Typically a paved area, a well-planned courtyard or patio can serve multiple functions – be it a spot for entertaining, cooking, dining or relaxing – so it’s important you ask yourself how you intend to use the space. Will it need to cater to a large group of friends, or small intimate gatherings, for instance? Whether it’s comprised of stone, brick or concrete, your courtyard should blend in seamlessly with your garden, and provide you with a functional outdoor living area. Courtyards are a great way to break up a large garden, are low-maintenance and can save you money on your landscaping, too. Just add practical outdoor furniture, such as lounge chairs, a sofa, barbecue or dining table and chairs to maximise the space.
What materials should I use to construct my courtyard or patio?
Stone pavers and bricks are the most common materials used for courtyards, while concrete, tiles and gravel are also popular. When deciding on which surface material to use, first consider the style of your home. Stone paving is usually at the top end of the price bracket, but is highly durable and the most natural-looking of the surface materials available. Brick courtyards, on the other hand, are relatively easy to lay, and provide a warm, rich colour that can complement traditional homes. Concrete courtyards are one of the least expensive to build and are also very durable, while gravel is quick and easy to install.
You will also need to decide whether you want your courtyard or patio covered or left uncovered. You can add roofing if you plan on using the space regularly, or opt for a pergola, trellis or umbrella for shade instead. Courtyard enclosures, usually made from glass or mesh screens, can also transform your space into an outdoor room.
What decor and outdoor furniture should I add?
A courtyard can be so much more than just a paved slab, if you add the right additions. An outdoor kitchen and bar will help make the space the life of the party, while high-quality, low-slung chairs will make you want to stay outside for longer. If you have the budget, you may even consider adding a spa or pool. To make it the ideal al fresco area even when temperatures drop, a fire pit or fireplace will be able to keep you and your company toasty warm.
To entice you and your guests into the space, make some room for greenery, even if you just a place a pot plant atop a table. It will help tie in the area to the surrounding garden. Fairy lights, garden torches and citronella candles will also help set the mood and keep the mozzies at bay, while soft furnishings such as waterproof rugs, pillows and chair cushions will add personality. For something striking, consider adding a water feature or vertical garden.
Whether you want inspiration for planning a courtyards renovation or are building a designer courtyards from scratch, Houzz has 434,519 images from the best designers, decorators, and architects in the country, including Creative Hardscapes and Plant'In. Look through courtyards photos in different colours and styles and when you find a courtyards design that inspires you, save it to an Ideabook or contact the Pro who made it happen to see what kind of design ideas they have for your home. Explore the beautiful courtyards ideas photo gallery and find out exactly why Houzz is the best experience for home renovation and design.