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Article Title:
The Modern Courtyard Garden

Article Description:
The courtyard garden can be the perfect haven of 
peace in an otherwise stressful and hectic world.

Additional Article Information:
750 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Mar  2 16:52:51 EST 2006

Written By:     Annabel Darvid
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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The Modern Courtyard Garden
Copyright © 2006 Annabel Darvid
Courtyard Garden Project

The courtyard garden can be the perfect haven of peace in an 
otherwise stressful and hectic world.  These gardens are almost 
always small scale - created in the available space behind a 
smaller house or a city center home, and this is their biggest 

In fact their limited physical expanse can place them above 
larger, rambling and out of control gardens.  This is because for 
many busy modern people it is almost impossible to keep on top of 
the basic chores around a large garden. This means that sitting 
out in such a garden is not generally the relaxing experience we 
hope for - all you can see is the things that need doing!  Some 
people can hire in a gardener to keep the plot looking nice, but 
then we lose an essential connection with our gardens.

A courtyard garden on the other hand is manageable, and usually 
pretty low maintenance.  This means that you can spend time 
really enjoying the space without guilt or worry...  So this 
article, unlike many others, urges you to see the courtyard 
garden as an ideal garden, not as a poor substitute for a couple 
of acres.

And there is one further great advantage to a courtyard garden 
for most people - you can take care of the design yourself.  This 
is really great, because you will build a garden that is really 
yours, that reflects your design ideas and your personality. 
It's not a daunting scale and you can always change anything that 
doesn't work.  Pretty soon you will have a garden that has grown 
with you, which is just what gardens are all about.

So how do you get started with a courtyard garden?  There are 
some basic rules that will help guide your thinking. First of 
all remember that it is a small space, and don't try to fit in 
everything that you have ever wanted in a garden.

In a courtyard garden less is quite often more.  This means a few 
carefully chosen plants and flowers work much more effectively 
than a whole host of plants each of which is lovely on its own. 
The human eye generally doesn't like a big mess of color.  This 
is why courtyard and other smaller space gardens sometimes go 
with a limited palate of colors when flowers are chosen.  Plenty 
of green foliage plants give year round color and structure and 
then brightness might simply come in yellows and reds.  But if 
you really love the explosion of color provided by flowers, then 
plant them - after all nature doesn't differentiate by color.

This general guidance on planting also applies to the hard 
landscaping - your choice of paint and decoration.  Usually dark 
colors will make a small space seem claustrophobic, which is not 
what you want in a garden.  If you are at a loss, start out with 
white on the courtyard walls - it's easy enough to change colors 
when your ideas are clearer. And go easy on the decorative 
features - can the place really stand more than one sculpture 
or water feature?

Another good trick that you'll see often used is to try and 
extend the courtyard garden into the adjacent room.  for example 
if the adjoining room has a wooden floor, you might choose to 
deck the courtyard, giving a nice feeling of size.  Of course 
this is only a good idea if you want to link your inside and 
outside space - not everyone does!

Like all rules, they are made to be broken, but usually this is 
best attempted after you've gained a little experience! One way 
to gain experience without building lots of courtyard gardens 
yourself, is to look at lots of others with a critical eye.  This 
is always best done in person - a garden never looks the same in 
a photo (many look better!), but illustrated magazine and book 
articles are really helpful.  When you see a garden ask some 
basic questions like 'do I like it?' - this question is often 
forgotten - and 'why do I like it?'.

Then begin to dissect how the garden has been put together; the 
successful elements and the failed parts - light, colors, choice 
of plants, sculptural pieces...  Figure out how they fit, what 
their effect is and so on.  And look at what has been missed 
out!  Pretty soon you'll be thinking of yourself as a very 
knowledgeable courtyard garden designer and all your friends 
will be coming to you for advice. 

Author Annabel Darvid has a passion for gardening and courtyard 
gardens in particular. Her new site, <a 
href="";>Courtyard Garden Project</a>, 
contains plenty of inspiration for anyone building a Courtyard 



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