Courtyard Houses

Courtyard Houses, a gift for everyday life at home. Having an interior patio at home is one of the best qualities that a house design can have. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or in the country, a home with an interior patio offers so many advantages…

What is an Inner Courtyard?

An interior patio is a space that is open to the sky, but delimited and surrounded by architectural elements, such as galleries and vertical walls (walls, doors or windows from floor to ceiling), pergolas, etc.

The interior patios of a house are architectural spaces designed with the aim of improving the bioclimatic conditions inside the building or home.

House with inner courtyard

One of the first known examples of an inner courtyard comes from the Mesopotamian Empire, 2000 BC, where architects used a large central courtyard to build a city around it (The City of Ur) .

The large internal patio was made up of all the houses, on two levels, which were ventilated and illuminated through the central patio, since on the other side, what existed was the wall that protected the city. The dimensions of the City of Ur were 1,200 x 800 meters, that is, it had a large central courtyard.

All ancient cultures saw the need to create an open space inside the house, due to the need for natural lighting and ventilation. Examples are in Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and Japan, to name a few. In each region, the interior patio arose, due to the same needs and with its own characteristics.

But interior patios are not a thing of the past, they have evolved . For many years, houses with an interior patio have been designed, especially in regions with a tropical climate, adapting to the new urban and architectural needs of cities and contemporary life.

Courtyard Houses

Characteristics of Courtyard Houses

A house with an interior or internal patio allows your family to be connected with nature, without having to leave the house, as would happen, for example, in L-SHAPED houses , where to access the central patio it is necessary to go outside. outside of the house.

What characteristics do the Courtyard have in the Houses?

The interior patios are characterized by being internal spaces of the house, but open to the outside, that is, without having a roof to protect it . Through an interior patio, the house can receive natural light and can be better ventilated, while allowing some outdoor activities to be carried out.

House with internal courtyard

These exterior spaces, but located towards the interior of the floor of the house, tend to be articulating spaces, defining the configuration and distribution of the other areas, in a housing project.

For example, in colonial and modern houses, it is very common to find covered galleries surrounding the internal patio. This allows not only a semi-protected circulation around the patio, but also, to ventilate and illuminate all the spaces that the gallery connects.

Inner Patio in Half Houses

Another example is in half houses, where there is no possibility of creating window openings to the outside, and therefore, the design of the house is carried out around a central patio, which allows the house to “breathe”, with the incentive to create an open and private space at the same time.

The interior patios of a house constitute the main lung (and sometimes the only one) of the houses in cities, where the space to build is scarce, and therefore it is necessary to make the house larger, but building upwards, two or more levels. .

House with inner courtyard

In an inner yard, depending on the FLOOR PLAN DIMENSIONS, you can even plant trees that offer shade, small and medium-sized shrubs, or in the case of small interior patios, decorate them to your own liking with ornamental plants. 

In case you like to harvest your own fruits and vegetables, it is also possible to create a small garden, which would offer you the added value of entertainment and calm.

Many people are looking for houses with an interior patio for sale , with different locations, whether it is a patio in the center of the house, interior patios in front, on the side or in the back of the house. 

However, if you have the possibility of building your house on your own land, you can choose the location of the interior patio according to your own tastes, needs and considerations.

House with inner courtyard

Types of Inner Courtyard

There are 3 types of interior patio , which are the central patio, typical of country houses , the internal patio , which is smaller, but still wide, and is widely used in residential houses that have a certain standard. 

There are also the small inner yard, which are patios with small dimensions, designed almost exclusively with the aim of ventilating and illuminating the interior of the house or an apartment building.

How Big is an Interior Patio?

The minimum side of the  patios  must be equal to 1/3 of the  height  of the building and in no case may the resulting side be less than 4 m. In the case of buildings with several bodies, the minimum side of the  patio  must not be less than 1/3 of the semi-sum of the heights of the bodies if they were unequal.

What area should have a Patio for a House?

The minimum side of interior patios must be equal to 1/3 of the height of the house and its smaller side should not be less than 4 meters. In the case of buildings with several stories, the minimum side of the patio must not be less than 1/3 of the semi-sum of the heights of the stories if they were unequal.

