Step inside the coolest compact courtyard garden

Behind the walls of this city-fringe garden, an Auckland family have created their own courtyard oasis 

The secret garden

The courtyard garden has been around for thousands of years, its basic enclosed form adapted through the centuries to suit the lifestyles of different generations. So it is with this contemporary courtyard garden that Claire and Nye O’Shannessy have developed for their recently built Mt Albert home. Enclosed on three sides by the house and on the fourth by a boundary fence, their sunny courtyard is an oasis of sheltered private outdoor living. There’s no hint of the noise and bustle of the streets outside and there’s little wind to disturb the serenity.

Just as the inhabitants of the first walled gardens did, the couple and their two daughters, Isla and Neve, spend a lot of time in their courtyard sanctuary.

“In the summer the big sliding doors are open until late; it really is an extension of the house,” says Claire. “We eat out there most nights in the summer as a family and also like to have people round for barbecues. It’s so nice to see everyone enjoying the space.”

Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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