A walled courtyard is a place of refuge from the outside world, and can be a wonderful addition to a landscape setting. Courtyards can be incorporated into the front yard layout of a home to help create a private and welcoming entry for guests and family. While at the back of the home a courtyard can be utilized to create a more intimate and peaceful setting for relaxation, eating or entertainment.

Better Homes and Garden – Courtyard ideas

There is much you can do with an existing courtyard. Consider the following design aspects when refurbishing an existing courtyard.

Enclosure. A distinguishing characteristic of a courtyard is having the space feel as though it has four “solid” walls. Solid is more visual than literal. A vine-covered trellis or a hedge may close in a small space (perhaps less than 10 feet square) without making it feel claustrophobic.

An open roof or canopy adds even more sense of enclosure. Whatever structure you use should allow plenty of light into the courtyard so there is no mistaking its feeling of welcome.

A retractable awning is one way to add enclosure.