Although a courtyard is not an element of a home exclusively reserved for Southwestern style homes, its a common and highly prized feature in many of the most beautiful homes of the region.
Think of a courtyard and the mind conjures up a peaceful, secluded spot. Its a sort of an oasis of cool quietude where one may retreat to contemplate the events of the day. A courtyard may be a grand sort of patio used for entertaining, or a hidden spot used for a private getaway.
However a person views the courtyard, in the Southwest, its a coveted part of many homes. You may find a walled yard shaded by cool trees, or trellised with vines. A kiva fireplace is a common addition in a Southwestern courtyard, making it a place of warmth on a cool desert night. Sit under the stars and listen to the fire crackle in the kiva, while reflecting on the stars in the heavens above and the cares of the day just seem to drift away.
This type of patio may include gardens, seating areas or fountains in their interior. But whatever you find inside the courtyard, the effect is one of seclusion, protection and privacy.
A courtyard may be a central part of a home, surrounded on three or four sides by the wings of the home. This is, not surprisingly, called a central courtyard. The traditional hacienda style home often makes use of this type of courtyard. A central courtyard was originally a way of protecting the residents of the home from the outer world, and still today creates a protected feeling.
Other Southwestern home styles make use of courtyards by creating a walled patio effect at the front, or the rear, of the home. Often, a gate is placed as a method of entry to the front door of the home.
Various materials are used to build a courtyard, but courtyard walls are normally constructed of adobe brick,stucco or blocks. If you desire a traditional courtyard, use a wooden gate. This type of gate will close off the courtyard from the outside world and create that feeling of seclusion and privacy.
Other gates may be used, however, including those with open designs to allow the visitor a glimpse of the interior. Such a gate is a great way to extend an invitation to the visitor to come on in and experience the courtyard.