Ideas from the Zischke courtyard
The shade structure
The Zischkes' five-sided gazebo is about 100 square feet ― within a nearly 900-square-foot courtyard ― but you could substitute a smaller arbor purchased from a nursery. To provide shade, Jeff placed potted grapevines at each corner; when fully grown, they'll cover the gazebo. Until then, canvas panels block out the sun. Provençal tablecloths also would work well, as would any other colorful, lightweight fabric.
Colorful chairs fitted with striped cushions help brighten the courtyard's perimeter.
Lighting for every mood
"Nothing creates ambience more successfully than beautiful lighting," says Jeff, who designs lighting for restaurants. His chandelier casts a warm glow in the gazebo; sconces illuminate the courtyard's perimeter walls. Candles enhance the magic.
Pots for plants and style
Using containers of plants to soften a hardscape is a classic Mediterranean accent. In addition to grapes, Jeff and Gena grow potted citrus, geraniums, and herbs.