Front and backyards are wonderful spaces to enjoy the outdoors, but a courtyard is an inviting and private haven that brings the outdoors inside in a way no other room can. If you’re planning on purchasing a Trilogy home with a courtyard in the floorplan, consider yourself lucky. Courtyards offer beauty, a relaxing atmosphere, natural light, and so much more.

How can you make the most of this alluring outdoor space? Here are five great ways to create a magnificent courtyard that you’ll take advantage of every day:

Include a dining table. One of the best uses for a courtyard is dining, and a weather-resistant patio table and chairs set can create an appealing spot for pre-dinner appetizers, morning coffee, or dinner parties with neighbors. Make it easy to set the table at a moment’s notice by adding a bar serving cart stocked with plastic dishes and linens.

Plant herbs, flowers, or both. If your courtyard is off the kitchen, having a few pots of your favorite herbs and spices is a simple and easy way to amp up your farm-to-table cooking. Talk with your local home gardening center about what herbs grow best in pots in your specific conditions (thinking about humidity and sun hitting the space). Generally, chives, sage, rosemary, parsley, and basil are good ones to try, as they are versatile for cooking and grow well in pots. To add color, disperse a few bright flower pots or potted trees throughout as well.

Hang lighting. Lighting is one of the easiest ways to transform an open-air patio into a delightful evening paradise. Drape string lighting (electric powered or solar powered) across your courtyard with the help of a staple gun. Or, get as elaborate as you like. Try LED lighting under patio furniture for a contemporary look, rail lighting around the edges of the courtyard, solar pathway lighting, or floor and tabletop lanterns.

Add comfortable seating. The key to creating a cozy outdoor space is to have seating that is as comfortable as it is functional. If you’re going for weather-resistant furniture, be sure you try it out first, as nothing will prevent you from using your outdoor room more than pieces that look good but aren’t enjoyable to sit on. Look for outdoor sectionals and couches with removable cushions to avoid having your furniture ruined by the sun or rain, and set a storage bin nearby for quick stowing.

Appeal to the senses. If you don’t have the option to have a built-in fireplace in your courtyard, try a portable fire pit, which adds elegance and warmth – literal and figurative. Consider a water feature like a gardenfall or fountain. And for daytime ambiance, incorporate elements that soothe and relax, such as a birdbath or sculpture garden.

With a little planning and design, your courtyard will fast become an inviting escape that beckons you outside morning and night. Don’t overlook this amazing space. Rather, think about how to use it in your daily life. It is a unique and fantastic feature that can offer you and your guests a delightful place to visit, dine, and make lasting memories.