Tips For a Courtyard Garden

If you have a courtyard garden but are struggling to decide what to do with it, this article should help you to gather your ideas and create a space that you can be proud of. Courtyard gardens can often be small, and shady. Often they are also overlooked by neighbouring buildings. There are also, however, benefits to courtyard gardens. Often they are warm and sheltered, offering the opportunity to grow more tender plants than it may be possible to grow in a more exposed location.

Determine the Aspect and Understand Sun & Shade

One of the most important things when designing a courtyard garden is to determine which areas of the courtyard are in sun or shade throughout the day, and how this changes throughout the year. First things first, spend some time getting to know about sun and shade and consider how shade is cast by surrounding buildings.

Patio courtyard areaThink of the Courtyard As An Extra Room

When designing your courtyard garden, it can be helpful to consider this outside space as an extra room for your home. Think about how you would like to use this room, and what features you could incorporate (a fire pit or chiminea? Seating? Outdoors lighting?) that would make it more usable throughout the year.

Make Everything Multi-Functional

Whatever you do, don't be seduced into putting form above function. Though of course it is important that your courtyard looks good, it is more important that you can make the use of it that you wish to. Since space is often limited, you should make sure that everything you include has multiple functions. Seating could double as shade cover for summer salad crops, for example. Containers could be used to grow plants, but also as a feature to define a path through the space.

Courtyard gardenBe Bold, Incorporate A Statement Feature

It is usually best from a design perspective to include one larger, bolder feature in a courtyard garden rather than a load of smaller ones. There are plenty of bold features that you can use to define the space. Some that you might like to consider are:

  • a bold water feature
  • a garden sculpture
  • an arbour
  • a small specimen tree
  • a living wall
  • a large container display

Be creative and bold and create a focal point for the garden that reflects you and sets the tone for the space.