Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Designing Trends - Courtyards

- Courtyards and Enclosed patios

One of the most forgotten elements in designing a comfortable sitting space always seems to be the sense of enclosure. People have a need and desire to look out and watch their surroundings, but they don’t want to feel like they are the ones being watched – well let’s face it, no one likes to be spied on! The key word here is sense of enclosure –we don’t want to screen off the key views – we want to frame them. So what are the best ways to enclose your patio without losing your views? The use of small walls, accent fencing and shrubs can be combined to form a courtyard or an enclosed patio. That will give you a sense of enclosure without losing key views.

When using small walls to enclose a patio, height is one of the main considerations. You have to take into effect the views you want to keep open and the views you want to screen, but ideally you will want the wall to be at least 18” high to 36” high so the wall could be used as a seat wall as well. Part of the wall or an accent post could be higher but the majority of the wall should fit into this range. This will give you the fame work for an enclosed space and with site specific placement of plants and other elements you are well on your way to enjoying your back patio or entry courtyard.

Accent fences are a great cost effect way to enclose an area and add visual interest to a patio. The accent fence could be a 3’ solid fence or a taller open style fence. The accent fence will take up less space than a wall, but it does not add the extra seating space that a seat wall would. An accent fence could be used in combination with stone columns for an old world look or the fence could have horizontal boards installed in a more modern style – the combination of materials and design styles are almost endless.

Plants are the most organic and cost effect way to enclose a space. Typically we want our hedging to stay between 18”-36” in height so we are able to enclose the area without screening views. Taller plants can be used in site specific locations to screen particular unsightly elements or to help frame views. Plants will also give you more year round interest and can add different textures, colors and fragrance to your outdoor living area.

The material combinations to enclose your patio are almost endless. Contact us today to discuss adding an enclosed patio or entry courtyard to you landscape.

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