The courtyard refers to an area surrounded by the walls of an edifice. It does not have a roof and is open to the sky. The courtyard can be found in buildings, offices and some houses as well. In simple terms, it is a private open space that can be used in many ways.
Size of the Courtyard
The dimensions vary, as the courtyard dimensions are often proportional to the structure that surrounds it. There are courtyards measuring 200 sq m, and 18 m x 9 m wide. Other courtyards are much bigger. There are also some that are compact.
Aside from the available space, the purpose will determine its size as well. The Great Court at Trinity College, Cambridge covers an area of 1.8 acres (7,300 square meters). The south is 87.8 m while the west is 105.2 m. The north is 78.3 m and the east is 99.4 m. It is the biggest enclosed court in the European continent.
Function of Courtyards
The oldest courtyards found date back to 3000 BC. These were built in China and Iran. Even then, the size of the courtyard varied. Historically, the courtyard served various purposes. They ranged from storing animals, gardening, sleeping and cooking.
Courtyard homes can be found in many countries around the world with some variations. Its popularity is understandable; it provides security, privacy, fresh air and light.
Today, courtyards can provide a safe place to play in. Even if the place isn’t that big, it can provide people a place of privacy and rest. The courtyard is also used by architects as shared outdoor space for many homes.
For example, a courtyard can be surrounded by 10 houses. This gives the homeowners a park-like venue for rest and recreation. Courtyards can be built in the building while others are in the garden.
Designing a Courtyard
If the size of the courtyard permits, you can plant a small growing tree to serve as a natural roof. Putting lighting on the tree at night will provide illumination in the evenings. An alternative to trees are plants and flowers.
Just make sure they don’t take up too much space. It also helps if you stick to a single theme so everything looks coherent. As much as possible the courtyard should match or complement the house architectural design.
Large pots are used for courtyard space definition. You can do the same with statues and sculpture. If there is room, grow a small garden. You should position the chairs and other furniture where they don’t get in the way.
Various objects can be used as a focal point including a fountain, plants or statue. Some people also use an outdoor carpet. Don’t get carried away though; too many furniture will clog the courtyard. When you are done, examine it from various angles to see how it looks.
The size of the courtyard need not be a hindrance. All it takes is the proper arrangement of the furniture and plants. Because many people now see the benefit of these courtyards, more and more are being developed.