Court Yard. The very word stirs the imagination. What comes to mind when you think of a courtyard? Is it a royal garden? A secret place? A sanctuary? Even an outdoor sitting room or retreat might be imagined. If your garden or the architecture of your home includes a courtyard take advantage of this delightful feature. The landscape design details of your courtyard garden lend themselves to a bit more punch than the rest of your garden.
Designing a courtyard landscape is as easy as a-b-c: Develop a design, designate a focal point and fill in the spaces with plants according to the scale of the garden. Because the courtyard is such a special feature of your landscape, the design aspect is the most important step in your landscape design. Even before making design choices it is important to research appropriate plants for your area, designs that complement your architecture, and ideas that stem from your imagination and desire for your courtyard use.
Even if you plan to install the landscape yourself, you might want to consult a professional landscape designer for this phase. Unlike the rest of your garden, a courtyard must be a little more permanent, so carefully plan your courtyard landscape design. Move on to the next step, designating a focal point only after the design has been carefully planned. When choosing the focal point for a courtyard landscape design, you have much more choices than simply plants. True, a beautiful fruit tree with a circular border, or a flowering weeping cherry might be exactly what your design needs.
However, you could also choose from a number of other plant designs such as an herb garden or a mossy path leading to a quiet but beautiful sitting area. Perhaps a water feature; either a reflecting pool or a fountain, will provide the atmosphere you desire. Even a formal or informal sitting area, a grill or a comfy hammock could provide an inviting focal point. It might be a good idea to allow the expert designer who is helping you with your plan give you suggestions about the focal point, helping you coordinate the mood of your courtyard and the scale of the space.
The final step, choosing and installing the right plants and other details to fill in the rest of the space is actually the most rewarding. It is exciting to watch everything come together and see your dream courtyard come alive. A courtyard landscape design provides ample opportunity to add small details or features that will coordinate, yet provide the unexpected. Perhaps a strawberry border to the edge of a flower bed, or a small bronze sculpture, or even a rock garden tucked into a corner will deliver that extra touch that makes the design. When choosing the fill in elements of the courtyard design, remember to select the largest plants first to anchor the design, and then fill in with smaller. The focal point and the large plants should be carefully selected for their permanent home, but the smaller plants can be changed or moved seasonally. Don’t forget to include some container plants as well that can be transported to different areas of the courtyard for different uses.