The shape of courtyards to come

Planning out the courtyard

A while back, you may have caught a view of the inner porch (or half of it, rather) which is part of the courtyard area created by the ‘U’ configuration of our house:

Buddha statue on the courtyard porch

This is the other half:

The other half of the inner porch

Our 1970s house was designed by the wheelchair-using husband in the couple who previously owned the place. I believe that a credentialed architect also worked on the design. Instead of having a traditional front/back orientation, the house folds in on itself to create a three-sided inner yard area. A newly rebuilt south fence provides a fourth wall and privacy for both us and our neighbors on that side:

Fence built by Austin Brothers

Three doors in the house open onto the porch here (from the ‘front room,’ the dining room/hallway, and the main bedroom), and the porch itself leads to a grassy courtyard. The privacy of the space is enjoyable, but the landscaping doesn’t much feel like us. Even worse – in this specific area and in the overall yard – the grassy lawn is inappropriate for the warmer, drier Texas climate. It is Margaret’s intention to do away with as much grass as possible in a staged re-landscaping / hardscaping effort. She has been planning out a ground cover / succulent / perennial scheme with a landscaper for the entire yard, but recent thoughts of establishing an outdoor enclosure (catio) for the enjoyment of our cats prompted her to focus on the courtyard area. Below is her initial schematic; she begs apology for her rusty Vectorworks skills.

Margaret's initial schematic of the proposed courtyard

The area between the posts and the house proper will be screened (half-inch hardware cloth, actually) into two separate catio areas on left and right, with an entry from the house to the courtyard between them. That second concrete pad, which is not attached to the house structure, will be removed in favor of new hardscaping, decking step, and ground cover.

I did lobby (gently) for a move expansive catio concept, but Margaret reminded me (also gently) that we two humans live here as well, lol.

Anyway! More to come, I’m sure, as plans advance.

  • FreeRange Pamela

    This looks gorgeous! Came across your site via the Thesis gallery, and, as a fellow Austinite, I couldn’t resist checking it out. Hope the project is coming along well!