Casual courtyard with flagstoneCourtyards as sacred space remind us of the town square where everyone could get together and connect. To feel a part of the greater community is what makes it sacred. A private courtyard in someone’s home evokes the same feelings, yet is more private and secure to the degree that it is walled off.

 

Courtyards by definition are open air, outdoor spaces which evolved from atrium like spaces within a building that was open to the sky. Courtyards provided air, light, privacy, security and tranquility. They were used as places to gather, to meet, to garden and to relax. They create what may also be considered a type of sanctuary. A sacred space that one could go to find respite, to reflect all within the confines of security and privacy. Thus courtyards as sacred space can also be sanctuaries and a garden within a courtyard could be called a sanctuary garden.

For many smaller lot residential subdivisions, the front yard near the entrance can be walled off from the street to create a courtyard and add much more usable space that would otherwise not be private.

 

formal courtyards as sacred spaceThis courtyard features the central fountain designed in a European style with colorful tiles and classic statuary. The flower beds soften the otherwise large expanse of clay surface and creates an inner walking area. A courtyard may also have a firepit or even a wishing well forming a focal point.