A collection of great landscaping articles and favorite links that cover various topics from principles of design to landscape design gurus.
courtyards and patios like this one require a lot of attention to detail, making the most of what little space is available, and proportion. Getting an appealing decor with the most elements, avoiding a cluttered appearance, and still allowing enough area for relaxing and entertaining often requires staying within a theme, purpose, and focused color theme.
This courtyard, being created in the front entry of the home also required an inviting appeal that would accent the front door and front of the home. Being already enclosed by the home and stucco walls that are the same style and color of the home, other elements such as the paving floor, brick row on top of the wall, and brick row surrounding the pond were planned into the design to help tie the entire project together.
The floor, which was plain gray concrete to start, was overlay paved with red bricks for a few different reasons. For one, the concrete of the courtyard patio floor was cracked and uneven and would most probably continue to move in the future. Laying tile, or any other solidly sealed flooring would invite more visible cracking and repairs. So a simple overlay of sand filled pavers will help hide evidence of any future cracking and lifting.
Another reason for using red colored brick pavers to overlay the courtyard floor and the brick rows is the color of the roof of the home. Staying within a limited color theme of the home and all surrounding elements helps the landscaping and patio courtyard to have an appearance of being intentionally designed into the original landscape rather than being an after thought or addition.
Also, the brick paving is porous and allows for quite a bit of rain water to absorb before it starts to accumulate and and need to be drained off and out of the area. See patio courtyard drainage for more information on water, flooding, and draining enclosed patio areas.
The small pond area already existed as a square hole in the courtyard floor. While there was some mention of filling it in and paving over it, the better choice was made to upgrade the garden pond and create a unique shape brick row around it that would match the rest of the patio.
The fountain is a simple and common design created from a terra cotta pot with a hole drilled into it and a pump housing placed in the bottom of the pond. This could have been created with most any kind of garden decor along with many different elements made specifically for this purpose such as clay or brass statuary.
With the majority of the floor surface being existing concrete, the possible planting area is limited. So to add more plants into the garden, this is a great opportunity for planting in containers. And while the planters give opportunity for more vegetation and decor, they also create another element and height in the garden with a variety of different types of pots. Watering these planters is a simple matter of running tubing from the existing watering system into the pots.
The existing planting beds are not only smal but are also square cut concrete with very little character. So adding a paver brick row to the edge made a huge difference in softening the hard edge of the courtyard patio.
The plant selection is very focused and consists of just a few selections of different plants repeated throughout the patio garden. Again, this is another area where proportion is a consideration. See principles of landscaping for more info on proportion in landscaping and garden design. While the plants can create height and break up the blank expanse of the walls, they need to remain in proportion with the enclosed courtyard and not over grow or overtake it.