Spanish Splendor

Spanish courtyards are tailor-made for San Antonio’s semi-arid climate, and we couldn’t be happier. Influenced by Roman and Moorish civilizations, Spanish-style courtyards and gardens are ideal for creating outdoor rooms for entertaining or relaxing.

Spanish courtyards typically feature a spacious hardscape area, a central fountain, bird bath or basin of water, container plants and limited planting areas.

There are lots of trees and plants that thrive here and give you a Spanish courtyard feel. Here are a few options you could incorporate into your design.

  • Trees — Mexican olive, live oak, citrus, mesquite, crepe myrtle
  • Shrubs — Knock Out roses, coral bean, esperanza, palms, bottle brush, pride of Barbados, pomegranate
  • Cactus and succulents — sedums, spineless prickly pear, red yucca, agaves
  • Creeping and filler plants — moss rose, rosemary, and herbs of all kinds
  • Vines and weaving plants — crossvine, confederate jasmine, flame vine, evergreen wisteria

Bed areas are often limited so plants should be carefully selected. