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Once nestled in the back alleys of beautiful Italian or French cities, courtyard gardens are popping up all over Melbournes inner city houses and lower apartment blocks. This garden style comes from the need to create a garden within a small space, often overlooked by neighbouring houses, and thus shaded for a good portion of the day. They create a little slice of greenery in an otherwise bricks and mortar landscape.

Key Features

  • Stone, concrete, pebbles
  • Layered gardens – tall plants as a backdrop, medium shrubs and then lower growing or groundcover plants at the front
  • Shade and part shade tolerant plants
  • Feature tree or two
  • Full garden beds, often very little soil or mulch showing
  • Small meandering paths or step stones with groundcovers between
  • Stone or concrete edging
  • Stone or brick paving, sometimes with a mosaic or interesting pattern
  • Usually no lawn


Low to high maintenance depending on what plants you have chosen. If you have a more manicured, formal style courtyard, you will need to do regular trimming and edging. If you’re after a low maintenance Courtyard garden, Cottage and Lush & Leafy style plants will be better suited as you let them grow freely with minimal trimming.


Secateurs, loppers, hedge-trimmer (if you have hedging), hose, gardening gloves


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