Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space!

Published: 06/12/2023 | Updated: 06/12/2023

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Who can resist the idea of a safe, quiet haven where they can escape the pressures of a busy life?

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Having a small courtyard garden is a great way to carve out a bit of tranquility in the city noise. Whether you have a lot of space to play around with or one of those small gardens in the city, there are many ways to create the perfect courtyard space.

Courtyard gardens are now even more in demand as townhouses and terraces become more common and outdoor space becomes such a prized resource.

But how can you create a tranquil beautiful garden when you are surrounded by rough surfaces, massive structures, close neighbors, or towering buildings?

As always, the original design is crucial.

Make the most of your courtyard garden

A courtyard garden can simply be defined as "a flat place, with walls around it," which isn't the most appealing description of a small garden design.

However, even though your area may be hidden by nearby walls, it can be a place where shady-loving plants flourish.

And while thinking of courtyard garden ideas, you can be creative with your choice of landscaping, furniture, and artistic accents.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Use plants as accents

Plants are typically overlooked when designing small outdoor areas, despite being essential for softening all abrasive surfaces.

They will have an overall aesthetic impact on your courtyard that should not be overlooked.

Use modest groundcovers as a live border between walls and "floors" or to line walkways.

Plant slender hedges or upright grasses to conceal retaining walls or cover tall boundary barriers with greenery.

Create a tropical oasis

In urban settings, where a small escape prolongs the vacation mood past the summer, tropical-themed gardens are growing in popularity.

Add a few exotic plants like yuccas, agaves, and olive trees to create a tropical mood.

These large plants also serve as wonderful shade and as privacy screens in your courtyard garden.

Less is more

It serves as the overarching principle in dense locations to try not to use more than two materials as the "floor" of your courtyard unless it is a particularly huge space.

For example, if your exterior joinery is constructed of wood, use the same material for your pergola and fences.

Similar guidelines apply to boundaries and other buildings.

Using fewer materials and plants than you would with a mishmash of varied pieces improves the coherence of courtyards.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Light it up!

When considering backyard landscaping ideas, make sure to consider the lighting situation. It is important to think about lighting design early on in the process as installation can be a little disruptive.

Since we spend so much more time in our backyards socializing and partying than ever, there is a greater emphasis on how they change at night.

Including lighting in your garden design can give it a fresh vibe, and it also has several useful functions.

Add some warmth with a cozy fire pit

Fire pits can be used to create the coziest outdoor areas.

With a little flare and ingenuity, your garden, patio, or backyard can act as a real extension of your home.

There's no reason to wait till it's warm outside to use your outdoor space.

Similar to pillows and throws that offer an additional layer of warmth, fire pits are a fantastic transitional piece that not only looks amazing but also makes living outside a little cozier.

Courtyard gardens make great storage spaces!

When there isn't much room, built-in storage is a lifesaver for outdoor living areas.

We are all aware that the more outdoor activities you partake in, the more equipment you will require, from petanque equipment to outdoor pillows and rugs, lanterns, and charcoal for the outdoor fireplace and barbecue, among other activities.

Make your space work for you by adding storage lockers under your built-in seating, and tuck and tuck a cabinet or two into any vacant corners.

Extend the courtyard "floor" as close as possible to the boundaries to make it feel bigger.

Decking or paver stones laid horizontally will also help the area appear larger.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Create a seating area

When designing a tiny garden area, such as a courtyard, effective use of space is crucial.

Consideration of built-in seating and some stylish outdoor furniture is a good place to start.

Create a corner sofa that can be cushioned out of the same brick used for the boundaries enclosing your courtyard.

Build such a sofa a little higher than normal to give room for an outdoor table and chairs to be moved in to create a casual eating area.

Use trees that hang over your head as a natural sunscreen, clematis will offer flashes of color when in bloom.

Connect your indoor and outdoor space

How effectively are the indoor living spaces connected to the courtyard?

Make sure there is a straight, easy path for traffic to travel between the two, and emphasize the connection by placing similar materials beneath the feet.

For instance, timber floors might extend to a wood deck.

Decking modules are an excellent option for giving your courtyard a more spacious feel if the outside "floor" is quite uneven.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Create your own spa by connecting the courtyard and bathroom

Have you ever thought of a light well or courtyard garden as not only a source of light but also a window to the outside world?

By connecting your bathroom area with a discrete outdoor courtyard space, you'll feel as if you are living it up in the alps, right in your own backyard!

Wall-to-wall style

A good courtyard garden should have a sense of containment.

This does not mean that you have to erect actual brick-and-mortar walls to create an intimate outdoor space. There are plenty of hard landscaping materials that can create the impression of a boundary. A hedge or a section of the lattice with vines can pass for walls for example.

Some courtyard walls have windows cut into them to frame views of the surroundings and give the space a sense of openness. In little courtyards, this is essential.

Use high fences and walls to create your own mini gallery

Star jasmine, native clematis, and bougainvillea are the best climbers for covering bare boundary structures with leaves and flowers—some of which will also offer a pleasant aroma.

For contemporary courtyards, think about installing a green wall system, but only if the conditions are ideal and the setup is straightforward.

Walls or fences on at least three sides of the courtyard are typically required to create the perfect outdoor area.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Use that as a starting point and decorate it to resemble your home's interior.

Consider cozy outdoor sofas and chairs rather than the conventional outdoor eating table.

Think of including warmth, lighting, and art as well.

Place plants in large pots or containers in strategic locations, just as you would indoors.


If your courtyard receives a lot of direct sunshine (particularly if you live in a warmer climate) enclosed compact courtyard spaces need some type of roof protection because they are apt to increase the buildup of heat and glare.

Additionally, the roofing will add to your sense of privacy from above and will protect it from the elements.

There are several solutions available today, ranging from expensive motorized louver roofs, outdoor blinds, and retractable awnings to less pricey shade sails and UV-resistant polycarbonate sheeting.

Create a focal point

Drawing the eye inwards is the best technique to distract attention away from unsightly structures or other unappealing views from your courtyard.

Think about positioning an interesting focal point, such as a sculpture, an architectural plant, a water feature, or an attractive pot.

Try to position your point of interest so it can be seen both from the house and from an outdoor dining or sitting area.

A quietly splashing fountain or softly tinkling wind chimes can also be used to block out the sound of surrounding neighbors and nearby traffic.

Courtyard Garden Ideas: Get Creative with your outdoor space! - Shrubhub

Add some colorful tiles

Tiles make wonderful additions to any courtyard garden

Tiles are waterproof – so why don't people use them outdoors more often? Swap out tired flooring, grey concrete, or stained walls with vibrant, glossy tiles.

A vibrant or cool-toned set of tiles adds shiny color to the courtyard garden below, creating a clean look and bouncing light around while injecting a generous dose of color.

You can also add a tiled floor to your outdoor space, combining interesting patterns to draw the eye.

For more expert advice on creating your own serene garden oasis, Shrubhub's team of expert designers and landscape artists is here to help!



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