enclosed outdoor courtyard

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  #1  
Old 07-05-07, 10:24 PM
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enclosed outdoor courtyard

Im consider putting a 20x20 enclosed outdoor courtyard in the center of my home over a basement and have on the second floor a plaza deck framing the courtyard with about a 6 foot lip making the 2nd story courtyard about 32x32. Im wondering if anyone would know the negatives of such an idea and where I could read up on what it would entail. Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 07-16-07, 11:00 PM
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It would benefit me in two ways. The city Im in gives me a certain amount of sqr footage for my lot size. I wanted more space and since the city doesnt consider patios and decks in the sqr footage an enclosed courtyard would allow more space for my family that would be free in the scheme of things. Also, the courtyard is a place where my kids can be outside in a contained environment which would be good for them and me.
 

Last edited by callipygian; 07-16-07 at 11:07 PM. Reason: correcting phrasing
  #3  
Old 07-17-07, 06:26 PM
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Thanks for the effort.
 
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Old 07-17-07, 07:28 PM
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Something like this?

A design [as opposed to style] like this?

http://www.wildbell.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/ph01a.jpg

The most important issue is obviously drainage.

Another issue is natural light; the 'lip' will block sunlight from the rooms facing the courtyard.

And air flow; will fresh or cooling air be able to flow through the house through the courtyard?

A lot depends on your climate and location.

I like the idea.
 
  #5  
Old 07-19-07, 06:51 PM
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Exactly what Im talking about. Here are a few floorplans that match the concept.

http://www.standardpacifichomes.com/findhome/planWindow.aspx?neighborhoodID=1414&floorplanID=245784&neighborhood=Serra&planName=Residence 3&address=33 Seclusion CA, 92618


Something like that just bigger. The location is SoCal. on the four walls I was thinking french doors for airflow. Home woud be a pretty open design and since the area above the courtyard I was planning for would have a patio the "lip" wouldnt be as high as the photo shown. Imagine a raised loggia framing the courtyard on the second floor with a width of approx. 8-10 feet each of the 4 sides.
 
  #6  
Old 07-22-07, 06:24 PM
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We are also in California, up the coast a bit more but there are tons of homes with this type of design. One thing I have noticed is the use of sliding glass "walls" for the entry into the courtyard from the lower levels. The panes of glass slide back into a pocket in the wall itself and the entire house can then be open to the courtyard. With some other strategically placed doors on the outside, the houses have wonderful airflow. I personally love the look and it really does incorporate the outside area in giving a feel of much more room and livable square footage.

Some of the wonderful ideas of what to put "inside" the courtyard that I have seen always incorporates some sort of water treatment. I have see beautiful circular fountains that drown out noise and even full on lap pools with waterfalls that are beautiful to look at in the day and are lit up at night. One family has a whole outdoor kitchen built in the courtyard area as well. One thing to take into account is shade though. Friends of ours just finished building a wood shade structure on one side because it just got too hot in the afternoon sun at the time the family was all home and wanted to use it!

I can tell you too that water is an ISSUE! A couple of friends have an ongoing issue with drainage and they have a perpetual puddle right smack in the center of the courtyard. They wanted lots of container plants surrounding the area and it is impossible to keep the area dry. They did not build the house but are thinking of ripping the whole courtyard out to put in planters with drains that also make additional seating because they like to entertain a lot. Theirs is all brick but newer ones are using much different materials like stained concrete that looks like big blocks and stuff that is just smoother and cooler to walk on with bare feet. Pay attention to the electrical too because most have added more and more access as more and more products like tvs are made to be outside.

I am not kidding you when I say some of these courtyards are more lush and plush than the insides of the houses with full on sofas and popup tv screens, hidden speakers, bars, you name it. Also we get cold at night so most of the courtyards here has some type of heating element as well from the firepits to elaborate fireplaces and even space heaters like decks in restaurants use.
Cushy furniture is the norm too. Personally I am in love with this type of modular outdoor furniture(http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11194874&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|50126|50130&N=4014758&Mo=80&No=7&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=50130&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=) that has the sunbrella material and can be out all the time. To me, it is a lot different from the old patio furniture I grew up with! The most "impressive" courtyard in our neighborhood has it all-lappool, waterfall, outdoor kitchen with giant fireplace (an pizza oven!) tons of lush plants and furniture that you would never believe could be outside. The whole kitchen area is phenomenal, beautiful stone sinks with storage and bar, no carrying plates back and forth to the inside kitchen for this family. I wanna live there....

