Plants for Courtyard Gardens

Updated November 21, 2016

A courtyard is an open space that is surrounded by buildings or by walls. Creating a garden in the courtyard area in front of your home or business will enhance the curb appeal of your structure. If you are an urban dweller, your courtyard may not be big, but that doesn't mean it can't be spectacular. Private gardens in the city are delightful when juxtaposed with the concrete jungle.


Hostas work well in a courtyard area, and they love, and thrive in, shade. A hosta is a perennial plant that is either green and white or all green, and forms a large clump of broad leaves. Bell shaped flowers develop later in the summer. A hosta generally grows wider than it does tall.

Red pygmy Japanese Maple

Another consideration for a courtyard garden is a Red pygmy Japanese Maple shrub, which grows slowly and doesn't get tall. It likes full sun but can adapt to some shade. The Red pygmy, which has reddish-purple leaves and small purple flowers that bloom in the spring, needs to be in a sheltered area, such as found in a courtyard.

Thornless Climber

Consider planting a thorn-less climbing shrub called the rosa banksiae "Lutea," which is vigorous and large, featuring large, yellow, rosette double flowers and smooth-edged leaves. This is a great plant to cover a wall or pergola in a courtyard, according to

Ornamental Grass

An ornamental grass such as blue fescue is a nice addition to a courtyard. It can be put in a sheltered or exposed area of your courtyard garden. This ornamental grass has brilliant, steel-blue, needle-like foliage. The colour is a nice contrast to the darker greens.


Jasmine is a vine that boasts fragrant white flowers that open from pink buds. The leaves are dark green. This plant is an evergreen twiner and a strong grower. It will spread, so you'll need to keep it trimmed within a courtyard.

Magnolia Bush

A star magnolia bush is another option for a courtyard. It is a deciduous shrub that grows slowly and has star-shaped flowers in the spring.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.