Garden space is a luxury few of us are lucky enough to have in 2017. The dream of a quarter-acre block is all but gone thanks to our big city’s outrageous property prices. So if your backyard is lacking, consider a lush courtyard oasis instead.
With a few insider tips and tricks you can turn a vacant back lot into a secret garden just outside your door; a place to chill with mates on a Friday night, or romance that special someone on a balmy summer’s evening.
However you envisage your dream courtyard, we’ve got some advice every guy needs to read before planting a single seed. With less and less outdoor space to enjoy, it’s important to utilise every available inch. Here’s how to engage in your courtyard courtship.
Flooring For your Taste
When designing a courtyard, one of the first things to consider is what ground covering you prefer. The most commonly used are wood decking, grass, tiles and brickwork. The final decision should take into account the style you want to replicate.
Etch Out A Path
Every good courtyard deserves a path. Whether it be winding, straight or zigzagged, we love old-school pebbled pathways, modern decked thoroughfares and straight brick lanes.
The Only Way Is up
Courtyards tend to be on the small side in terms of square footage, so think smart and use hanging hooks and vertical garden walls to make the most of whatever space you have available. Staghorn ferns are incredibly popular at the moment and they help add a masculine edge to your pretty garden wall.
Go Big Or Go Home
Your courtyard might be small, but that doesn’t mean your plant choices need to be. A few large plants in oversized pots will add dimension and interest to the space. If you are worried about damaging tile work or chipping the bricks, always buy fibreglass reinforced concrete pots, or concrete finished pots at the very least.
Courting With Sexy Furniture
A functional courtyard demands at least a couple of chairs and a small table. Benches positioned along a courtyard wall tend to work best, as they will get more bums on seats than traditional settings. Wood bench seating performs best when teamed with bright cushions, floor rugs and outdoor throws.
Consider Accessory Placement
Clustered pots are more appealing than singular ones. Place groups of pots against a side or back wall, or cluster to create the outline of a path in the middle of your courtyard. As well as outdoor furniture, you’ll need some furnishings to soften the feel of the area, and add individual style to al fresco proceedings.
Outdoor rugs are one way to inject some textured personality into the courtyard, and look great under natural wood tables. Unique and quirky raised planter beds are a nice touch for the experimental man. Think old bathtubs and vintage wooden wheelbarrows for authenticity.
Get On That #PondLife
Be the ultimate courtyard boss with a koi pond tucked away in the corner, or show it off in style and position it smack bang in the middle.
Keep It Private
Bamboo and fern pines are fabulous screening plants. They grow with little encouragement and keep prying eyes out. Plant along the courtyard boundary for screen-saver success.
Courtyard-Friendly Plant Species
Hit up your local greenery for these plants to give your courtyard the gift of life.
- Jerusalem artichoke – this one looks and tastes good
- Passionfruit – perfect for warm Aussie conditions.
- Bamboo (in particular, the Bambusa multiplex)
- Portuguese laurel
- Pencil cypress
- Port Wine Magnolia
- Climbing plants like the Flame Vine, Coral Pea Vine and Azores Jasmine
- Shrubs like lavender
- Perennials such as lilies