Differences between an Internal Patio and a Garden?

It is common for a  patio to  combine paved areas with others where the floor is made up of earth or grass. When the entire outdoor surface of a house is covered with grass, it is called a  garden  and not a  patio .

View of an internal patio

What should an Interior Patio of Housing have?

Houses with interior patios have a refuge in the open air, where they receive radiant and direct light, better natural ventilation, where you can relax and be in contact with nature, a small oasis for everyday life.

  • Tree or shrub. In this sense, it is very comfortable and functional to have a tall tree or shrub, so that it can filter the direct light a bit, especially if you live in a tropical country, where the solar incidence is stronger and more dazzling. Another option could be to create a small terrace or pergola, where ornamental plants grow and become entangled, which protect and at the same time decorate the outdoor space.
  • Sewer system. A fundamental requirement of interior patios is that they must have a drainage system that allows rapid evacuation, mainly rainwater. In case of having an interior patio with a garden, a drainage design for the subsoil is also necessary.
  • Soil. You can choose between wood, ceramic tile, stone, cobblestone, etc. If it rains a lot you should choose a moisture resistant material. In other cases, artificial wood floors are very pleasant in dry and cold climates.
  • Walls. Light-colored walls are recommended to improve daytime outdoor lighting by increasing reflections. It can be light-colored paint or ceramic or stone veneers.
  • Decor. In  backyards , think about some plants to bring a bit of greenery to your backyard. Contact with nature is highly recommended.
  • Lighting . Consider lighting your patio with indirect lighting, string lights, etc. Night lighting is essential.

Suggestions on How to Decorate Courtyard Houses

The light patios have incredible potential on a sunny day. It is a pity to leave it abandoned when a few gestures are enough to transform it into a small paradise for the house. With this type of arrangement, you will surely no longer envy your neighbors’ gardens and you will achieve a beautiful patio!

inner courtyard in front

It is also recommended that there be both a pavement area and a garden area, giving greater extension to one or the other, depending on the tastes of the family and the objectives pursued.

Another way to take advantage of the internal patio is by building a small pool. This will benefit you in three different ways. On the one hand, the functional part that allows recreation in your own home.

Secondly, the pool water would help a lot to maintain a comfortable temperature, in hot climates. Thirdly, there is no doubt that the pool, well designed, will be an essential decorative element, even combining with a possible garden.

If you did not have the possibility of having a pool, either due to budget issues or because there is not enough area, we would still have the possibility of making a fountain.

House with double height and interior patio

Thinking of the same idea, of having that interesting resource that is water, within the interior patio, and as a distinctive element, a fountain can be a modern and economical piece to consider.

Advantages of Courtyard Houses

If you are thinking of building or if you are looking for houses for sale with an interior patio, all the advantages of buying a house with an interior patio are listed below.

Benefits of Buying a House with an Interior Patio

  1. Quality of life. A house with an interior patio considerably improves the quality of life and the comfort of the people who live in it.
  2. Nature . These small oases inside the house allow direct contact with nature, where you can recreate your own garden, with ornamental plants and scented flowers.
  3. Natural ventilation and lighting . The interior patios offer natural ventilation and lighting.
  4. Separate spaces. The possibility of separating spaces, in a subtle and elegant way, is one of the advantages of having an interior patio. For example, it may be interesting to locate the patio with plants between the living room and the kitchen-dining room, giving greater privacy and differentiation of functions, without resorting to a wall.
  5. Distribute spaces. At the same time that it can help to separate certain spaces within the house, it distributes them.
  6. Bioclimatic strategy. In homes located in regions with a warm climate, they constitute real lungs, a recirculation of the interior air occurs.
  7. Passive ventilation . where the hottest air comes out (rises) to receive cooler air, becoming a circuit or positive air flow.
  8. Energy saving.
  9. Private life with nature. In case of living in places where there are not the best visuals from the house, it is very useful to have an interior patio with a garden, since we would be compensating for the need to be able to look outside and find pleasant visuals.
Living room facing the patio

How to Organize a Courtyard House?

