When we purchased our townhouse, the courtyard was a sad, neglected wasteland. In a 3x4m area, it had three different fences and four different ground surfaces… and not a single living thing.

Our mission? We really wanted to make the most of the courtyard as an entertaining space, so a barbecue and big table were essentials, and we also desired a bit more privacy. Despite my shameful track record with keeping them alive, I really wanted to have a potted herb garden

We initially hired a builder to do the hardscaping, but after he pulled out with a serious back injury mid-way through, The Man (with help from his super-handy dad) bravely took up the challenge of completing it. Didn’t they do a fantastic job on the paving and retaining wall? It was crying out for a focal point (not that the feature clothesline wasn’t soo appealing). We found the perfect thing at a local antique store and added a mirror behind it to increase the sense of space and light. I highly recommend bamboo screening for an instant and cheap disguise for ugly fences. Hardy plants were a must for a complete novice gardener in a drought-affected climate. Because it’s in such a small space, we limited the colour palette to interesting foliage rather than colourful flowers. The slab table was way out of our budget, until the shopkeeper offered us 50% off because of a small chip! I love the way the designer (read: knockoff) Panton chairs make it light and contemporary.

It was a lot of work, but it is now such a pleasant space to spend time with friends and it is so lovely to look out upon from the kitchen window.


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