How to Makeover a Long & Narrow Outdoor Courtyard

Today, we're decorating a long, narrow outdoor courtyard that the homeowner wasn't quite sure what to do with, so she called in the big guns.

Because it's an end unit, there's an outdoor courtyard that wraps all the way around the back and the east side of the house. Read on for courtyard decorating ideas as we tackle this project.

Container pot with plants

Wall and floor color

I decorated the back patio the same as I always do, with lots of container pots of plants and flowers.

Outdated outdoor courtyard
Old courtyard chairs
Outdoor courtyard with flowers
Old courtyard furniture
Outdoor courtyard before the makeover

The east side had this long, narrow patio, not a brick floor like the back, but just stained concrete.

The first thing we did when we started this project was I consulted on what color to paint the wall and what color to paint the floor just so that it would be fresh and give us a good base.

I knew this would be more of a consultation-type situation where I would bounce ideas off her and not just bring everything and style the space.

Painting the wall white

Greek Villa was the color for that wall, which is not stark white, but a white type of paint.

I felt like the space was a small, narrow space, and so I really felt like it needed a light, bright color in order for it to not feel like it was small and to make it feel like it was a bigger space.

New Orleans-style

She thought her look was traditional, but she was thinking kind of New Orleans-y, which appeals to me because it's a courtyard. She chose urns, black shutters, we might have a little terra cotta look, and what color to do the floor. Now we're to the point where we're putting all the pretties in. We've pretty much got all the big stuff here.

Making the space cozy

We were still a little concerned about the length of the wall and that we needed to make the space cozier.

Mounting old windows on the wall

We came up with the idea of mounting old windows on that wall and putting some planter boxes under them with flowers.

I love the idea of hanging this window because it can be taken down and washed. It takes up a lot of room on this big wall, which is great.

Getting help

Originally, I thought that we could handle this project ourselves. We soon realized that we needed some help. A man named Willis Fritz came into my life, who, recommended by a friend, could do everything we needed.

Paint the wall, stain the floor, hang up shutters, hang up window boxes. He figured out a solution if something didn't work out just right. I just don't know what we would have done without him. So everything just came together perfectly.

Wall decor

I think the window is hung well, but I don't know how level it is. Well, maybe we won't know when the planter box is on there.

Window box with flowers

Let's see if we can camouflage a little slant. Oh, it looks straight. Yay!

DIY coconut liner

See this coconut liner? It's not what really was made for this, I just had to improvise, do two, and put them together because not one store in Mobile had the flat ones, the ones that are flat on the back.

I think that'll be fine. I added flowers for a pop of color. I just put them right in there, but sometimes, if they really dry out fast, I put a little plastic dish under it in here. Then you pop them out season to season.

Black outdoor furniture


We have an umbrella to put in, a table to put in, and pillows. Going into this long, narrow space, I'm always concerned with making sure that we are taking up that whole space and making it feel like there's something on it and it's not just a big blank wall.

However, you also don't want it to be too crowded like you're just filling it with stuff. So the big challenge for me was to make it simple but then make it full.

Tall evergreen holly shrubs
Patterned outdoor furniture

Focal points

We added these big, tall, evergreen holly shrubs in containers and little windows with window boxes and then a table at the very end so that when you walk by, there are just several focal points no matter where you are.

Black and white striped outdoor furniture

If you're inside the house and you're walking around from the back courtyard, or you're walking from the front, there's always something to look at in this courtyard, especially when you walk by from the front.

I wanted there to be a focal point down that long axis of the courtyard.

Black and white striped umbrella and outdoor furniture

That's why I love the idea of this black and white striped umbrella that draws your focus to the backside of the courtyard.

We picked out the perfect bushes for those big green urns. The big green urns are my favorite thing of all. Now we have big hollies in them that are just the finishing touch.

Flowers planted in a fountain
Flower window boxes

So we put all the flowers in, all the greenery, and everything is finished. I didn't think this space could be this pretty.

It had a chipping brick wall and a rusty concrete floor that I didn't know what to do with. It also had an air conditioner unit that was an eyesore.

Creating a lattice to hide the unit

We created a lattice surround to hide the unit without interfering with its functionality. It's amazing how it came together with layers of paint and some pretty flowers.

Design simplicity

It's not a crazy complicated design, but it's something that you can enjoy from the inside and something you can enjoy from the outside. It's easy to maintain, and it also has that view when you drive by the gate and when people walk by the gate.

We hope you were able to get some courtyard decorating ideas from this project. Sometimes, the simplest changes can transform a space. Let us know in the comments what your favorite part of this makeover is.

Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Terry Terry on Feb 04, 2024
    I would also like to know what you did about the stained concrete floors. It doesn’t appear to be stained, so was it pressure washed with some bleach? I know that you can stain concrete as well, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.
  • Jea21432968 Jea21432968 on May 03, 2024
    Am also curious about the concrete floor. No mention about what was done to that. It does look painted. I have an outdoor patio and an indoor screened porch that are both bare concrete. Would like to paint the outside concrete, but not sure whether to paint or use tile on the screened in floor.