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When it comes to creating a private, inner-city haven, size doesn'talways matter, as this compact courtyard illustrates


Lack of outdoor space is a common issue for homeowners living in inner-city suburbs. But physical limitations can often lead to creative design solutions, where simplicity is the key.

Having recently carried out interior renovations on this small, terraced house, the owner was keen to update the outdoor area. Jamie Durie from Patio Landscape Design was commissioned for the project.

"The garden was no bigger than an average-sized bedroom," he says. "As the adjacent living area was also extremely small, we decided to create another fully functional outdoor room linking to it."

The surrounding properties create a private, enclosed courtyard, which is paved in square flagstones. Raised beds of black bamboo on two sides soften the high walls. Pulling back the foliage to expose the lower trunks gives the impression of extra space, while white pebbles at the base of the bamboo provide textural contrast to the smooth, dark trunks.

In addition to the outdoor furniture, a wide cap on the edge of the garden beds doubles as informal seating.


A focal point of the garden is the vertical stone water feature. Visible from the front door along the hallway, its design was inspired by the black bamboo stems.

"An engaged pier, made from a row of bricks set into the wall, forms the niche, which is laid with polished black stones and finished with a vertical strip of perforated stainless steel," says Durie.

When lit at night, the stream of water running down these perforations appears to move in slow motion, he says.

First published date: 12 January 2005

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Credit List

Landscape design Jamie Durie, Patio Landscape Design
Builder Jason Hodges, Hodges Landscaping
Courtyard and paving Riverstone pavers
Water feature Polished black stone and perforated stainless steel, custom designed by Jamie Durie
Lighting Rebel & Coates, Hunza
Planting Supplied by Mr Bamboo