It’s hard to imagine a more lovely spot for relaxing outdoors than a French courtyard. That’s exactly what inspired these courtyard design ideas by Destiny Alfonso of the home and lifestyle blog Just Destiny Mag.
Destiny untook her courtyard makeover as part of our ongoing Patio Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We sent her a new patio set to spark her outdoor decor ideas, and Destiny took it from there.
We love how Destiny mixed materials, textures and colors… and even considered what her French courtyard should sound like. She ended up with a small courtyard that’s comfortable, attractive and full of European charm.
This is my first patio challenge so I hope you enjoy this French Inspired Courtyard Makeover!
Before beginning this makeover I scoured books, magazines and of course Pinterest looking for the perfect French courtyard design ideas. With influences from both Italy and Britain, the French courtyard is the perfect merge of both styles. Greens and whites are the colors most associated with the style, most well-known colors, plus purples and even blues if you’re wanting to add color. I imagined a place full of boxwoods, garden beds and the wonderful scent of lavender.
Above, you see our patio before the makeover. So much potential, but lacking style and functionality.
I focused on four design elements to make my French-inspired courtyard come to life: stone, a focal point, plants and herbs, and quality outdoor seating.
Stone is also one of those must have elements when it comes to the French courtyard design style. My pony wall is already stuccoed in a nice neutral color, so we decided to really up the ante in our courtyard by installing stone pavers. You can find similar ones in the garden section at your local Home Depot store.
What I loved is that you can really customize pavers anyway you want. You can build walls, garden beds, edging and even fire pits! All great ideas for future projects! We also made sure that our guy installed a place to hook up a small fountain!
The Focal Point
I knew I wanted to make a focal point in the courtyard design. We initially wanted to put a fire pit in the middle for neighborhood bonfires, but when it came down to it I really wanted this place to be something we could use all year around.
A fountain was the PERFECT choice for this space. The Home Depot has a great selection of fountains. We chose this Hampton Bay two-tier fountain. The gray stone-like fountain was the perfect height for our space.
There’s nothing like hearing the tranquil sound of a fountain running. Each morning I open up the front door and let the sounds come right in the house. With the birds chirping in the trees above, it sounds so AMAZING!
Plants and Herb Garden
Around the courtyard I placed cast stone garden stools and a variety of plants to fill the space and make it a little more cozy. Plants like the ones below are great for shaded areas and also have a beautiful vine to them. Instead of traditional planters, I mixed it up with galvanized buckets!
Another feature we made sure to add to the courtyard was a drip system. This makes watering plants VERY easy. The ones that are not attached to a dip require water once a week, and that’s something that I can manage!
Like I mentioned before I wanted to add some boxwood plants to this space. But since my thumb isn’t very green I opted to get some faux boxwood plants for now. These boxwoods sit in a copper planter next to our small gate. I also used some classic urn style planters coupled with faux cedar plants to use in the courtyard design.
Around the fountain I planted some beautiful lavender and rosemary plants in different sized pots to give this focal point even more visual interest. The smell is amazing! Plus with the courtyard getting about 6-7 hours of indirect sun a day, I think they will do really well!
On this thrifted table I placed a faux fig, rosemary topiary and one fresh floral stem. I love using a mixture of both live and faux. It really works for me and keeps things low maintenance.
On the east side for the covered patio I hung these pretty planters from the ceiling. I wanted the herbs to get a good amount of sun, but not burn out during our harsh summers. So I put them in a spot where the sun gets them just enough. All I did was install some hooks to the ceiling and added the ribbon to the planters. You can find pre-hung herbs in the garden section at The Home Depot!
Entertaining and Seating
Our courtyard is connected to our covered front porch so it makes for ample space to entertain! I love that it acts as another extension of our home. Plus it’s in the front of the yard so we can watch the children play and people-watch when the weather is nice.
For this French courtyard design, I chose the Hampton Bay Spring Haven Patio Set. What I loved about this particular set was the deep cushion and the options for a full sofa and love seat. I also appreciated that it’s a part of the Create Your Own Collection line that includes 16 frames with 15 color options. I chose the gray cushions, and I couldn’t be happier.I chose to get the love seat, along with a couple of matching chairs, a coffee table, and a side table.
Next to the door I made this DIY extra large chalkboard to write messages to our friends as they enter our home. It’s a big upgrade from the one I had before.
I’m so happy with the space I created for my family and me. It’s the first thing you see before you come into the house and hopefully it feels just as welcoming as I’ve tried to make the inside of our home!