22 Killer Courtyards

An outdoor space enclosed by at least three walls characterizes a courtyard which is a rare, structural treat, but can be a tricky space to get right. Courtyards are precarious beasts and at the very worst can feel cramped, unwelcome, dark and damp. If you are lucky enough to have a courtyard, stick to a few design tricks: 

  • Sunlight at Day: Incorporate ways to capture or reflect sunlight as courtyard walls are often high and make spaces feel confined. Light stone, bleached brick or white walls give off light especially if your courtyard space is tight (hey NYC!), even white porcelain floor tiles can be used. Maximize outer layers of glass if possible, through windows and doors to bring sunlight in. Also, consider reflective water features!
  • Ambiance at Night: String lights, string lights, string lights, I cannot stress this enough! Not only do glimmering string lights set an amazing scene for entertaining, string lights are expanded, horizontal lines that direct the eye in an enclosed space (distracting away from high walls and bringing the eye down) making it feel much larger.  
  • Great Greenery: Not only do plants serve as the perfect, lively accessory, in a courtyard they are hella useful! Say your space is long and narrow or a bit awkward, potted plants (in unique ceramic pots and of different sizes) aligned on one side (or even two) carry your eyes onward, giving the impression that the view goes on and guides your eye around the space. Also, if you have a tall wall, consider an alive, green wall which is lower maintenance than you might think. 
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Until our next adventure,

Jenn

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