Courtyards are wonderful areas to create intimate settings for dining and relaxation. Depending on the size of your courtyard, you can include a table and a seating area, or place benches around the perimeter of a small courtyard space. Add a fountain, plants and specialty lighting to decorate an elegant and soothing destination for visual appeal and entertaining.
Decorate your small courtyard with a large, three-tiered mosaic fountain in the center of the space. Place concrete or wooden benches around the perimeter for seating, and cover the floor with flagstone or tile. Add soft lighting from lanterns and small, solar spotlights focused on trees and flowers that grow in containers beside and behind the benches. Point spotlights at your mosaic fountain from several different angles. Create your own mosaic fountain with bits of broken ceramics and small glass tiles glued to the concrete surface with thinset mortar. Create a menagerie of color with no discernible pattern, or follow a template that you trace onto the concrete. After the thinset dries, add grout and grout sealer to complete your mosaic.
Medium-sized courtyards may be large enough for an intimate dining area, such as a wrought-iron table for two, as well as an area to relax in with one or two lounge chairs and a small table in-between. Add plants along the borders of the courtyard in decorative containers that coordinate with your wrought-iron furniture. Place a small fountain in one corner with focused solar lighting. Mix pillar candles and solar lanterns to create an atmosphere of peace and solitude in the evening.
Take advantage of the space in a large courtyard to combine several different elements similar to those in a backyard patio. Place a large, tiered fountain in the center, with a dining area set up on one side, and a lounge area set up on the other. The fountain in the center will separate the two spaces while being part of both. A large, wrought-iron table for four will give you options for entertaining, and a fire pit in the center of four comfortable chairs will add another design element to your courtyard. Incorporate an arbor along the entrance and plant flowering vines like clematis or wisteria for color and privacy. You can also plant flowering vines along any of the walls in your courtyard to create a more intimate setting, even in a large space. Select lighting as you would in a small or medium-sized courtyard. Plants and solar lights along the borders, solar lanterns hanging from shepherd's hooks and twinkle lights in the trees will help create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your courtyard.
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