Refresh Your Courtyard

Have you spring-cleaned your courtyard yet?  Spring is a great time to garden, see things afresh and take stock of what is working and what’s not.  The great thing about a courtyard is the speed in which transformations can take place.  It is literally a weekend’s job in most cases, so think about a few of these ideas to revitalise your outdoor space.  And for renters, remember some of these elements can also be packed up and moved if you change abodes.

Clean – before you get to work, give everything a good clean.  Water blast paving, weed, remove cobwebs and freshen paintwork with some sugar soap of a fresh coat  Remove dead foliage from plants, trim overgrown shrubs back and then start your rearrange without the conforms of your previous design, seeing each space with fresh eyes.

Colour – We are all motivated by colour.  It can calm, inspire, and activate us.  Choose a colour that’s going to bring you joy and make it a feature, repeating it with flowers, pots, soft furnishings and so on.  You may choose to add a contrasting colour or complementary colour to build on the scheme.

Climbers – Walls in courtyards are so important.  They can dominate the space and make one feel confined, or they can add to the texture of the space and be an extra plane for plants to grow on.  Choosing a climbing plant can add colour from foliage and flowers, perfume and seasonal changes.  Some climbers will self-cling (like Boston ivy or creeping fig), whilst others need a trellis of some sort on which to twine.  Plants also vary in their growing conditions; some classic pairings are star jasmine or English Ivy for the shade, and bougainvillea or climbing roses for the sun.  Make sure you take note of how much sunshine your wall/s get at different times of the day before talking to us about what might work best for your place.  If you’re planning a ‘garden to go’, plant your choices in pots with trellises.

Carpets – ok, it’s outside and we won’t really have a carpet as such, but floor covering treatments, be it concrete pavers or timber decking, really effect the feel and practicality of your courtyard.  Make sure you prioritise non-slip, as water is going to affect your material outside in a short time frame.  Outdoor rugs can add pops of colour, and other floor treatments like pebbles, mulch and living ground covers – think native violets, mondo grass, ground hugging herbs and prostrate grevilleas – are all going to help soften the look, much like a floor rug does inside your home.

Containers – Our super-light range of containers are perfect for courtyards (and balconies) especially if weight is an issue.  Pick a colour that won’t date, as pots should be a long lasting purchase.  Soft greys are a safe bet, as their natural concrete tone give them a timeless look.  You can always add touches of colour with the occasional feature pot.  Remember that grouping pots can be very effective, but large pots tend to be easier to care for plant, so careful selection and plant matching is key.  Also, remember some plants have special growing media needs, which is easy in pots as you can get tailored potting mixes for specialty plants, like Azalea and Camellia mix, Cacti and Succulent mix, Orchid mix and so on.

Character – This is where your creativity can inform your courtyard and make it your own.  Adding op shop finds with the latest looks can add a patina to your courtyard, but remember it’s about having the right balance between comfort and clutter, clear space and quirkiness.