Green and Aubergine: A Peek at My Courtyard

September 4, 2009

I’m a big believer in making your home your personal refuge from the world. I’d rather spend my money on feathering my nest than taking a grand vacation. When we planned our home expansion, I insisted on creating my own sanctuary by incorporating a courtyard into the design plan. In truth, my courtyard is my favorite “room” in my home. I begin and end each day in this very spot.

We’ve been landscaping our barren backyard in several stages, and for several years. When choosing plantings, I find myself drawn, time and again, to anything with deep purple flowers or sage green leaves. Jackpot, if both occur. In nature, I find the color combination of aubergine and sage green irresistible.

succulents in potRainbow Elephant Bush Succulent 

In my outdoor decor, I also return to shades of green. To me, green is a color that is fresh regardless of the season. I never tire of it.

my colors
These hydrangeas are from my yard. I just love them, especially when they turn this color.

You may have caught the photo of our courtyard midway through our remodel in the “About” page on this site. Just so you don’t have to click over to it, I’ll show it to you. Here is the “Before” photo of our courtyard, midway through our nightmarish remodel of 2006.

cg house halfway

Here’s how it looks today:

courtyard bliss
My favorite spot to lounge while the kids play outside is right here. It’s also where we like to serve wine and appetizers to our guests when they visit.

outdoor seating area bright
Those sofas were an antique fair steal find, and the cushions were my own DIY project. The coffee table I found at a thrift store and spray painted with antique bronze spray paint. The wall fountain and the pillows are from Target. The outdoor rug was on sale from Overstocks.

seating area from above
seating area from above
On the other side of the space, we like to eat at this table. I spray painted those chairs antique bronze years ago, and they still look great. On cold nights, we light up the fireplace.

outdoor fireplace and table
Mr. CG and I love to decompress at day’s end with a glass of chardonnay or pinot noir at dusk. Recognize my thrift store goblets?

days end
As pretty as it is, the courtyard is still incomplete. You may or may not have noticed, but it’s like having great furniture on bad flooring. We still need to tile the courtyard, but have refrained for two reasons. One, it’s way expensive. Two, wet slippery tile and toddler heads don’t mix well. So we’ve waited. And waited. But now that our munchkins finally understand that ‘running on wet tile equals big owie’, we should be ready to cover the concrete with travertine sometime next year.

My potted plants are all various colors of white, purple and sage.

sage and chocolate

lavender in pot
succulents in pot
My DIY thrift store étagère is still looking good after a summer of sunshine.

etagere lookin good
These doors lead to our dining room.

french doors to dining
So now you’ve seen where I have my morning coffee, and my evening glass of wine. We haven’t taken a family vacation in over two years, but I really don’t mind. We have our own vacation spot right at home in our backyard.


41 Responses to “Green and Aubergine: A Peek at My Courtyard”

  1. newbymama says:

    What a fabulous courtyard! Have you considered staining the concrete? That would be a great DIY project.

    By the way your new website is beautiful!

  2. Kate says:

    Absolutely, absolutely beautiful. You look like you have a little french chateau in your back garden!! In the middle of California! Absolutely lovely. I want a zone in my small garden that just looks as inviting as this and cosy and comfy. Shame we don’t have “sit outside” weather in UK though!! :(

  3. (gasp!) your courtyard is lovely!!! I can totally understand why you would love to hang out there. You’ve done a super job with this!

  4. Christina says:

    Gosh, it’s beautiful. Will you come do mine next? I want to go out there right now and relax. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Amie says:

    Kate, I love your outdoor space, esp the fireplace! One suggestion, instead of laying tile, why not just stain/glaze your existing concrete? They have many warm colors and you can even mix 2 or 3 colors to give it that aged “venetian” look. It would be a great way to save money and wont be as slippery as tile. I love your thrift store finds and how you re-create them showing everyone that it doesnt have to cost a fortune to be beautiful! Keep up the good work!

  6. Sherrie says:

    OMG! This is gorgeous! The courtyard, the new blog look, absolutely gorgeous!

  7. Debra says:

    Just Fabulous! I love the calming colors. It is a wonderful place to relax.

  8. Hi. I just found your blog on Sparrows Nest. Your courtyard is beautiful. It looks so calm and soothing. If I had such a great spot to take my coffee and wine I wouldn’t take a vacation either!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Who needs a vacation when you live in a home like this in wine country! Ahhh, a Midwestern Girl can dream can’t she? Looks great! Love it!

  10. My husband travels extensively for work, and it seems that the more he travels, the more I want to make our home a sanctuary that we can relax in. And, as we get more remodeled, it is getting closer to our goal. I love our little home and all of its funny quirks!

  11. suzanne says:

    Oh, that is a fabulous courtyard!!! I would love sitting there!! And I can imagine how you enjoy it!
    Thanks for sharing.


  12. Stacy says:

    Gorgeous! Your courtyard looks like it is straight from a magazine.

  13. Alyshia says:

    Green is my favortie color! Something about it calms my senses
    The courtyard is gorgeous! LOVE the fireplace!

  14. Jill says:

    I LOVE the plant in the first picture!! Do you know what kind it is?

    Loving the patio, too! (We’re hoping to build one next summer.)

  15. Kendra says:

    It’s a beautiful! If you saw my backyard you would probaly cry. It’s in need of some TLC.


