The History (& Future) of Courtyard Living



Ahh, the appeal of a courtyard! Active adults are particularly drawn to the courtyard style of homes, which have been back in vogue since the early

2000s, and for good reason: they’re comfortable, energy efficient, great for entertaining, and are a superb source of natural light for the central parts of the home.

Courtyards Have A Long History

Some housing trends go in and out of style over the course of a few decades, or maybe even a century. Homes with courtyards back a few millennia – four and a half thousand years, in fact, according to archaeological data!

In the beginning, homes were built “fortress-style” around a central courtyard for safety, convenience, and energy efficiency, even if the homeowners didn’t use that terminology.

From a safety standpoint, it was difficult for a herd of mammoths to breach the exterior walls to graze upon a farmer’s crops, or for children or livestock to wander away when contained within the walls of a courtyard.

Courtyards were convenient for parents and family groups, who could go about their chores without worry of where their offspring had wandered off to. In addition, homes often were large, with extended families sharing a single home – and courtyard, so borrowing a cup of sugar (or kindling for the hearth fire) was as simple as walking across the courtyard.

Exposed exterior walls afforded more space heated by the sun, which allowed for better temperature control inside the home. Two thousand years ago, Romans created water collection systems from their roof tiles to basins kept within the courtyards. These systems provided clean water for drinking and cooking, without having to haul it from the middle of town or from a nearby river.

The Future Of Courtyards

Courtyards and front porches are a few of the signature features of each Windsong home and community, and have been so since the company was founded in 2003, for many of the same reasons courtyards were so popular over 4,000 years ago.

Windsong courtyards provide privacy for that morning newspaper and cup of coffee, as well as space to plant container or raised-bed gardens, free from deer and other foraging critters. With a fence at each end of your outdoor space, you can let the dog out without a leash, and have peace of mind if the grandkids want to play outside. And while we don’t recommend rain collection containers for drinking and cooking, many Windsong homeowners have fountains and fire pits in their courtyards, which add to the distinctive ambiance of carefree living.

The reasons for building a home with a courtyard may have changed over the last 4,500 years, but the appeal certainly hasn’t. They’ve been a part of every home we build for the past 13 years, and we’ll keep building beautiful outdoor spaces for active adults to enjoy.

Welcome to Windsong, Where Life’s A Breeze!

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