These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes

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By Byron Loker
Now that the days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising, consider how a courtyard can bring you closer to nature without requiring you to leave your property.

Whether they've been designed for outdoor dining, lounging in the sun, or as a way to bring light into the interior, these 10 modern courtyards provide a breath of fresh air.

Cover photo by Ben Hosking

1. The Umerani Residence 

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 1 of 10 - The open spaces and transparency of modern architecture turn out to be extremely useful with a house designed to host the massive gatherings of this family. The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.

The open spaces and transparency of modern architecture turn out to be extremely useful with a house designed to host the massive gatherings of this family. The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 2 of 10 - The home’s forms, which are masked by the cantilevered entrance, become apparent once one enters the central courtyard. The roofline can be seen fluctuating as one goes from front-to-back. The memorial tree, around which the courtyard and home are built, will continue to grow in coming years.

The home’s forms, which are masked by the cantilevered entrance, become apparent once one enters the central courtyard. The roofline can be seen fluctuating as one goes from front-to-back. The memorial tree, around which the courtyard and home are built, will continue to grow in coming years.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 3 of 10 - The rooftop courtyard is lined with a verdant mix of indigenous plants, including banana trees, palm trees, lion’s claw, Mexican breadfruit, and native vines. The chaise lounges were designed for Farca’s EF Collection.

The rooftop courtyard is lined with a verdant mix of indigenous plants, including banana trees, palm trees, lion’s claw, Mexican breadfruit, and native vines. The chaise lounges were designed for Farca’s EF Collection.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 4 of 10 - The architect incorporated a central courtyard in the house, an unusual but intelligent design response for the region with a temperate climate. "The house sets up an interesting tension between two established [courtyard and farmhouse] typologies," Crump explains.

The architect incorporated a central courtyard in the house, an unusual but intelligent design response for the region with a temperate climate. "The house sets up an interesting tension between two established [courtyard and farmhouse] typologies," Crump explains.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 5 of 10 - The architects designed the rooms as a linear sequence wrapping around a central courtyard. As one would have traversed the preexisting rock face, residents are constantly negotiating small elevation changes throughout the house. The plan also protects a central courtyard from the harsh Yucca Valley climate.

The architects designed the rooms as a linear sequence wrapping around a central courtyard. As one would have traversed the preexisting rock face, residents are constantly negotiating small elevation changes throughout the house. The plan also protects a central courtyard from the harsh Yucca Valley climate.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 6 of 10 - São Paulo architect Isay Weinfeld's Casa Deck offers cinematic vistas, a lush garden, and a retreat from Brazil's largest city. A small interior courtyard features a huge skylight and a sculpture.

São Paulo architect Isay Weinfeld's Casa Deck offers cinematic vistas, a lush garden, and a retreat from Brazil's largest city. A small interior courtyard features a huge skylight and a sculpture.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 7 of 10 - Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan bypassed the neighbor issue by seeking out a building site concealed from the public. Four-year-old Ian plays in the courtyard, which is the center of family life in warmer months.

Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan bypassed the neighbor issue by seeking out a building site concealed from the public. Four-year-old Ian plays in the courtyard, which is the center of family life in warmer months.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 8 of 10 - This simple courtyard is perfectly spare—save for one tree—making it the meditative heart of a Los Angeles residence. From the kitchen and living room, you’re well-connected to the courtyard and the rest of the house. The trim and accents are white oak while the the kitchen is by Leicht.

This simple courtyard is perfectly spare—save for one tree—making it the meditative heart of a Los Angeles residence. From the kitchen and living room, you’re well-connected to the courtyard and the rest of the house. The trim and accents are white oak while the the kitchen is by Leicht.

9. M House

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 9 of 10 - The architects pulled away the roof at the house’s center to create a courtyard where the residents can enjoy meals. The ground sits below floor level, which means that the wraparound eucalyptus deck can also serve as a bench.

The architects pulled away the roof at the house’s center to create a courtyard where the residents can enjoy meals. The ground sits below floor level, which means that the wraparound eucalyptus deck can also serve as a bench.

These Courtyards Bring Indoor/Outdoor Living to 10 Modern Homes - Photo 10 of 10 - The Zizmors didn't want to use curtains to screen their wide-open home from noisy neighbors. Instead, Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design, an urban landscaper, created a living wall of wooden planters and English ivy that provides privacy without blocking light.

The Zizmors didn't want to use curtains to screen their wide-open home from noisy neighbors. Instead, Kari Elwell Katzander of Mingo Design, an urban landscaper, created a living wall of wooden planters and English ivy that provides privacy without blocking light.

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