  16. Sarah says:

    Wow, that is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve always dreamed of a courtyard like this, but seeing as I live in Minnesota, it’s just not very practical. One day I hope to move somewhere that is much warmer all year long so I can enjoy the outdoors more. I’m glad you enjoy your outdoor space; I would hate to see such a beautiful place go to waste!

  17. Tricia says:

    Hi Kate.
    I haven’t been here in a while, but I certainly have been reading (in my google reader) and it is amazing how much has changed around here! The new layout is very streamlined and easy to read. It’s very nice, although I enjoyed the old layout as well.
    Your courtyard is amazing, btw.
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  18. Aja says:

    This is amazing. I would love to have a gorgeous courtyard like this!!

  19. Dani Welton says:

    I love it! Wow that must be so nice, it looks like the courtyards you see at some hotels, but it’s in your backyard! Must be so nice..

  20. Karen says:

    Beautiful remodel. Makes me want to get to work in my back yard next.

  21. Kristi says:

    The new blog is beautiful, even better than I expected. It was worth all of your hard work!

  22. Robin Thomas says:

    Oh gasp…
    And chills.
    All at once.

  23. Sue says:

    What an amazing spot. I’m not sure where you are located, but we would never be able to have items like that outside. The wind and rain would ruin things. I only wish. I love to do projects at my house, but I tend to love to travel more. Every time I think I will do an expensive project, I realize that I don’t want to give up exploring other parts of the country. So, our projects come along a little at a time. I’m really enjoying your blog!

  24. Just perfect! So calm, relaxing and inviting all at the same time. Our patio furniture is going to need to be perked up for next year so I am happy to know that you had success spray painting yours. Thaks for sharing it with us!

  25. Shannon Best says:

    aubergine………reminds me of Steel Magnolias! lol

    As always love your style. I have major plans for the next house we have. And I plan on having a backyard sanctuary.

    Love the new blog :)

    -Shannon in Austin

  26. stephanie says:

    Wow! this is so beautiful! it amazes me how you can make things look so expensive and yet be so thrifty! I really love it! your a very talented!

  27. Ellen says:

    thank you…I believe that seeing a person’s home tell you volumes about that person. Your home reflects calm and serenity…I hope that is what you have..smiles.

  28. Jennifer says:

    It’s amazing! I’m with you… I’d never leave! ;)

  29. Laura says:

    Miss Kate-

    Are you familiar with cenizo or purple sage? You would love it.


  30. Barb Boyack says:

    Kate, love your courtyard, beautiful! can I ask what that plant is in the turquoise pottery? I love it with the dark stems..thanks

  31. Amber says:

    Your courtyard is FABULOUS! I would be spending a ton of time in that space if it was mine! You’ve done a perfect job of pulling together furniture, plants and accessories. Love it. We have a great outdoor living space in our new home, but haven’t had the time to tackle it yet. I’m excited to make it into an outdoor living room where we can spend a lot of time!

  32. Sigh…it’s beautiful. :) Like something I’ve dreamed about, but can’t quite visualize…til now. :) It really does look like a wonderful spot for entertaining…I could see myself out there in the mornings with the paper. :) It’s not covered at all, is it?

  33. JR says:

    I love the idea of a courtyard, but I have to say that yours is absolutely amazing. Wow, what a dream!

  34. Brenda Kula says:

    I totally agree with you. I’d much rather spend my money on my home and outdoor rooms than go anywhere on vacation. This is my vacation, where I spend the bulk of my money, and is right outside my dining room doors, just as yours is. I have a big deck, a pergola in the construction stage, and a courtyard with a Target gazebo. I thoroughly enjoy my outdoor spaces, in my little slice of heaven. I love what you’ve done with yours. I too have decided to order green cushions and pillows to unite my spaces once the construction is over. I’ve chosen mine from Ballards, as they had just the right shade of green. Wonderful job you’ve done here!

  35. Kim says:

    Wow! What a great space! Like Barb, I would love to know the plant in the turquoise pottery.

  36. Beautiful colors, I especially like the cool silvered/green tone – like lavender in the fall.
    Wish I could have a all year courtyard…sigh, too much snow. But that’s what summer porches are
    for! Great blog – had to add you to my favorites.


  37. First off, the remodel is AMAZING! Well done and what a divine place to relax, unwind and live life! So serene.
    Secondly, I love the elephant bush succulent. I have it all over my backyard. You know that you can clip it and just put it in soil and it re-grows, right?!!!

    Love your blog…so glad I found you…

  38. Joanne says:

    What a lovely courtyard, I wouldn’t mind lounging in this area either. I have a totally random question: do you know if hydrangeas still bloom in September? I’m planning a september wedding and I love this flower but I don’t know if it’s still in season. Thanks!

  39. Brandi says:

    Absolutely incredible!! Has it been featured in magazines and on television yet? Because it really is just stunning…

  40. Sara says:

    Oh wow, beautiful and I would definitely give up a vacation to have that in my backyard. By the way, I never even noticed you didn’t have tile on the courtyard due to everything else that envokes, “OOOH!!!!” from my lips. Can’t wait to see what tile you put in, but I agree, little ones on wet tile would make me think twice for awhile too.

  41. Tara says:

    Wow, I am in heaven looking at this. What I wouldn’t give for a space like this!! Beautiful

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