These are some ideas on how to organize the patio of a house. Design your yard…

  1. Hedge plants and vines. Also slender shrubs.
  2. You must take advantage of every corner, or make a minimalist design.
  3. Natural or artificial grass.
  4. Without grass, but with stones and water.
  5. Give it details.
  6. Design night lighting, indirect lighting.
  7. Clean and organized.

View of an interior patio
Hiroshi Nakamura & N.A.P.

Ideas for Courtyard Houses

House with Interior Patio by the Sea

A high standard vernacular designed house, located on one of the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic.

House with Interior Patio by the Sea

Where the jungle and the sea meet, this small resting mansion is located, as an energizing center in “wildlife” mode.

Aerial view of House with Interior Patio on the Seashore of the Dominican Republic

Luxurious house with interior patio and vernacular-contemporary architectural design, just ten meters from the Caribbean coast.

House with Interior Patio on the Sea Shores with native materials

At the same time, the house itself is located in the forest, which provides a pleasant microclimate around the clock, both indoors and in outdoor recreation areas.

Exterior Gallery of House with Interior Patio on the Sea Shores
Project: Young Projects . Images: Iwan Baan  Karla Read .

Let’s see more PATIO DESIGN IDEAS.

Country Courtyard Houses in Greece

This country house with an interior patio is located in Greece, exactly on the Island of Paros.

Established on a gently sloping terrain, but with few views to recreate around it, and hardly any vegetation, prevent the design as well as the exterior finishes of the private home from being appreciated in full splendor.

The surrounding landscape was one of the design premises of the project, always trying to recreate and appropriate the characteristics of a sparsely built site, with relief and little vegetation.

Vernacular architecture influenced design decisions, emphasizing the spatial connection of the house with the surrounding views.

The location of the house on the construction site tries to take advantage of the best views with a creative approach, creating an area with amenities for living.

The north elevation of the house and the stone wall extracted from the site, protect the recreation area and the pool from the cold north wind.

The unity in the design of the facades of the house are combined with the colors and textures of the adjoining terrain, the application of the same finishing materials being remarkably visible.

Inner courtyard of the house .

Natural stone and white tones of the plastered surfaces of the walls visually expand the area of ​​​​the house, to the boundaries of the entire plot.

The sharp geometric lines in the design of the entire house contrast with the features of the landscape, and define a structured and elegant living area.

The perimeter wall made of natural materials helps to shape the interior patio of the country house, and at the same time protects the terraces from adverse external influences and solar incidence.

Wooden furniture creates a comfortable atmosphere that contributes to a relaxed rest.

One of the best views from the house with patio. An unforgettable view of the Aegean coast.

It is possible to appreciate the integration of the house with the landscape, where the pool also takes center stage.

Country House with Interior Patio and pool

Building on a topography with unevenness led to higher expenses in the construction of this residence, but they have been mitigated, with a better adaptation to the existing relief.

In addition to the construction of a unique country house, these sites provide a wide field for the creativity of landscape designers. It is the complex topography that has inspired, according to the author, the creation of a beautiful territory of a private house.

House Interiors

Below are example images of interior spaces of a WHITE HOUSE design located on the Island of Paros in Greece.

ArchitectG&A Evripiotis
PhotosYiorgis Yerolymbos  Angeliki Evripioti

Plans of Courtyard Houses

These are just some examples of house plans with an interior patio.

Plans of One-Story Houses with Inner Courtyard

Plans of One-Story Houses with Inner Courtyard

Plans of One-Story Courtyard Houses

Plans of One-Story Houses with Central Patio

Houses with Interior Patio Plans


Plans of Houses with Interior Patio Ground floor
Plans of Houses with Interior Patio Top Floor
Top floorSpaces Area
9Bedroom 110.0m²
10Dressing room3.8m²
11Bedroom 223.4m²
13Bedroom 310.8m²
14Bathroom 23.6m²
 Total Upper Floor62.1m²
Low level Spaces  Area
1Entry1.8 m²
2Corridor10.9 m²
3Living room10.8m²
4Kitchen and Dining15.6m²
5Bathroom 13.4 m²
7Ladders6.7 m²
 Whole Ground Floor63.5m²
Total area 125.7m²

Table of Stores with useful area for each store

To see more patio house ideas, you can review different U-SHAPED house designs.

error: Alert: Content selection is disabled!!