44 Modern Courtyard Design Ideas

Southwestern architecture and adobe homes are not complete without a courtyard feature. Popular with Arizona homeowners, as in history, the courtyard is exposed to outdoor air yet provides the cooling presence of shade and running water from lovely water features amidst verdant plants and flowers. The mild climate in this area of the country allows you to benefit twelve months a year from such an outdoor living room as part of your Arizona landscape design.

Stucco and masonry stone walls are the essential features that provide privacy and seclusion in your home’s courtyard, accessible from inside the home and also via an ornate iron gate. It is common for the beckoning courtyard to be floored with stone flagging or pavers and a walkway of the same material to lead from the driveway or patio to the entrance to this outdoor room. Seeking relief from the intense desert sun is something all Arizona residents desire. Without prevalent large trees for shade, the ramada presents the perfect solution for instant relief from the heat of the sun.

In most areas of the USA, a flat, open shade roof structure popular on the patio is called a pergola. The slats in the roof of a pergola will always be board lumber that can provide light to heavy shade depending on the width of spacing between each span and the direction the roof boards are running in. The trellis ramada is also a flat, open shade roof structure found in Spanish architecture regions of the southwestern US and in Mexico. The lines of the traditional pergola are too lightweight for adobe style homes. The ramada offers the same benefit in the right design style to compliment the Arizona landscape design and homes.

Shade from your courtyard ramada is lovely, but adding the cooling effects of water features to your courtyard in the form of a fountain is even better. Not only does the stone paving floor and moving water give you the benefit of a greatly reduced outdoor temperature, the sound of running water is relaxing and refreshing. Water features also provide humans with increased levels of serotonin which instantly elevates anyone’s mood. The faster the courtyard fountain runs and the more water that is contained in the pool or pond, the higher the levels of serotonin are released into the shaded air for your personal emotional benefit.

Centrally located or tucked into a corner, the courtyard water feature can be designed as a fountain or small watergarden pond. These cooling, soothing additions to courtyard design can be constructed from tile, or masonry installed cut stone and natural stone shapes. To soften the look of the enfolding hardscaping found in stone paving, and masonry elements like stone and stucco walls and fountains, lush Arizona courtyards will feature many beautiful plants in a pleasing landscape design. Some courtyard plants will be there for foliage interest and others will lend the color and interest of flowers. Good attention must be used to select the right plants for the sunnier spots and those that love shade where necessary.

Softening the courtyard walls can be done both on the outside and the inside to create a more inviting outdoor room to enhance your lifestyle. Vibrant blooms of Bougainvillea, Lady Banks Roses, Snail Vine, Morning Glories and more provide your courtyard setting with reds, pinks, purples and yellow cascade framing. Perennials, grasses and low growing shrubs perfectly suited for less sun in Arizona landscape design will also be part of the well appointed secluded courtyard. Such a cooling atmosphere will quickly become your family and friend’s favorite gathering place in the hotter months of the year.


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