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Ideas for a courtyard garden

For those who don't have the luxury of a large garden, or only a concrete courtyard, there are plenty of ways to transform these areas into outdoor spaces where you will love to spend time relaxing or entertaining.

There are so many options that you can choose from to design an outdoor space that meets your particular needs. With the introduction of artificial grass that resembles the look and feel of a lawn, now there's no need to worry about shady areas, or even ripping up a concrete slab - artificial turf can be laid directly on top of this. Plus, you can now buy artificial turf at your local Builders Warehouse, or get in touch with Belgotex Duraturf to find your nearest supplier / installer.





Artificial grass is ideal for small areas, or play areas for children, and it means that you don't have to worry about investing in a lawnmower, or spend hours trimming with a pair of garden shears! This type of lawn requires no water, fertiliser, or maintenance - so you can sit back and relax on weekends.

Whatever the size of the space, choose a design that fits in with your style of living and the available space. You need to allow for seating or dining furniture, as well as small areas where indigenous, water-wise or colourful plants can be potted up. We have some great ideas for using breeze blocks for easy planting solutions.

Measure up the total area of the space and draw up a basic scaled plan to allow you to have a better idea of how your design idea will fit. It is far better to do everything on a piece of paper beforehand than end up with furniture that does not fit into the space, or doesn't allow you to move around. A basic design plan will also help you to work around a budget.

Not all courtyards will be situated in a shady spot, and you may need to erect a structure to provide shade during the hottest time of the day. You can add shade to a small area using a variety of different materials. Koolaroo shade sails can now be found at Builders stores in different shapes and sizes and are easy to mount as a DIY project.

If space allows, a large shade umbrella can be incorporated into the design. Or you can look at building a simple pergola with slatted roof that provides a small amount of shade.

When choosing the right furniture for your courtyard it is important to look at both size and style. You want furniture that meets several criteria:

- The style should meet that of your home and the design of the outdoor area.

- You may want to invest in furniture that require little or no maintenance.

- The furniture has to be affordable and be within a set budget.

If you or your partner have some DIY savvy and time on your hands, making your own furniture can save you substantially, plus you have the option to use reclaimed materials or revamp salvaged or secondhand furniture. We offer plenty of ideas and projects in our Garden Section for garden furniture, water features, etc.

If the courtyard is walled then all you may need to do is add a coat or two of paint suitable for exterior use. If you intend to plant up around the perimeter of the space you can consider using a white paint for the walls. However, bear in mind that white is bright and will reflect light around the small space, possibly making it uncomfortable due to being too bright. There are many other lighter hues that can be considered, and that will not be too bright on the eye. 

If you love to get your hands dirty and do a bit of gardening, you can add narrow walled beds to add greenery and foliage. And don't forget about using walls for vertical gardens. These take up little space and can be used to grow a variety of plants, including herbs for your kitchen. Click here for easy DIY ideas for vertical gardens.

Where an outdoor courtyard opens up to interior spaces, try to link these areas as much as possible to make the best possible use of both areas. Extending a kitchen or dining room into a courtyard increases your living spaces and allows for year-round entertainment areas.

Flooring options for a courtyard garden or entertainment area can range from wood or composite planks, concrete or stone pavers, gravel beds, or artificial grass and a combination of other materials. Shop around to see what best fits in with your budget and plan accordingly.

If the area will also be used as a play area for children, bear in mind that flooring options should be child-friendly. If pets will roam around the space, make sure that any flooring allows for easy cleaning.