6 Tips for Designing Your Urban Courtyard

June 22, 2017

Not everyone is blessed with a backyard that sprawls over several acres. Then again, not everyone wants the upkeep. Whether you wish your backyard was bigger or not, you have what you have and it is what it is. That being said do not think that you can't create an entertain-worthy space without a lot of property because you certainly can. Use this guide to turn your compact city yard into a low-maintenance hangout that is perfect for entertaining.

  • Define the Area - If you don't have a fence, you are going to want to do something to define the area. A large shrub or small flowering tree at each corner will mark your space. Something fragrant will fill the yard with a wonderful scent while in bloom. Even if you have a fence this is still a great way to create definition. You can fill in a "fence line" with smaller shrubs, as well.

  • Seats Around the Perimeter - You probably will not have a lot of space for a formal table or oversized furniture. The best way to make sure you can offer plenty of seating is to place the seats at the perimeter of the yard. Bench seating all the way around in almost a full square will work, or create an "L" shape with your seating, so you can do something different with the rest of the space.

Kenroy Cauldron Outdoor Birdbath Fountain

Kenroy Cauldron Outdoor Birdbath Fountain
Dimensions: 21"H x 16"W

  • Create a Focal Point - If there is not a lot of space for tables or other extras consider a fire table as your centerpiece. This gives you a fire element to enjoy, but it also provides you with a full table during the day and at least a partial table in the evening when the flame is burning.

Equinox Birdbath Fountain

Equinox Birdbath Fountain
Dimensions: 30.25"H x 20.50"W

  • Add a Water Element - No outdoor space is complete without a water feature. Not only will it create a soothing environment; the sound will help drown out neighborhood noise. Inviting nature to your space will make you love that urban courtyard even more. Birdbath fountains are ideal. They invite birds and offer the sound of moving water. It is important to keep birdbath fountains clean. Dirty, smelly water will take away from the look you are creating and it can make the birds sick.

Acanthus Birdbath Fountain

Acanthus Birdbath Fountain
Dimensions: 21"H x 17"W

  • Outdoor Lanterns - You want enough lighting that people are comfortable lounging out there in the evening, but not so much that your neighbors complain about the light shining in their windows. Solar lanterns, or those with battery operated candles, will be a nice touch.

  • Flower Beds - There is no such thing as too many flowers or plants. If you are building your bench seats around the perimeter, you could create flowerbeds at the top of the back portion. Just try to avoid plants that attract a lot of stinging insects. Hostas are perfect for these planters. Otherwise, just scatter a few planters around.