The courtyard was born of architect Steve Kemp's vision for a truly green design. A central outdoor space replaces the conventional backyard, which would have required excess soil displacement and construction of retaining walls. "Now the 'yard' is open to almost every room in the house, rather than being open to one or two rooms," he says.
Composite decking forms a solid foundation for the courtyard, where a cedar and galvanized metal pipe awning has potential to shade interior spaces if used as a trellis for flowering vines.
With Georgia's moderate weather conditions, the courtyard provides a second dining area nine months out of the year. "I could seriously see having breakfast out there every day," says interior designer Linda Woodrum.
HGTV Green Home was designed to accommodate parties, large and small. Both sets of sliding French doors in the Georgia room open to allow traffic to disperse from the front porch through the Georgia room to the courtyard, and, with accordion doors open, into the kitchen, living room and courtyard beyond.
Vintage-style warehouse lights, originally earmarked for another project, are put to good use both indoors and out.
Fashioned from recycled milk jug lumber, the durable dining table and chairs are guaranteed to resist rot, splintering and cracking.
Drawing from the retreat's saturated color palette, place settings add the outdoor room's needed punch. Casual ceramic dinnerware and whimsical coffee mugs pair with more formal embroidered napkins and mercury glass vases.
A decorative arbor, constructed of cedar beams and galvanized metal pipes, filters sunlight and creates interesting shadow details. The architectural element echoes the design of railing details in the front yard.
A nearly 12-foot expanse of architectural outswing folding patio doors, constructed of high-performance, Low-E4 glass, ensure energy efficiency throughout the year.
A cozy machine-washable throw is folded at each seat, should chilly weather require an additional cover.
Variations of color in weathered sandstone, a product sourced in nearby Dunlap, Tenn., lend visual interest.
Tucked discreetly behind a stacked stone privacy wall, a gas grilling station offers its own concrete counter surface and capped ledge.
Decking sweeps along the south side of the home, connecting the front porch to the barbecue courtyard. Viburnum 'Spring Bouquet', planted in a container garden, will offer fragrant pinkish-white blooms in the spring and produce dark blue ornamental berries in the fall.
Direct access to the courtyard via its side entrance minimizes foot traffic inside.
Located on the home's south side, a bioswale, lined with river slicks, directs water from the roof and gutters away from the home's foundation.
In the side yard, red maples and chindo viburnum will shade and soften the property's hardscapes, while pink muhly grass, black-eyed Susan and purple cone flowers will control erosion and attract native birds.
An intriguing design element, the "zero-horizon" parasol, purchased in Atlanta, boasts a marine-grade shade skin and a flat umbrella shape that maximizes views.
The four-burner stainless steel infrared grill easily converts to natural gas. Undercounter carts offer storage and trash space; wall lights provide for nighttime cooking.
HGTV Green Home 2012 has been wired inside and out for a future sound system.
Even on rainy days and with patio doors closed, the courtyard provides a picturesque view from the kitchen and dining areas.
The barbecue courtyard realizes architect Steve Kemp's vision for a small home that lives large. With all doors open, five rooms become one large multipurpose space.