See how a harsh and chilly, concrete-walled courtyard became a warm and inviting indoor-outdoor room, clothed in green.
The two-storey courtyard of this inner city townhouse risked being a chilly concrete echo chamber. The challenge was to soften its towering walls of concrete, and make the space friendly, cosy, welcoming and private.
To link the upper and lower levels we started with a feature screen of laser cut gold aluminium that is 6m tall, running the full height of the wall. It works like a super-scaled tapestry of a vaguely floral, but not florid, pattern, warming the whole space and giving it a visual unity. Alongside it, a fiddle-leaf fig explodes out of a large, 1m diameter LWC Bullet Pot, whose edges are softened by a tumble of rhispalis. The fig has enough space andlight to get up high and together these two features give scale to the overall design.
We chose a range of concrete planters for variety within what is a fairly minimalist scheme and added antique brass planters. These offer a textural contrast and their soft warmth echoes the tones of the screen.
Layers of easy-care planting smudge the hard edges of the architecture and clothe all that concrete in green. Among the green you can see the hands of rhapis palms, the tongued-fronds of zamia and the fat spears of sanseveria.
Hanging at staggered heights from the arch of wooden slats are hand-thrown ceramic pots made for Garden Life by Deb Taylor of Claypool. These are planted with a form of the climbing cactus, epiphyllum, which does very well in a hanging container. The fronds of the cactus fringe and frame the views of the street.
An outdoor rug by Armadillo gives a tactile warmth to the floor that invites bare feet, and we chose Australian-made furniture by Tait Outdoor which is comfortable, lightweight and flexible, to allow for different uses.
The result is a very functional and relaxing space that subtly offers privacy without blocking light and views, and which maximises the fun to be had in an indoor-outdoor living space.