When people hear the word 'courtyard', most would probably imagine a mansion with a wide open space as its courtyard, complete with a big, elegant fountain in the middle. Though this image has become a stereotype for courtyards, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case all the time.
According to a post by Home Designing, a courtyard is an 'open space surrounded by walls, within a building' by definition. But throughout the years, it has been proven time and again that there's no “set in stone” method of modifying and/or beautifying a home. For instance, we've highlighted in our previous post '5 Ways to Enhance Your Home's External Beauty' how you can improve the outside appearance of your house.
Today, let’s learn how you can create your own intimate space outdoors by building a mini courtyard which is perfect even for properties with limited outdoor space. These areas are great for enjoying moments of serenity whether alone or with family or friends.
Do the layering effect
The Japanese have been making all sorts of courtyards and their creations have become known as Zen courtyards. Adding a space of Zen in a home is a trend in home improvement today as it gives homeowners a dedicated area for flushing out stress accumulated from daily activities. Homify featured some DIY Zen mini courtyards and showed various layering techniques that you can apply to improve the overall appearance of your own mini courtyard.
You can use different materials for the ground such as sand or pebbles. For the former, there are many varieties to choose from like beach sand or play sand. Just remember to level the sand to maximise the accents. More on that later.
As for the pebbles, you can mix big rocks as stepping stones to make your mini courtyard even more appealing. Make sure not to include too many though; just enough to highlight a clear path.
Use fencing as courtyard walls
In addition, your mini courtyard doesn't need to be surrounded by the concrete walls of the your main building. You can use your front yard or backyard and set up fencing as an effective way to create an enclosure for the privacy and intimacy of the space.
Take for example the handful of courtyards featured by HGTV which creatively used their fences as courtyard walls. You can even grow vines that will envelope the fences to create a mini courtyard akin to a 'secret garden'!
Another great thing about using fences is that you have several types to choose from and you can opt for the type that best suits your taste. Screwfix features a variety of fence panels for reference, including the traditional picket type, closed superlap, and curved-top, and you can pick the design that will match the theme you have in mind. By taking the fencing as an additional decoration instead of just for enclosure, you can make your mini courtyard beautiful all the way around, from corner to corner.
Accent, accent, accent
What would truly make your mini courtyard stand out is your selection of accent pieces. This part completely depends on your personal preference. You can cover everything in greenery or use rocks as the highlight pieces, like shown in the examples above.
But you can definitely create your own: if you want a rustic ambience for instance, place old, wooden stools and some unused barrels; or decorate your mini courtyard with seashells in addition to the sand and put a couple of sun chairs so you could imagine that you’re relaxing on the beach. The possibilities are endless.
What's important is that you have a private and intimate outdoor area where you could spend time by yourself or with loved ones – a mini courtyard provides exactly that. For more ideas on outdoor area improvements, browse through tons of other posts in our Extensions section.