Embraced Seclusion: A Courtyard Landscape Design Case Study in Bozeman, MT

Written By: Mason Shaffer

Jun 2, 2020 12:54:38 PM

Although small, townhome landscapes still have the potential to be impressive when designed properly. In fact, with the right design a small space can be made to feel larger. The functionality (and in turn, usage) of the space can also be maximized.

This townhome property in Bozeman, MT is a great example of the ways in which the proper design can have a huge impact. The clients specifically requested a space that could be highly usable, tranquil, and also enjoyed from within the home. They wanted to be able to open their windows and enjoy nature.

With a thoughtful courtyard landscape design, we were able to meet all of those wants and needs.

A Connection Between the Indoors and the Outdoors

In townhomes such as this one (which was located on a golf course), using space to the fullest is always an important objective. While small, any outdoor space that a townhome might have is incredibly valuable to the homeowners and they want to make the most of it. These particular homeowners also wanted a really seamless connection between the inside of their home and the outdoors. The location of this courtyard landscape, near the front door and next to an office, made it really central to the home itself. The homeowners wanted it to offer beautiful views from the inside looking out (it could be seen from the office, living room, and main hallway)—but also be a space where they could enjoy a family meal, indulge in a cup of coffee or glass of wine, or read a good book outside. 

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Private courtyard designed by Blanchford Landscape Group in Bozeman, MT

Prior to our design, the only feature in this space was a tiny concrete patio. It was a pretty sterile environment and the homeowners told us, it hardly got used. Our goal was to create an inviting space that would beckon the homeowners to spend more time outside.

Creating Desired Privacy

The patio ultimately took a circular shape. Our objective was to use all available square footage in a meaningful way. We utilized natural stone for the patio along with a boulder wall and large stone steps. The patio took a sunken circular form intentionally to solve a head room issue the homeowners were experiencing with the roof line. You now step down into the patio area, which also helps contribute to a sense of “seclusion” and privacy.

courtyard landscape in Bozeman, MT designed by Blanchford Landscape Group

The addition of a water feature adds a “wow” factor but it also has the added benefit of utilizing sound to increase the sense of seclusion as well as immersion in nature. A diverse and complete sensory experience was the goal. The sound of water bubbling over stone creates a feeling of being transported to a stream. Courtyards can be amazing in terms of the way in which sound reverberates off of the walls. It also adds privacy as it drowns out the noises of other neighbors or the nearby golf course. 

The custom trellis additions that we added also played a huge role in creating privacy, which is honestly difficult to achieve in a townhome setting. With all of these added features, the homeowners can feel completed secluded in this space.

The Incorporation of Plant Material for a Natural Feel

The beautiful plant material was planned around a shade pallet. The courtyard area is fairly heavily shaded by the sun filtering shade sails the homeowners had installed. The goal was to fill in any empty pockets with color and interest. 

In addition to plant bed areas, we got plenty of color in with the container gardens. Without a doubt, the water feature and container gardens are the showpieces of this courtyard landscape design.

Making a Tiny Space Look and Feel Big

Though we only had 600 square feet to work with in this courtyard, the goal was to intentionally incorporate items that would make this space appear or “feel” larger than it really was. Large scale elements including the stone stairs, boulders, and large seasonal containers were used to dramatically help manipulate the perceived space. The sunken, step-down patio also contributed to this feeling.

Patio designed by Blanchford Landscape in Bozeman, MT

Bringing the large boulders and steps onto the property was a unique challenge as there was no equipment access beyond the size of a dingo. It meant craning the stone materials over the house and into the courtyard, which was achieved without any trouble. While the homeowners were naturally anxious about this part, it demonstrates the importance of using a highly trained professional landscape company to ensure no damaging errors are made.

Starting Small but Making a Big Impression

This project truly is a great example of how a small space can still make a big impression. With the right landscape design, you can also boost functionality. Not only did we solve a low roof clearance issue and make the space more comfortable but our courtyard landscape design achieved the objective of creating a space where the homeowners want to spend their time. It’s peaceful and an overall tranquil and enjoyable space to spend time in.

Small patio design in Bozeman, MT

We find that a lot of townhome owners often think their small space isn’t worth investing in. They might be looking for small backyard landscaping ideas but assume there isn’t much that can be done or wonder if it’s even worth bothering. 

But this townhome demonstrates what a dramatic difference can be made. Not only has it increased privacy and made the space more usable, but it’s added real value to the property. It has set it apart from the rest, which is something that’s tough to do in a townhome setting where all of the properties are essentially the same. That could mean a powerful ROI factor.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can really go “all out” with a townhome landscape and still not spend that much money. There’s not enough space to really spend too much. But it does require the help of a professional landscape designer who is able to utilize their design skills to maximize the space. A small backyard patio or courtyard patio can be transformed into something special with the right design. 

Designing a landscape for a townhome can pose unique challenges, particularly when it comes to using every inch of the space wisely. To get the most for your investment, you want to work with a company that is experienced and highly skilled in that regard. 

An Authentic Outdoor Experience 

At Blanchford Landscape Group, our design philosophy is three-pronged, no matter the size or scale of the project we are working on. We always look to integrate client wants and needs with the natural surroundings and the home’s architecture/structure. 

With townhomes, we also always have to think about neighboring properties and making sure we’re being respectful while also creating privacy if that’s what our clients desire.

We were happy to meet our clients’ needs on this courtyard landscape design while  keeping those three key principles in mind. In doing so, we were able to create an authentic outdoor living experience, which is always our goal. The ultimate result is creating a space that can be fully enjoyed for years to come.

Are you ready to get the process of bringing your outdoor dreams at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home to life? Let’s connect and talk about your project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas.

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Topics: Landscape Design, Hardscaping, Case Study, Planting

Posted by Mason Shaffer

Mason has earned both a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture prior to joining our team in 2011. Outside of work, you will find Mason spending quality time with his wife and two little girls. They will likely be exploring the outdoors, camping, fishing, golfing, planting, or just playing in the dirt.