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Courtyard made pretty help

Hi. I’ve recently bought a mid terraced Victorian townhouse with a small courtyard garden. I’ve been looking at so many different options and I really have hit a brick wall so to speak! :smile: 
Please can someone offer me some ideas :neutral: here’s the brief. 
It’s currently concreted with very old tired paving. It has cute little borders round it which I have begun planting up. My concern is the floor. I really want to change it. So far I’ve considered gravel/small stones, artificial grass and real grass. 
I can’t jet wash the patio as I don’t have an outside tap or access to an indoor tap that can reach or adapt (it’s complicated I’ve tried and even tried a professional company with own water supply. Doesn’t reach!) I am mid terraced on a long road with a small narrow alley at the back with steps up to it so access is tricky! I don’t want a concrete area so not a new patio. I have a dog who currently refuses to go to the toilet out there even though I bought some real grass for the side return. I have garden furniture and I like to sit out in the garden and have friends round (although more than 4 and we could be squished!) the one good thing about it, is it’s south facing! Help. Am I asking the impossible?? 
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  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 698
    Why would you want to change that?
    I think that is a perfect courtyard to complement a victorian terrace. 
    Garden in pots and make sure you carry litter bags when you walk your dog...
    Just another day at the plant...
  • Why would you want to change that?
    I think that is a perfect courtyard to complement a victorian terrace. 
    Garden in pots and make sure you carry litter bags when you walk your dog...
    Thanks yes, I have thought it is quite in keeping but I’ve had a few comments about it being “tired and dull” 
    Ps I always carry litter bags and am a very responsible dog owner :):smile:
  • AngelicantAngelicant CheshirePosts: 102
    edited March 2021
    It's a lovely space. Have you thought about bringing your pots into the middle rather than just around the edges like a Mediterranean courtyard. Maybe lift that big flagstone at the side of the "path" or have a really big pot or raised planter (maybe brick about 2ft tall with a coping stone or deck boards on top that you could sit on) with a statement tree like Olive, Cherry or Acer in it and some spring bulbs and small summer flowering trailing plants around the edges. You then won't notice the rest of the paving so much as all the focus will be on the planter. 
    I am sure you have already tried it but I recommend the old fashioned stiff yard brush and soapy water on the paving. 
    The other alternative I have seen but never tried is painting it then stencilling a tile pattern on to it. 
    Good luck.
  • GreenBeeGreenBee LondonPosts: 9
    I think it is a charming space, and I am sure that as you continue to garden very few people will be looking at the ground.

    A lawn would be difficult to maintain, artificial grass would clash with the charming brickwork and just compete with the real greenery ( and cleaning up a canine accident on it will be a nightmare). If you wanted a pop of colour when entertaining consider an outdoor rug, you can get wonderful variety of patterns and colours made from recycled materials.

    I am sure you will make the best of it, good luck.


  • It's a lovely space. Have you thought about bringing your pots into the middle rather than just around the edges like a Mediterranean courtyard. Maybe lift that big flagstone at the side of the "path" or have a really big pot or raised planter (maybe brick about 2ft tall with a coping stone or deck boards on top that you could sit on) with a statement tree like Olive, Cherry or Acer in it and some spring bulbs and small summer flowering trailing plants around the edges. You then won't notice the rest of the paving so much as all the focus will be on the planter. 
    I am sure you have already tried it but I recommend the old fashioned stiff yard brush and soapy water on the paving. 
    The other alternative I have seen but never tried is painting it then stencilling a tile pattern on to it. 
    Good luck.
    Thank you! Great ideas. You’re right perhaps I should move the pots around, I do have some outdoor furniture to come out too. I love the idea of the statement tree. I’d not thought of that. 
    I haven’t tried cleaning the stones myself, mainly because I don’t have an outside tap but I think I might have to give that a go. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. 
  • GreenBee said:
    I think it is a charming space, and I am sure that as you continue to garden very few people will be looking at the ground.

    A lawn would be difficult to maintain, artificial grass would clash with the charming brickwork and just compete with the real greenery ( and cleaning up a canine accident on it will be a nightmare). If you wanted a pop of colour when entertaining consider an outdoor rug, you can get wonderful variety of patterns and colours made from recycled materials.

    I am sure you will make the best of it, good luck.


    Thank you for replying. Ooh I like that idea of an outdoor rug!! I shall have a look at that. That could solve the problems. You’re right I don’t think artificial grass would like right as it’s too modern and would clash with this little old space. Thank you for taking the time to reply. 
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    It is a very nice space.

    Shame you cant get a jet wash on it because it’s only really the floor surface that needs work.  There are soaps you can apply and leave, then brush off but I couldn’t say how good a finish you’ll get.

    Ideally I’d suggest replacing with new flagstones - not cheap but could be quite dramatic. Or having the pointing repaired on the existing.

    At the end of the day you’ve always got the problem of cleaning the surface so that needs to be resolved first I think.

    Then if freshening up is your goal, some urban slate paint for the door and trellis. But not until the floor is sorted :)

    Good luck!
  • JoeX said:
    It is a very nice space.

    Shame you cant get a jet wash on it because it’s only really the floor surface that needs work.  There are soaps you can apply and leave, then brush off but I couldn’t say how good a finish you’ll get.

    Ideally I’d suggest replacing with new flagstones - not cheap but could be quite dramatic. Or having the pointing repaired on the existing.

    At the end of the day you’ve always got the problem of cleaning the surface so that needs to be resolved first I think.

    Then if freshening up is your goal, some urban slate paint for the door and trellis. But not until the floor is sorted :)

    Good luck!
    Thank you for replying. That sounds a good idea re the floor cleaning product. Do you know of any particular products? If not I’ll have a google :)  
    It is disappointing I can’t get it jet washed as I think this would have really helped. 
    The problem with getting the stones replaced is because I am mid terraced with tricky access, builders are not keen or charge accordingly. 
    I agree I need to paint the gate! Not sure what colour yet. I can’t touch the trellis as it’s a neighbours. I wanted to have a new trellis put up on my side but the wall is very fragile and Fencing companies were reluctant to attach anything to it. 
    Thank you for your help! 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,995
    edited March 2021
    I would ignore the comments about being 'tired and dull'. It suits its environment perfectly,  'new and shiny' would look completely out of place! Why not pick up on it instead with a couple of quirky planters. I have a random collection of galvanised buckets, baths, watering cans and what have you, that are easy enough to find, or look for some old terracotta pots or glazed planters. The odd crack or chip can be becoming. I'm sure the Japanese have a word for it, but can't remember what it is!
    It's only a small courtyard, so a bucket of water, with just a sniff of detergent, an old fashioned stiff scrubbing brush and some elbow grease should do it.
    You don't have to do it all at once either. I find that for hard or boring, but necessary, tasks it helps to  assign either a length of time - just half an hour or a quota of work - 4 paving flags say,  to do every day.  The bite size approach helps me get through it and it becomes part of the daily routine for a while, which somehow makes it more bearable, and then when you finish, whoopee, free time!
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