Contemporary Courtyard Design
Is it possible to create a stylish outdoor entertaining area when only a tiny walled courtyard space is available? Well, in my book anything is possible and it’s best to put the problem into the hands of a professional. You can pack a lot of WOW into small spaces and the solutions are just a matter of clever design and optimising every inch of available space. My client’s 28m2, L-shaped walled courtyard was my design challenge.
The damp, partially whitewashed brick walls were overgrown with mature ivy which had huge trunks and lots of suckering stems. All this foliage encroached into the garden reducing the space available. Also, there were large shrubs which had outgrown their allocated space and the area felt very small, enclosed, damp and dark.
The client’s design brief was for a design that made the garden inviting and functional. Somewhere that he could entertain outside and be able to sit and chill. The design also had to have a good visual relationship with the 100 year old house. To be an extension of his kitchen area which was accessed via large double French doors and importantly to be very low maintenance. Oh and it had to have interesting plants too.
One of the main difficulties from a design point of view was the condition of the boundary walls. Fortunately these were structurally sound but one of them did have a bow in it which would have made the construction of the elevated slatted timber screens impossible. The walls were very damp too.
It was decided to build an inner leaf to two sides. We did this to firstly address the bowed wall problem and secondly provide a new flat surface which could be successfully rendered. The third boundary wall was good enough to render straight onto the surface. As low maintenance was important we decided to use the coloured K Rend in Antique White.
The finished garden with built in seating. In the summer there will also be a coffee table and two lounging garden chairs in this corner. A sail shade will be fitted for shade and there’s an infra-red heater for chilly evenings. The borders are all uplit with stainless steel spots beneath each olive tree.
I would like to thank Chris Bestall and the guys from the RHS medal award winning landscaping company Platinum Gardens and Driveways for building this project through one of the wettest November and Decembers on record. Thank you for soldering on and being so cheerful despite most of the time being soggy wet! If I wore one, I’d take my hat off to you all.