Good luck with your project!!
 
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Old 07-22-07, 06:47 PM
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Just wanted to add that one of my favorite places for ideas is Sunset magazine and online too. Here is a pic of the movable glass wall idea that really does make it so much nicer than simple french doors! http://www.sunset.com/sunset/home/article/0,20633,1058599,00.html

This one has foldable doors but they must be really $$$ because here most are just sliding into the wall type panels.

Look at the way this one looks: http://www.sunset.com/sunset/home/article/0,20633,1606432,00.html
Hard to believe that is all outside-lamps and everything! I love it.

This designer often uses ideas of incorporating outside space and I love her ideas: http://www.sunset.com/sunset/home/article/0,20633,1606432,00.html

I don't know anything about construction but I do know that if you have a clear idea of what type of space you want, you can pick and choose ways to build them into your design. We have a giant hot tub and I wished that I had seen what they did in Sunset before I put it in. They made it a focal part of the area building in a big chaise lounge the cover slides completely underneath when using and then over to keep the heat in when not in use but most importantly, keep it kid safe! Remember too when planning, the kids grow up too fast so try to be flexible with catering to their needs. Anyone have a good idea of what I should do with my 20 foot sandbox? My youngest is 7 and not interested.....hmmm, maybe a nice water feature, lap pool...
 
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Old 07-22-07, 06:55 PM
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Ooh, forgot this one too:http://www.michaelglassman.com/structure_1.html

Go and look all around his website. His water features are outstanding and also check out the outdoor kitchen. I'd kill for that!
 
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Old 07-22-07, 09:25 PM
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Thanks for the info. Im looking at the sites right now. Im wondering the people in your area that have courtyards, on avg how big are the areas? Are they fully enclosed or are they moreso loggias.
 
  #10  
Old 07-23-07, 04:53 PM
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We live on the coast between Carmel/Monterey and San Francisco just to give you an idea that these are some of the most expensive homes in the country(not mine though). The courtyards come in all sizes depending on the lot size and house size. The rules and regulations here are crazy and in general the lots are fairly small especially those overlooking the ocean and since you can only have x amount of house on x amount of lot, many make up for these limitations with bigger and bigger courtyards. Whether they are open on one side or fully enclosed depends on the area they cover and basically making the most of what they can squeeze into the lot or taking advantage of the ocean views.

Depending on the views and how close the ocean is, I would say most are fully enclosed. Many however have the opening at either the front entrance with a gate of some kind as the front door and many have openings at the back incorporating a deck/patio at the oceanside to take advantage of the view. Even these types have sliding glass or a fixed glass type of wall to block any cold wind though and still take advantage of the view.

Another thing you see here is a combination of a fully enclosed front "entry" courtyard, then the entry into the house and then still another fully enclosed inner courtyard where the room overlooking the ocean is the "biggie" for entertaining but still totally see through so from the entry you can see through the courtyard into the living room and still see the ocean view. I hope that makes sense. Basically they have the best of both and really push the inches as far as getting the walls of the courtyard as close to the curb as allowed!

Courtyard entry and also center courtyard surrounded by house because it does rain here and those who build a center courtyard with room doors opening into that were sol when it rained so hallways are a necessity! You have to be able to go from one end of the house to the other without going outside unless you want to get wet and cold at night! Another cool thing a lot of people have a mechanized coverings where the ceiling is covered with glass over the courtyard that opens up but can be closed too and that is really like having an all weather courtyard.

From what I understand, there are so many darn rules regarding setbacks, height of fences, etc. that what one neighbor has, the next neighbor may not be able to build and the rules change all the time.
 
 

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