Courtyards — The Outdoor Version of “Small is the new big.”


The cover of a House Beautiful magazine on the table next to me asks “Is small the new big?”.

If I say yes, can we all agree on 40 being the new 30?

I was led from said magazine to the website,, where I stumbled upon this picture. I usually flip through the pictures pretty fast waiting for something to jump out and give me pause, which this one did.

It was the vines on the wall that got me. Hello.

I’ve always wanted vines like that. Isn’t that incredible looking? Can I do that in Florida?

Courtyards Rock

Once I stopped staring at the vines on the wall, I noticed the rest of the courtyard. I did a brick floor like this a few years back on the otherwise wasted side yard of a home. It turned out fantastic and I feel the same way about the floor in the picture. (notice that this brick uses thick grout joints like a brick wall)

The fountains, the cool little awning roof over the door, the wrought-iron hinges on the working shutters…it all just works. It creates a secluded little outdoor room that becomes every bit a part of your home as any other room. Admittedly, I’m a Florida boy, but my thought is that the addition of a firepit, chimenea, or other heat source makes it workable for at least three seasons almost anywhere.

I’ll be on the lookout for more cool courtyards. My guess is they’ll be easier and easier to find as the “small is the new big” movement rolls on.


  1. Amy says

    I am with you! I love that look. I was in Paris last year and those vines are on everything. I told my husband (a carpenter at heart) that I intended on growing them all over our house. So he then started pointed out all the damage they do to the exterior of home we came across the rest of our trip…what a party pooper ;)!

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