Define and Capture Your Space- After segmenting the courtyard to allow for unique areas of interest, you will be able to design each area of your courtyard, keeping your goals in mind, particularly creating a sense of intrigue and incorporating focal points.
Create Focal Points- When you are planning your courtyard garden, allow yourself to be a painter, the "hard scape" to be the canvas and the "soft scape" to be the paint. Reflect your personality with plenty of focal points. Explore and find the treasures you would like to feature in your garden, such as a beautiful sculpture, something special you have from your travels such as a piece of art, a romantic fountain or a unique bench.
The Entry- The entry and pathway through your courtyard should be alluring, drawing you and your guests into the outdoor living experience. Frame your courtyard entry using masonry walls or columns and iron fences complemented with large urns. Plant materials, such as ferns, in urns or large pots create a softened effect. Ornamental grasses and rose vines are excellent plant choices to provide color and texture.
Plant Material- The very fabric of your garden is plant material. Planting herbs makes your garden a comforting place to "live" outdoors. A fresh pinch of mint or the scent of rosemary in the air brings your garden alive. Incorporate blooming seasonal plants that attract butterflies and beautiful birds.
Space and Resources- Elevation changes add a dramatic three-dimensional effect to your courtyard. Dry laid flagstone gives a quaint expression to your pathway, and tile and slate add a more formal look to a terrace. Remember, you want to marry the materials used in the courtyard to the architecture of your home.
Overhead Structures- Including overhead structures can be as simple as a few beams above your favorite bench with flowering vines that emit aromatic fragrances. The use of cast stone columns or a rustic arbor can also help mirror the architecture of a home.
Drainage- If proper irrigation and drainage are not planned for during the construction of a courtyard garden; a bathtub effect could compromise the integrity of your foundation and retain inappropriate levels of moisture. Be sure to discuss your garden drainage plan with your landscape designer.
Landscape Lighting [http://www.completelandsculpture.com/services_lighting.htm] Different lighting techniques will help bring out specific features in your garden. By strategically placing your garden lights, you can add aesthetic value as well as enhance the visual effects. Lighting also allows you to cook, entertain or just relax after dusk in your outdoor living space and provides a security aspect to your entire home.