The courtyards built in modern buildings are very often dead. They are intended to be private open spaces for people to use—but they end up unused, full of gravel and abstract sculptures.


Place every courtyard in such a way that there is a view out of it to some larger open space; place it so that at least two or three doors open from the building into it and so that the natural paths which connect these doors pass across the courtyard. And, at one edge, beside a door, make a roofed veranda or a porch, which is continuous with both the inside and the courtyard.

… within the general scheme of outdoor spaces, made positive according to the patterns Positive Outdoor Space (106) and Hierarchy of Open Space (114), it is necessary to pay special attention to those smallest ones, less than 30 or 40 feet across the courtyards - because it is especially easy to make them in such a way that they do not live.

Build the porch according to the patterns for Arcades (119), Gallery Surround (166), and Six-Foot Balcony (167) ; make sure that it is in the sun - Sunny Place (161); build the view out according to the Hierarchy of Open Space (114) and Zen View (134); make the courtyard like an Outdoor Room (163) and a Garden Wall (173) for more enclosure; make the height of the eaves around any courtyard of even height; if there are gable ends, hip them to make the roof edge level - Roof Layout (209); Put Something Roughly in the Middle (126)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 561high-confidence