The reason I have chosen to talk about courtyards this month is because they are a design feature that can often be overlooked and not thought about, yet they can create an amazing private space that is another area of you garden.
If you have an open outside garden space that is part of your general garden area, providing you have sufficient distance from your boundaries, then courtyards can be created relatively easily. We have created many courtyard spaces either from a new space that was just part of a garden or by enclosing an existing part of a garden. The reason why they are so easy from a design point of view is that it is a maximum of three walls, or maybe only one wall that allows you to enclose a space.
The reasons for creating a courtyard space are varied: if you have a large plot in general then it’s a nice way of creating another separate space; you can use them to create more privacy from neighbouring properties; or you can use them to create a micro climate space within your garden.
As I have referenced in previous articles any garden space or house structure that allows garden and home to be joined more seamlessly is brilliant as it allows you to fully enjoy the benefits of you whole space. Courtyards may sound traditional as they are steeped in history, but they can be applied to any house structure from ultra modern to traditional farmhouse. The things that change are the general shape and proportions of the structure, the materials it is built from and the structural similarities to the property which allow it to blend. Whenever we have built courtyards we also heavily reference materials and finishes to tie in with the existing property so our courtyards are seen as an existing part of the property and not some ‘odd ball’ later addition.
For the real plant lovers out there courtyard spaces can be used to create perfect little gems of microclimatic spaces as they allow you to play with nature a little creating shade where there was none before or by creating a water feature to a hot wall. It also allows you to reduce wind where you may have lots, creating a sheltered garden space for you and your plants.
The options are quite literally endless. I have a courtyard at my house that was already there. It is a wonderful place to sit and eat, offering privacy and security all in one go. You can create openings in a courtyard wall for views or even add glass if you have stunning views but a lot of wind.
I am determined this year to get more people enjoying their amazing gardens which we can enjoy so much more here in Spain, don’t be of the mind set of - I never use that part of my garden. Use that as an excuse to use your garden space positively, there is always a use. Sometimes it’s just about turning your head around and thinking about what you can achieve.
Charlesworth Gardens are professional garden design and landscapers creating the perfect garden spaces for you to enjoy.