English courtyards are often an enclosed area which is walled within your property. They are some of the most beautiful additions you can make to your home and can add much longed for privacy to gardens. Historically, courtyards were first constructed within properties in Iran and China. The earliest courtyards date back as far as 3000BC.
At first they were used within homes, before their design was altered slightly to become a home extension instead. Courtyards have been through a number of design changes since their creation was first introduced. They are now often found in urban areas, where houses can be crowded from all sides, with small gardens attached to their rear.
The courtyards that we are familiar with today are garden spaces that are enclosed within three or four walls and are generally fully open at their top. The walls provide protection from the wind and also reduce the amount of glaring sunlight that is frequently present during the summer season. Of course the walls also add security to your home.
However there are downsides to having such an enclosed garden. Light is limited in a courtyard garden, especially where walls are particularly high. So if you are hoping to add a number of plants or shrubs to your garden, be sure to check their climate requirements, as some plants can be extremely sensitive to external surroundings. Replacing them could take a long time and may end up costing you a large amount of money to do so.
Courtyards can be covered too, at least partially - not by brick but by glass or acrylic equivalents. So if you want to extend your home, but don't want to add something as enclosed as a conservatory, you can add a courtyard. They are especially suited to homes that only have a small portion of garden space available. Instead of having a lawn within the walls you can have small sections of flower beds and paved areas instead.
If your garden is large you can incorporate a lawn and paved area within your courtyard. Larger courtyards are excellent locations for entertaining guest's day or night; adding one to your English home will extend the portions of the year that you can use your outside space.