Outdoor Oasis: Serene European-Style Courtyard

Once a dry field, this property in Ojai, Calif., now looks like something out of the south of France, complete with a formal courtyard. Here, a narrow pool runs through a tunnel of mulberry trees and inspires the owners to bask in the quiet beauty of their surroundings.

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Photo By: Alicia Cattoni

Vegetable Garden With Hedges

This vegetable garden is full of story book charm, with its green gate entry and hedge border. Seasonal vegetables and herbs are used in the homeowners' organic cooking.

Vine-Covered Home Exterior

Ivy and flowering vines give this home the look of a fairy tale cottage. Pots: Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Vegetable Garden With Hedge Wall

Thick hedges enclose this estate's organic vegetable and herb garden. Outside the garden is a fruit orchard.

Gravel Courtyard With Pool

The design of this home's courtyard takes a page from the south of France, with globe-shaped topiaries lining the pool and pollarded mulberry trees.

Mediterranean Courtyard With Pool

A narrow pool stretches the length of the courtyard, the jewel in the middle of the Mediterranean-inspired space.

Courtyard With Mulberry Trees

The courtyard's fruitless mulberry design were pollarded, to give them an architectural look in keeping with the space's French style.

Iron Outdoor Table and Chairs

Wrought-iron furniture was custom-made to fit the French style of this courtyard; the seat cushion's color was chosen to complement the gravel and stone elements. Dog gets definite cute points.

Courtyard With Pool and Topiaries

The peaceful courtyard is meant for relaxing, entertaining and escaping the busyness of the world. Multiple sitting areas are sprinkled around the large space.

Gravel Courtyard With Clipped Bushes

To keep the landscape interesting, but also drought-sensitive, designers used clipped, round bushes to punctuate the pea gravel.

Courtyard With Lounge Chairs

The courtyard's two levels were designed to create visual interest in the large space. Clipped round shrubs dot the gravel in a fun touch of whimsy.

Courtyard With Hedge and Pool

With its hedge border and mulberry tree shade, this courtyard could easily be part of a French villa. But instead, the home is located in Ojai, California. Sustainable landscaping is perfect for the drought-prone region.

Formal Courtyard With Pool

This pool was designed in European style, without tiles. The ground surrounding the pool has a bird's eye pea gravel cover, chosen because it's small enough to walk on comfortably barefoot.

Gravel Courtyard With Stone Wall

The stone used to build the wall surrounding this courtyard was locally sourced in Ojai. French green gates are a pretty choice and partner well with the vines and trees.

Outdoor Stone Fireplace With Vines

A stately stone fireplace holds court over this outdoor sitting area.

Courtyard and Orchard

A large courtyard is positioned parallel to this estate's fruit orchard, the two spaces separated by a hedge. Throughout the property, charming details, like the St. Francis statue seen here, bring a special magic.

Stone Wall With Green Gates

Pretty green gates allow passage between this home's courtyard and the adjacent fruit orchard.

Orchard With Paths

The property's large fruit orchard is bisected by pea gravel paths. Follow them to seasonal herb and vegetable gardens, as well as a pomegranate hedge.

Outdoor Niche With Statue

A niche in this stone wall holds a lovely statue, perfectly complemented by her setting.

California Estate

This Ojai, California property went from dry field to south of France paradise, with sustainable, drought-tolerant landscaping.

Dirt Road and Hedges

This California estate in Ojai includes a 100-year-old stone house surrounded by fields. There are fruit orchards, as well as vegetable and herb gardens.

Courtyard With Green Chair

The stones used for the courtyard's steps, outer wall and pool trim were sourced from the local Ojai region.

Stone Wall and Slim Trees

Trim, upright evergreens make perfect sentries outside this garden wall.

Courtyard Corner With Red Chairs

Orb-shaped shrubs, spire-like trees and green climbing vines fill this courtyard with dynamic visual interest. Hard to believe you're not in the south of France.

Hedge and Trees

This yard's tall hedge is punctuated by slim, sentry-like evergreens. The hedge provides privacy to the courtyard and also is a shelter against the wind.

Lion Fountain in Courtyard

A noble lion fountain is right at home amidst the clipped hedges and grand landscape design of this formal outdoor space. Fountain: Eye of the Day

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