Small Courtyard Garden Ideas

Just because the courtyard garden is small does not mean you can't create an inviting space filled with favorite plants and other outdoor accessories. As an outdoor room within the garden, the courtyard is a space to bring in color and texture as well as function and form. Small courtyard gardens require small-scale items to ensure the space remains uncluttered and tidy. To keep the space looking open, sketch out a blueprint to refer to throughout the project.

Water Feature

A water feature brings a trickling, soothing sound to a small courtyard garden and provides a supply of water to butterflies and birds, attracting them into the space. Made from a wide variety of materials including, stone, metal and terra cotta, water features come in many sizes to fit into a small space without overpowering the garden. To create a small-scale water feature, nestle a small container fountain within the courtyard. Container fountains won't overpower a small space but provide a huge design impact. They come in a wide range of colors and shapes to fit the style of the garden and home. When tucked over a bed of river rocks, the cascading water moistens the rocks below to provide a glistening display to the courtyard.

Unthirsty Plants

Nothing helps fill out a courtyard and bring in color like plants and flowers. Their rich texture and wide range of sizes and shapes creates endless possibilities within a small courtyard. To keep the space looking open, don't cram too many plants within the garden. In fact, keep the plants along the perimeter of the garden to create an open space within for outdoor features like a water fountain. For a low maintenance and unfussy design, plant drought-tolerant plants like coneflowers, black-eyed Susan and zinnia. All have the ability to withstand periods of limited moisture yet produce masses of blooms beginning in early summer to last until the first frost. When planted around a courtyard, a space that receives a lot of sun during the day, they help to cut down on the amount of water needed but provide a huge impact to the courtyard.

Outdoor Patio

Bring outdoor living to the small courtyard by adding a set of outdoor patio furniture. Patio furniture comes in a wide range of materials including, metal, wood and plastic to fit into any style of courtyard. A set of chaise lounges or small bistro chair and table tucked into the corner of the courtyard creates the ultimate spot for relaxing without taking up a lot of space. A metal or wood bench tucked within the courtyard garden can double as a makeshift day bed to use for catnaps and watching the garden grow.

Keywords: small courtyard ideas, water feature, drought-tolerant plants, outdoor patio

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.