Garden, Gardens

Create the ultimate courtyard garden

As populations grow and water resources lessen, it makes sense to say goodbye to sprawling lawns in favour of smaller, more practical courtyard gardens. They're cheaper, easier to maintain and water-wise. Together with Corobrik, we show you how to create the ultimate greened-up courtyard.

pave the way

courtyardImage credit: Eaglestone Landscape Design

Before you start planting, you'll have to pave your courtyard. Corobrik's clay brick pavers provide both beauty and durability underfoot. With great practicality, aesthetic appeal and an extensive palette of colours and textures, the clay pavers offer an excellent selection for all tastes and lifestyles. Choose the Onyx Piazzo paver for a more sophisticated and moody look, while the Champagne paver helps to make a small area appear more spacious. If you're looking for something more out of the ordinary, Corobrik also offers special-shaped pavers that are great for creating unusual effects. When paving, there are two things to keep in mind. Firstly, be aware of the grouting: in a small area, the lines that grouting forms can overwhelm the rest of the space. Go one shade lighter than your paving and recess it slightly to avoid it becoming too dominant. Secondly, pay attention to how the paving is laid: in a long, thin courtyard, pavers laid across the garden will make it look wider.

potted plants

Image credit: Ashley van Dyke

Now it's time to fill your courtyard with life. Potted plants are great for saving water while also being versatile and fun to play around with. Think of your courtyard as a room inside the house, and decorate as usual. Create structure in the space by varying the size of your pots and playing with shape and colour. Be aware of filling up your courtyard with too many pots as this may make it look like a storage area. Potted plants can also be used to highlight the usable space in the courtyard. Style pots along the edges of the space, and group larger plants in the corners to create visual interest.

shade-lovers

Image credit: Katherine Edmonds Garden Design

A courtyard is more likely than not to have a preponderance of shade. Whether it's surrounded by trees or overshadowed by walls, it's important to choose plants that will thrive out of the sun. The plectranthus species offers rich colours and lush foliage while the traditional arum lily loves shady and damp spots – while the plant is dormant in the summer, it will provide a beautiful splash of white in winter. Large-leafed plants, such as delicious monsters, hydrangeas and bromeliads lend a lush feel that make a small courtyard garden feel like a magical forest. The indigenous ribbon bush flowers abundantly in autumn, providing a splash of colour in the cooler months. For a delicate touch, plant a few streptocarpuses. Their bright pink, purple and white blooms are elegant and dainty – perfect for pots or at the front of a garden bed. No courtyard is complete without a gorgeous climber, and star jasmine ticks this box. Dark green leaves, white flowers and an intoxicating scent is paired with a love for shade, making this plant the ultimate choice. And don't forget to add in a few small trees to give your space variety and protect plants from any harsh sun. The pompon tree, which is indigenous to South Africa, offers a magnificent display of colour in summer and doesn't grow too tall.