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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble

Courtyard Before & After

When the tenants moved out, among the many changes I wished to apply to this renovation was enhancing all outdoor spaces so that each could have a different personality and become an extension of the house itself. The courtyard had a rough paving of old bricks and an old but working Hills Hoist clothesline, with tall walls of ugly red bricks and nothing else to justify coming here if not for airing the washing or walking to the garage. This area was possibly the ugliest part of the property, sad, hot, and dusty. It needed a great amount of tender loving care... so that’s some of what I did.

The walls:

Nothing helps to change appearances as quickly and dramatically as a few coats of paint. Like we did for the whole house, instead of rendering the old bricks, I chose to save that expenditure and use the texture created by the bricks as a feature. White, of course, in tune with my Palm Springs inspiration for this renovation. Taubmans Ghosting, not too bright, not too warm. The change in mood was immediate as soon as the paint went on.

watch more of this transformation at

The workbench: 

The kitchen sink that was inside, in the old kitchen, was saved from being thrown away. Old stainless steel sinks were made to last, and this one is truly withstanding the test of time. I had some basic joinery built in, a Caesarstone Palm Shade outdoor product cut as a benchtop, and that’s where we do our messy potting and mixing.

Outdoor Caesarstone benchtop and the old kitchen sink
Outdoor Caesarstone benchtop and the old kitchen sink

The garden beds:

To define the perimeter of the area, all I needed was a raised bed for taller plants to bring some shading to this sun-blessed yard and high enough to also double as seating. I used Brickworks Masonry Blocks to create this low wall. We also planted herbs here, which are thriving and used all the time for family cooking.

The pavers:

This element is the striking one !! This being a utility area, needed to be practical and for the pavers, we went with Brickworks – because why settle for anything less than sturdy, durable, and drop-dead gorgeous? This area is exposed to the sun from midmorning onwards, which is most of the day, and to help with cooling it down, I wanted grass in between the pavers, but Dichondra was a better choice as it is a hardy, non invasive weed that doesn’t need cutting like grass does... Isn't' this paving stunning?

Other details were added to this space, like adding a new Hume Back Door, a new Colorbond Fencing, a small gate to the back area, repainting the original clothesline in Taubmans’ Umina Springs Yellow (in stores), adding recycled shelving above the sink and beautiful Italian Terrazzo tiles over the steps… I’m truly in love with this outdoor space, which we use a lot now, in every season.

Brickworks pavers and masonry block were essential to transform this courtyard
Brickworks pavers and masonry blocks were essential to update this courtyard

For more info about the products used in this renovation click HERE and watch the online renovation show to see more of this house transformation: James Bought A House is online and free to stream on YouTube or at

James Treble has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. James is also an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for plenty of Design information. Watch his free Online Series to see how an Interior Designer renovates his own home.


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