HGTV Green Home 2012: Living Room Courtyard Pictures

An extension of the living room, the courtyard offers an elegant outdoor escape.

The permeable courtyard surface, paved in crushed granite and a locally sourced specialty slate mix, allows rainwater to seep to the home's subsurface drainage system.

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Club chairs and a sofa, fashioned from recycled plastic lumber, are topped with marine-grade, Sunbrella-upholstered cushions.

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Pliable, antifungal and antibacterial cube tables, crafted by Georgia artist Dwayne Bass, are fashioned from shredded rubber, then colorized with organically mined dyes.

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A hedgerow of gardenias offers a natural fence of privacy as well as beautiful blooms, foliage and fragrance.

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Overlooking the courtyard, the detached garage, designed to resemble an old farmstead wagon shed, connects to the courtyard via an illuminated staircase.

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Container gardens, planted with camellias, ivy and pansies, and set at the courtyard's four corners, provide color and fragrance during the spring and summer months.

A wall of energy efficient glass connects the eco-chic living room to the gravel courtyard, visually expanding the home's square footage

The courtyard's simple gray and white color palette was selected to continue the main floor's focus on neutral, understated furnishings.

Located on the home's north side, a river slick-lined bioswale directs rainwater away from the home and into a front yard rain garden.

The staircase landing provides a bird's eye perch from which to view the courtyard, living room and architectural details inspired by the Southern vernacular farmhouse.

A staircase, complete with dimmable LED riser lights, leads from the courtyard to the detached garage and an alley that runs behind the home.

Protected by a layer of pine-needle mulch, the embankment is softened by sweetbay magnolia, which will offer fragrance and shade, as well as black myrtles, English laurels, serviceberry trees and yaupon hollies.

Speakers, installed at key outdoor locations, will pipe music into the space. The home is wired, both inside and out, for a future sound system.

Locally sourced flagstone steps lead from the living room to the courtyard and also comprise the backyard walkway.

Along with downcast lighting along the courtyard's foundation and riser lights beneath each step, the glow from the interior spaces illuminates this outdoor retreat.