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Before & After: A Courtyard Garden

February 8th, 2013 | Posted in Before & After, Garden Plans | 0 Comments |

Court(yard) Drama

A courtyard garden in the woods of Excelsior, Minnesota

This home had the benefit of an existing, relatively large courtyard garden. Having this kind of ready-made space made the task of enhancing this outdoor retreat a welcome opportunity. The courtyard is surrounded by the house on three sides and at the entry a solid wooden fence and gate. The original paving was concrete aggregate, garden beds were pushed up against the house, and the wooden fence needed to be replaced. There was additional space available to make the courtyard larger, eliminating a small lawn.

The design objective of the project was to create an elegant, restrained courtyard plan with high-impact garden style, but with minimal plantings and maintenance. An overall neutral color palette in keeping with the house reinforces a sense of calm. Natural-shaped and cut bluestone was used for paving. A formal geometric boxwood parterre, and fountain alcove provide the main visual interest. The new fence was a custom design, requiring drawings approved by the neighborhood association. Drip irrigation was installed for in-ground plantings as well as for the large pots in the parterre. The area has frequent visits by plant browsing deer— expanding the enclosed garden area opened up more variety in plant selections.

As one enters the courtyard the sound of water bubbles up playfully from the new fountain setting the tone in this cool, calm courtyard of bluestone and green geometric shapes.

Courtyard Garden Design

Courtyard Garden Plan

The new fence and entry were extended to increase the courtyard size.


garden gate  Alphabetmoss

The original pathway to the main door was obstructed by random garden beds.

A custom trellis was installed to screen the kitchen entry.

The new layout of the courtyard allows flow on both sides of the garden and provides a cover from the weather when needed.

The fountain alcove with newly planted shade perennials.

Outside the court a trio of spring blooming cercis canadensis (Red Bud) set in gravel.