Courtyard gardens, enclosed on all sides by walls or fences, can transform a cramped space into an oasis. They preserve privacy while welcoming sunlight. They make even the smallest home feel larger. We’ve collected 10 of our favorites.
Color Code Above: By putting colorful patchwork tile on nearly every inch of the walls and floors of a tiny house’s open-air kitchen and courtyard garden, Vietnam-based architects a21studio transformed the minuscule into something magnificent. For more of this garden, see Saigon Story: Crazy Quilt Tile in a Courtyard Garden. Photograph courtesy of a21studio. Balcony Views When garden designer Brook Klausing first saw his clients’ townhouse backyard in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, it looked bleak: a chain-link fence, an old concrete patio, and a patch of hard-packed dirt. No more. For more of this garden, see Garden Designer Visit: Brook Klausing Elevates a Brooklyn Backyard. Photograph courtesy of Brook Landscape. Privacy, Please Above: In Manhattan, an airy hedge of bamboo provides screening at the garden’s perimeter while a pared-down palette of green and white focuses the eye on the center of the space. “The white limestone is like a canvas. When the sun is directly overhead, you can see the shadows of the bamboo and other plants starkly against it,” says designer Julie Farris. Photograph by Matthew Williams.
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Before & After: From ‘Fishbowl’ Townhouse Garden to Private Oasis. Elegant Restraint Above: A high-low mix of luxury and restraint (and clipped boxwood balls) lend a European air to Kristin Meidell’s Brooklyn courtyard garden. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see our book . Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces Espalier Edge Above: Robin Key Landscape Architecture created a modern outdoor room for a young family in downtown Manhattan. For more, see Lush Life: A Townhouse Garden in Manhattan. Indoor-Outdoor Living Above: A feature of larger English country gardens is the outdoor room, away from the house: It helps to structure a space and to provide shelter. Here in a small London garden, shelter is a given, with frost almost unknown, making it possible to throw open the connecting doors to the courtyard. Photograph courtesy of The Modern House.
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10 Garden Ideas to Steal from London. Clipped Topiary Above: A courtyard garden in Belgium by Archi-Verde. For more, see Steal This Look: The Spirit of Provence in a Walled Belgian Garden