Courtyard creations – enhanced earth



Ochre and jade green Moroccan courtyard

Moroccan courtyard – Ochre with jade green highlights


I’m looking at residential courtyards with the key emphasis being on prominent earth features using design elements like decorative rocks, stone paths, ceramic tiles, planters, earthy tones and stone walls. I am in the process of modifying a home design which has a central courtyard (a rarity these days) that has close proximity to a laundry and bathroom. This  isn’t ideal from a Feng Shui perspective, due to the running water depleting the Earth, which can be disruptive to the whole balance as this element is crucial to harmonizing all the elements.. This can be remedied by fortifying the instrinsic Earth element of the middle courtyard and avoiding the presence of fountains and other water features and cooling colours. In addtion, as wood attacks earth (5 Element Theory), large trees, wood decking.and other decorative elements using wood will need to be kept to a minimum. When combined with fire features like a toro stone lantern, red decor aspects and fire pits, this will enhance the Earth element and help regenerate it. The addition of metal with the fire also supports the energy flow of the earth (5 Element Theory)

Traditional Japanese courtyards favor the presemce of large rock features and stone, emphasised by the inclusion of open spaces using gravel, sand and moss (which has a milder growth aspect then the use of larger trees). The main courtyard entrance sometimes used a rounded moon doorway (Mon (門) threshold) becauses like the tortoise, the combination of the curve with a straight line was a symbol of heaven and earth and encouraged the movement of chi.. Arched doorways also attract an enhanced chi flow.



Image by Joachim Müller



garden in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, landscape architect Judy KameonDesign-Al-Fresco-1stdibs

Interior courtyard garden, Silverlake,  Los Angeles,

Landscape architect Judy KameonDesign


Cactus courtyard



Contemporary courtyard with blue/white tiled mural



Ubud garden, Bali

Balinese courtyard, Ubud

Kayon Jungle Resort



Azure blue Persian courtyard

Azure blue Persian style courtyard



Greek style courtyard with bourganvillia canopy



balcony courtyard

Burnt orange/ochre decor highlighting the earth aspect of the courtyard, further supported by the fire pit and the metal patina back wall. A fire feature in this sector directly opposite the entrance to the central courtyard, on its peripheal, is an ideal location to stimulate the earth.



Zen courtyard black and white

Black paving stones dramatically in contrast with the snow in this Zen inspired courtyard, exemplifing the power of ‘Ma’ (間) negative space



minimalist contemporary Zen garden

Minimalist contemporary Zen garden


japanese garden , contrasting gravel color

Japanese garden with contrasting gravel color. The open expanse of gravel symbolizes the eternal conscioussnes with the rocks representing islands.



French inspried symmetrical garden

Symmetrically aligned topiary trees and shrubs



Rich colored Faiz Mahal, Khairpur, Pakistan

Faiz Mahal, Khairpur, Pakistan



In Lucca, Italy, the loggia of the grand Villa Torrigiani boasts 17th-century frescoes

The loggia of the grand Villa Torrigiani with 17th century frescoes.

The Trompe l’oeil mural enlarging the appearance of size.

Lucca, Italy

Mediterranean style courtyard with stone archway and rounded borders drawing +ve chi inside




Karrinyup Courtyards –  CultivArt Landscape Design


modern courtyard

Fire pit courtyard feature


Huge Buddha wall mural, Bali




Van Den Berk nuseries

Traditionally designed Japanese garden.

Van Den Berk nurseries


Tuscan Italian-courtyard

Tuscan interior courtyard


Moroccan courtyard with a Persian wall feature and an abundance of earthy palettes.




Japanese Courtyard Garden by Katsuhiko Mizuno



japanese garden with stone paving

Zen garden landscaping with stone paving and Toro stone lantern



wall of greenery courtyard

Designed by Judy Kameon of Elysian Landscapes, LA



lemon and lavender decor

Garden decor lemon and lavender



Kyoto Koi pond courtyard, natural rock


Miami paradise garden

Spainish theme garden, Miami



Traditional Zen garden featuring white sand, rocks and moss

Zen garden featuring white sand, rocks and moss under a large Japanese maple tree. Asymmetry and Irregularity (Fukinsei) is a consistent aspect of a Japanese garden due to it having a higher dynamic of motion and its curvy movement attracting the luck of the dragon, especially if the courtyard faces East.



