Monday, April 11, 2011

The Courtyard

I haven’t decided what direction the back covered porch is going to take.  I discussed that dilemma in a post a few days ago.  Regardless of whether it becomes an intimate dining area or a place to lounge I cannot avoid the real gorilla in the room – or in this case the gorilla in the courtyard.  These photos are of the area around the pool.  We call it The Courtyard.  You can just call it a barren landscape. 

The renovation on the house was supposed to take one year and we had a set budget.  Of course, it took over two years and the budget more than doubled, successfully bleeding us dry!  Due to the position of the new addition, the contractor used The Courtyard as his debris dumping ground.  By the end of the project every last living thing was smashed to death and we were left with a giant Georgia red clay mud hole.  Also, we had to have some major landscaping done on the side of the house, just to get to the new back door.  So, considering that I was still hemorrhaging money from every orifice and was raw from having my bank account brutally raped, having more major landscaping done around the pool was (and still is) out of the question. 

I managed to get the dumpsters of trash hauled off, had the area graded and added a layer of sand and then several inches of pea gravel and that’s how it remains today.  Long term I want to have some type of shade structure built.  It’s too damn hot to hang out there now unless you plan on cooking yourself like a roasted chicken.  I also would like to knock open some of that fence, put in some type of wow gate and be able to open the entire space up to the acres of fields which stretch out beyond the house.  Hell, for that matter I’d like to move the pool and add a southern Greek temple pool house.  But, that isn’t going to happen any time soon!  So until then, typically of how we generally proceed, we’ll take it in smaller stages hopefully working towards an ultimate result.  This time I’m trying to at least have a plan before I rush out and do anything.  I don’t want to fork out the cash for a 12 foot dining table, and then in a year realize I really needed outdoor seating.  

Ideas please.

Here are a few photos of some interesting ways to fill large flat spaces. Inspiration.


  1. it has a very zen look to it now. what about one of those tent pavillions like in the picture with potted plants? honestly, from where i sit it doesn't look bad at all.


  2. It's hard to get a grasp on the entire space and how it relates to the house. From I can tell the grill sits behind the chaise lounges but with quite a deal of distance in between. This seems the logical place for a structure to sit...between food and fun. It also seems you have an affinity for formal balance. I think a good landscaping job could dramatically change this space with rows of hedge or an allee that draw you from the house to the pool area.

    I do long to see the open space beyond the lattice.

    Love the place with the water lily ponds. That's lovely.

  3. ahhhh, kindred spirit, thank you for my all time favorite garden snap, long missing; the courtyard with the raised bed, perfectly trimmed trees against khaki walls....perfection.

    i concur w/urban cottage; difficult to see enough to be very helpful, just enough to get inspired. judging from your inspirations; olive trees coming through the pea gravel, lavender would go crazy here, creeping thyme, planted urns and empty olive jars............
    but allowing for a future sitting area from that hot georgia sun

  4. Based on the pictures, the space looks large enough to accommodate two shade structures; one near the house for grilling and entertaining, and one closer to the pool for relaxing after a refreshing dip. You could totally do a pergola with round Greek columns, large urns overflowing with vegetation (thrill/fill/spill), and pavers spaced far enough apart to allow grass to grow between them. For architectural interest, a couple of strategically placed olive trees with good lighting (to really make them pop at night). Hope to see updates! Good luck!


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