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SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL – case study part 2

The rational

This small, sunny courtyard space calls for a modern, simple design both inviting and functional. It is also important that it complements the contemporary interior décor. The key to the success of a space this size is simplicity, proportion, unity and functionality. It is viewed and accessed from the main living room, so the plant material, tones and textures of the space require careful consideration so that the two spaces are visually linked yet clearly defined. The aim is to create a visually dynamic, functional yet restful space that looks great all year round.

The concept

Influenced by modern minimalist influences and with a love for plants with dramatic foliage and form this pared back courtyard design was the result.

(Click image for larger view)

An integral element of the design is the centrally positioned split-level water feature. Water gently slips down a stainless weir into a black tiled, ornamental rill. The relaxing sound of water can also be heard from the interior living spaces. Lights in the water feature also light up the water at night for added drama.

Large format granite pavers with a bush hammered finish add texture and elegance. The neutral grey colour also complements the interior tiles, visually unifying the two spaces. This small but useable space can be used for outdoor entertaining or for contemplative rest and relaxation. An elevated timber boardwalk invites you to views out over the courtyard to the stream and native bush beyond. A long white block, raised planter, planted with Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) softens the large white wall behind, while at the same time the wall highlights its form and colour. The fresh green dainty foliage and striking vertical black stems are reflected in the black ornamental pond below.

The raised timber planter, stained a rich dark mahogany colour is planted with beautiful large Kentia palms (Howea fosteriana) that helps to soften the impact of the neighbor’s apartment wall. Under planted are shade loving ferns and Phoenix roebelenii (Dwarf date palm). Carefully placed subtle lighting highlights the dramatic foliage at night.

The result is a visually stunning, well-balanced, simple yet sophisticated courtyard design.


Sandra Batley of Flourish is a multi award-winning landscape designer based in Auckland. Sandra is passionate about, people, plants and design.

www.flourishgardens.co.nz

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