Imagine having a finished outdoor space that is integrated into your home’s design rather than tacked on after the fact, as a deck or patio may be. Perhaps this space is where you go to start your day with a cup of coffee, practice yoga, or gather with neighbors. It may serve as a buffer between the home and the pool or even house an outdoor kitchen or living room. You’re visualizing a courtyard home, and it’s an architectural style that’s been around for a long time.
The design was heavily used in ancient Rome and throughout the Mediterranean, and evidence of such homes has been found as far back as 3,000 BC in China and India. In the United States, these homes have also been popular in warmer regions for generations, providing a private, sheltered area to enjoy the outdoors, escape the heat or bask in the warm sun on a chilly day.
What Are Courtyard Homes
Courtyard homes feature an open-air courtyard, typically located at the back of the house, around which the home is constructed. Courtyards can also be found at the front of the home, in a side yard or even as a garage entry.
Modern interest in outdoor rooms and eco-friendly living has helped boost the appeal of courtyard homes, even in less temperate climates, primarily because of the great features these homes offer:
- An outdoor refuge
- Enhanced outdoor privacy
- Eco-friendly benefits
- Natural transition for indoor/outdoor living
- Greater opportunity for natural lighting inside the home
- Practical design for multigenerational living or frequent visitors
Dan Sater of Sater Design in Florida specializes in courtyard home designs and noted that they are some of the best-selling home plans on the market today: “Courtyard house plans evoke a casual elegance, with open floor plans that create a fluidity between rooms, both indoor and outdoor.”
More than a Patio
A courtyard is, in the most simplistic of terms, a large patio that is protected from the wind by the walls of the home. But in reality, it is so much more than that. The courtyard is part of the home and the home is designed around it. The courtyard may be enclosed on just three sides or on all four, and a true courtyard home design will provide direct access to the courtyard from multiple rooms of the house. This is different from a patio, which usually only has one point of entry into the house. A courtyard design may offer direct access to the courtyard from several bedrooms or from the bedrooms and the living room or from all of those rooms and the kitchen — it all depends on the floor plan.
Because courtyard homes blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, you may be thinking that they are only suitable for homes located in gorgeous settings. Not true. These designs can be found all over the world in all sorts of settings, from scenic coastal and desert settings to suburban plots and even urban areas. These homes are more about the courtyard feature than they are about the home’s location. Courtyards actually work very well in more populated areas because they offer a bit of outdoor space and privacy that can be hard to come by in other home styles. Even a small courtyard can be outfitted with raised garden beds, a soothing fountain, trellises to support climbing plants or large potted trees, allowing homeowners to create their own private oasis no matter where they live.
Features of Courtyard Style Homes
It should come as no surprise, but courtyard homes are all about the courtyard. You must love the idea of a home that opens to the outdoors from practically every room to appreciate this design. Characteristics of this style include:
Courtyard homes are usually square in shape, designed around the centrally located courtyard.
Courtyard homes are not very deep from the exterior wall to the courtyard, traditionally only one room’s length. This allows for cross-ventilation from one side of the home to the other.
Open Air Courtyard
Courtyards do not usually have a roof, but may have netting or screening to protect homeowners from insects and falling leaves or debris.
Lots of Windows
Windows and sliding glass doors feature prominently on the walls adjacent to the courtyard. This supports airflow and allows easy access to the outdoor area both physically and visually.
Main Room Location
The main rooms and living areas are located adjacent to the courtyard. Each of these rooms will typically have access to the courtyard.
Long Hallways and Corridors
Long hallways and corridors are used to link the main rooms and different sections of the home together. They are located on the opposite side of the room from the courtyard.
Many courtyard homes have different “wings” to the house. The middle section may be open to communal living areas while a wing to one side may house the family bedrooms and a wing to the other side may be guest quarters.
Explore Courtyard Home Designs at NewHomeSource
Courtyard homes are a versatile home design that work equally as well for families as they do for singles and couples, or for those who love to entertain versus those who prefer their own private retreat. Depending on its layout, a courtyard home can be an excellent choice for multigenerational living with the grandparents having their own wing with ground-level access to the communal courtyard. And eco-conscious home buyers love the natural lighting, stone flooring and natural ventilation features of the design.
Courtyard homes may just be the perfect home design! Explore courtyard homes and see how modern builders are keeping this ancient home design alive at New Home Source.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.