large olive green planters

Large green planters highlighting the symmetry



big planter Italy

Large Italian planter



Elevated garden beds create the impression of a sunken courtyard and added depth



courtyard gardern with hedge wall

Courtyard gardern with hedge wall and curvaceous vintage backdrop



Courtyard garden in Chur

Large garden with Japanese Maple in huge planter

Courtyard in Chur


ceramic tiled courtyard,

Moroccan themed ceramic tiled courtyard



Hacienda Mexicana entrance to Spainish styled courtyard

Hacienda Mexicana entrance to Spainish styled courtyard



Boho courtyard decor

Boho patio/courtyard with Moroccan rugs



rusticl Italian courtyard

Rustic Italian courtyard with orange tree




Potted olive trees and mirrored arch to enhance the light and size of a tiled courtyard



Vermillion red wall  fortifiying the Earth by virtue of the 5 element Mother Son relationship




Melina Mercouri in Italian courtyard

Slim Aarons, 1961


Moon door courtyard portal

Inviting Moon Door courtyard portal

Youyicun garden



patterned ceramic tiling fow a safer grip

Patterned ceramic tiling for a safer grip

Aleluia Cerâmicas


Delightful patio decoarative panel


Archway entrance to courtyard



Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

© Janmiko1



Contemporary courtyard with an ideally located sun symbol and fire pit




courtyard of the Riad Jaaneman in Marrakech

Courtyard of the Riad Jaaneman in Marrakech




Islamic geometric tiled courtyard in Morocco


Myouman ji Temple garden courtyard

Myouman ji Temple garden courtyard

Hide and reveal Miegakure (見え隠れ) design


Spandau,Citadel lifesize figure sculptures

Spandau,Citadel fortress courtyard



Satoyama garden courtyard

Satoyama garden courtyard, Japan



Spainish style central courtyard



Hugh Cornwall Robertson large floor vase

Hugh Cornwall Robertson — large floor vase

Useful for adding a splash of red.



petite courtyard

Lush hidden courtyard


Hoachlander Davis Photography--Landscape Architecture by Allen Russ

Landscape Architecture by Allen Russ

Hoachlander Davis Photography



Royal Mansour Hotel, Marrakech

Rahef Design



Orientalist tile effect

Orientalist tile effect realised with Mamounia Sky rug featuring Persian geometrics



natural stone paving Japanese style

Raised natural stone Japan style paving



Minimalist Indoor Zen Garden



zengreen piece1-Joan Relke

Zengreen sculptural ceramic piece by Joan Relke



Intricately detailed Moroccan courtyard



Climbing sinuous ghost gum as the central feature balanced with the grounding horizontal lines of the timber slat wall

Patio ODS Architecture


70s courtyard slim aarons

‘Barbados Bliss’ 70s courtyard by Slim Aarons



Stone wall framed by classical pillars with large fountain

Stone wall framed by classical pillars and arches


Turquoise and white courtyard


 Cypress tree lined courtyard, Verona, Italy


large-terracott planters

Large terracotta pots in courtyard


Sublime  Morocco colour palette – duck egg blue and burnt orange with hints of chalky jade and salmon.



Riad Yasmine, hotel in Marrakech Morocco

Riad Yasmine, private boutique hotel in Marrakech Morocco



Sunset- Phoenix garden cactus wall with terracotta planters

Sunset Phoenix garden cactus wall with terracotta planters



Villa in La Quinta California

Villa courtyard in La Quinta, California



Babylonian hanging garden courtyaard

Babylonian inspired courtyard granduer


blue and white courtyard

Greek inspired blue and white courtyard, inlaid pavers


Sail Again' Nic Noblique,-Large-Blue-Powder-Coated-Steel-Sculpture

‘Sail Again’  — Nic Noblique

An abstracted form near the entance is good for attracting movement



Jay-Winters--Moorish tiled Garden Fountain

Moorish styled tiled garden fountain

Jay Winters–flickr



Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

                                                                                                                                                         A Classic Japanese courtyard

Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum



Dubai courtyard

Antonovich Design – Dubai





  1. Posted June 24, 2021 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Robbie, a delightful selection of splendid courtyards. Each one is unique in its combinations of design, colour and interest so it is really impossible to choose a favourite….. cheers..Les

  2. Sue Barstow
    Posted June 25, 2021 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Thankyou for this and all your great presentations of art and environment .

    Living in Nth Queensland next to the Coral Sea we love seeing

    into all these diverse worlds that you capture in your emails to

    us l
    Thank you again

  3. Asha
    Posted April 4, 2022 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Delightful courtyards. They remind me of Zanzi ar…wonderful it is just to look at and imagine having one like that…kudos!

  4. Charles baurin
    Posted April 24, 2022 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Could someone get me in touch with the owner or architect of the villa in La Quinta, California (see up in this folder).

  5. Alex Henry Garcia
    Posted July 17, 2023 at 8:15 am | Permalink


  6. Alex Henry Garcia
    Posted July 17, 2023 at 8:16 am | Permalink


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