Modern courtyard garden design


Good Manors Pools + Gardens have turned this small terrace courtyard into a modern urban oasis.

A courtyard garden can have just about everything a larger outdoor space can have … if you call in a professional designer. This rear courtyard, attached to a renovated three-storey terrace house, was designed by Raoul van de Laak of Good Manors Pools + Gardens.

The brief was to open up the kitchen and connect it with the garden, in the process bringing as much natural light as possible into the house. Indoor and outdoor floor levels were to be the same, there needed to be an outdoor living area that could be used in summer and winter, and there had to be privacy from a nearby apartment building and neighbouring houses.

The modern-classic design relies on a limited palette of materials. The flooring is of no-maintenance polished concrete, the deck and timber benches are of white beech, and the streamlined pergolas and bifold doors are of steel and glass.

The pergola off the kitchen creates an atrium-style gallery at the side of the house. To punctuate this space, a large painting hangs on the wall. The pergola in the rear garden sits above the lounge area and dining table and has an automatic sunshade to block out the northwest sun.

Covered in comfy cushions, the white beech lounge is the best spot in the garden for weekend relaxation. It is complemented by the white beech rollable spa cover, which doubles as a day bed. To connect spa and lounge areas, a vertical sandstone flagging feature wall stretches behind both spaces. The sandstone was laid at different depths to create a unique wall that provides visual interest and textural variation.

The plants, a mix of the tropical and the architectural, include a large clump of giant bird of paradise and a large planting of Bangalow palms, underplanted with Golden Cane palms and philodendron, to keep prying eyes at bay. Along the other side of the courtyard is a row of black bamboo and a flourishing expanse of star jasmine on top of the wall, also for privacy.

The finishing touch is the lighting scheme, which includes lights with dimmers in the dining and lounge areas.

For more information

Good Manors Pools + Gardens

32 Halloran Street, Lilyfield NSW 2040

Phone (02) 9818 3377


Photography by Brigid Arnott

Originally from Outdoor Design and Living magazine, Volume 26

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