COURTYARDS COMING BACK
The ‘original outdoor room’ becoming popular in homes
The trend toward outdoor living, which uses comfy seating, bright rugs and weatherproof art to extend the alfresco season at home, is bringing new attention to a centuries-old architectural feature: the courtyard.
“It’s the original outdoor room,” said Philip Weddle, principal architect of Weddle Gilmore Black Rock Studio in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Courtyards are as much about enriching the indoor spaces as creating amazing outdoor spaces. That blurring of the boundary between indoors and out makes the experience of each space richer.”
Courtyards — a staple in Roman, Middle Eastern and ancient Chinese architecture — are becoming popular in homes throughout the United States, builders and architects say.
As they have for thousands of years, courtyards offer a safe and private area for families and guests to gather. In urban areas, especially, such secluded outdoor space is rare. Courtyards increase the amount of living space in a home. And when designed right, they can create a cooling retreat in warm climates.
Improvements in retractable glass walls and sliding doors have helped make them more feasible.
“That technology has really improved over the last decade,” Weddle said. “It really does allow you to open
This entry courtyard is located in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Plantings and paving stones in a front courtyard can reduce the amount of water-guzzling lawn.
This front gravel courtyard in Dallas has a boulder water feature.