Seclusion

A small garden is transformed into a private courtyard for entertaining
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View of this modern home

An outdoor entertaining area that connects seamlessly with a home's interior is easily achieved when the garden opens directly off the house. But when the terrain slopes away and sits on a level below the house, creating an intimate, accessible courtyard is more difficult.

The home featured on these pages was a case in point. Seeking a design solution, the owners approached landscape designer Scott Brown, who had laid out their front garden several years ago.

"The existing area sloped away from the base of the house and had been divided into several different levels, each paved in bricks. The levels were more like wide stairs, and none seemed large enough to use."


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View of this outdoor living area

Some of these steps were levelled to create a courtyard and paved with large cream-coloured slabs of stone, while planter boxes were built around the edges to frame the space. Capped in grey, the planter boxes add colour contrast and a modern element.

The green barge boards on the base of the house were removed and replaced with cement sheets painted cream so as not to dominate the courtyard. The garage wall opposite the space was rendered for the same reason.

Brown says the raised planter boxes create a sense of intimacy in the courtyard and provide additional seating when necessary. The boxes also make garden maintenance easier.

View of this outdoor living area backyard, courtyard, outdoor furniture, outdoor structure, patio, property, table, yard, black
View of this outdoor living area

To connect the two levels, the original steps which had obtrusive timber balusters were rebuilt with a timber top and wire railings.

"Providing both a practical and visual link between the two levels, the new stairway helps to eliminate any feeling of isolation," says the landscape designer.

A water feature, set against the garage wall, has been designed so the water gently cascades over layers of randomly placed slate. Brown says a free-flowing water sculpture would have echoed too much in this high-walled courtyard.

Aug 30, 2005

Credit list

Pool designer
Scott Brown Landscape Design
Courtyard, paving, pool surround
Urban Stone (limestone reef)
Pergola
Hardie columns with steel beam posts and timber beams
Glass fencing
Semi-frameless glass from Techmart
Outdoor furniture
Rietmans Concrete Products
Walls, hard landscaping
Rendered masonry, capped with Urban Stone
Lighting
Lumascape
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