A step into Sarah Ssentongo Kisauzi’s kitchen, will draw your attention to an open window to an inner courtyard.
The courtyard is accessed through a corridor that goes past the dining room and the lobby. The walls are pink, and the floor paved.
Within the courtyard on the left-hand corner is a flower pot that lies low on the pavers, in the middle is a palm tree surrounded with flowers. Slightly above the palm tree is a balcony.
Arranged with tables and chairs, it is here that Kasuzi and her family spend the evening admiring the beauty of the night stars.
“I picked the idea of an interior courtyard from the different countries my husband and I traveled to. When we started constructing, we felt the need to implement the idea of an indoor courtyard in our dream house. This was brought to reality by engineer Washington Ssentongo,” she explains.
Noting that the reason she decided to have an interior courtyard is the fact that it provides privacy and is a peaceful place to rest after the day’s hustle.
“An indoor courtyard is a safe haven where I can freely spend the night admiring the sky without worrying about intruders. Like any room in the house, an interior courtyard requires a strategic plan
Planning for a courtyard
Rashid Ssenyonjo of HIL Consults, says courtyards can be incorporated into many different types of houses, and these are named depending on the function one needs it for.
For whichever type of courtyard, you may need, share the idea with your architect. This needs to be done during the initial planning phase. However, this must be the client’s idea.
“For anyone interested in having either an interior courtyard or any kind of courtyard, these do not have a fixed shape. But depending on what one wants, these can take a circular shape, square or rectangular. However, the size of your land and the purpose for which you want it for determines the kind of shape your interior courtyard can take,” he explains, noting that courtyard enclosures such as walls, doors, and windows need to be considered as well.
The doors and windows opening towards the courtyard need to be large enough. This will add to the beauty of your interior courtyard.
“Interior courtyards are not a common trend in Uganda, but if you opted for one. It is advisable for you to hire a professional architect and a structural engineer to help you pull off the right design.”
Once incorporated in your house, interior courtyards come with a number of advantages as Kisauzi explains.
“A courtyard between the kitchen and living room is a perfect place for entertaining guests. When I get visitors that come along with children, I tend to entertain the adults in the courtyard and also let the children enjoy their time in the compound. In other words, we are not interrupted,” she expresses
Revealing that an interior courtyard gives the house a new setting and creates a different atmosphere.
She says each time you are welcoming your visitors into the sitting room, it at times gets boring. But with an interior courtyard, you can always welcome them to a different setting and environment.
In addition, Ssenyonjo mentions that an interior courtyard is an ideal spot for reflection, meditation, reading, or enjoying a cosy chat.
It can also be a place to unwind, entertain, connect with nature, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. You can as well enjoy the difference between changes without stepping out of your home. It is ideal for natural ventilation.
“For people located in areas with high tempters like in the northern part of the country. interior courtyards can be used for sleeping during the night,” Ssenyonjo says.
Enhancing your courtyard
Michael Ssozi, a landscaper, says the fact the courtyard is indoors yet with an open roof, you can beautify the walls to suit your interior decor. Paint the walls with weatherproof art, select a colour that matches your style.
Choose cool colours, such mint green, ocean blue, lavender as they will make the space feel larger.
“Some people can decide to have it paved or with grass in it. It is the floor setting that will guide whether to add flower pots or flower gardens,” he explains.
Climber flowers also add beauty to the walls. Mounting lights or candles on the wall is a good idea.
“The options are endless when it comes to landscaping.