-seater couch can add a unique décor flair. Alternatively, a little 2-seater French bistro table would be perfect for a breakfast nook.


  1. Use wall space to add décor finishes

If you are not using your walls for creepers, you could decorate them with hanging lanterns or wrought iron features, depending on your garden courtyard theme. Old window shutters glued to the wall make a magnificent feature and create a perception of ‘more’. Driftwood pieces fixed to the wall also make unique art pieces.


  1. Light it up

To make the best use of your garden courtyard in the evenings , lighting is an important consideration. If you are going to be entertaining after sunset, consider using lanterns to create an ambient setting. However, if you are going to be reading in your courtyard garden at night, you will need to install a more solid lighting system.


  1. Fire it up

A skillful use of a small courtyard space would be to install a fire pit for cosy evenings around the fire with friends and a bottle of great vino. Build the fire pit to incorporate some seating, use scatter cushions to enhance the décor, and you’ve got yourself a perfect entertainment venue. Remember to build drainage into your firepit and take all necessary fire precautions.

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