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Mediterranean Courtyard

It's a family affair when Gina Muzingo and her siblings give their parents a courtyard makeover. Gina's not only surprising her parents, she also designed the plan.

It's a family affair when Susie Coelho and the Outer Spaces gang help designer Gina Muzingo and her siblings give their parents, Robert and Rosemarie Muzingo, a courtyard makeover to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary and Robert's 70th birthday. Most of this house has been redone, but the front courtyard has remained a relatively blank canvas for 30 years. The Muzingo children and grandchildren take it upon themselves to make this area into a colorful and comfortable Mediterranean-inspired space for the entire family to enjoy.

New planting beds soften the corners and edges of the courtyard and lush plants create an entry that any guest would love to spend time in. A two-tiered iron planter holds fresh herbs right outside the door and a family monogram plaque made of wood is painted to look like rusted iron.

Before

The Muzingos' cold and practically bare courtyard isn't a reflection of their warm and welcoming personalities, and they gladly consent to the removal of some of the concrete to make room for planting beds.

After

A variety of large pots are placed in the large planting bed and around the courtyard for additional height and color (tile squares are placed under them to protect the patio). Tall grasses fill many of the pots and a centerpiece of lavender plants is the focal point of the design. One pot contains a still-water pond planted with papyrus and water hyacinth.

After

Before there were turquoise-colored awnings and front entry door along with matching iron gates and railings comprise the existing color scheme of the Muzingo home. After, natural earth tones including golden ochre paint on the door, window trim and new shutters (the shutters were also stenciled with the Italian words for family, tradition and forever), plus updated green awnings and black/rusty metal accents, lend a Mediterranean feel to the home and enhance its Spanish architecture.

Gina Muzingo's design includes two seating areas, a large square paver design surrounded with groundcovers for a larger greeting space, new paint for the trim, door and metal accents along with potted urns nestled among wild grasses and bright flowers in new curved planting beds. Gravel will cover the remaining exposed concrete for the finishing touch.

Pavers are set in place and secured to the patio with mortar, and then two types of groundcover fill-in the gaps. Baby's tears are placed around the outside of the design while pink clover is added between the pavers. In a few weeks, they will spread and create a dramatic entrance to the home.

To achieve a rusted look on the metal gate, two coats of water-based paint with iron filings in it are covered with an activator, which causes the paint to rust. This prevents the fence itself from rusting and breaking down, so this method achieves a rustic look without damaging the metal (put a sealer on top if you don't want anything to flake off). The same process is done on the balcony and light fixtures for a unified look.

A cherished deer figurine makes its way into the new landscape design in the corner right by the front gate to welcome all who enter. Grasses soften its surroundings and the harsh concrete walls behind it.

pots and urns (Anamese Garden Pots)
paint: Poisonberry (chairs), Golden Ochre (shutters), Liquid Iron (fence) (Sydney Harbour Paints)
iron accessories (Griffin Creek)

pots and urns (Anamese Garden Pots)
paint: Poisonberry (chairs), Golden Ochre (shutters), Liquid Iron (fence) (Sydney Harbour Paints)
iron accessories (Griffin Creek)

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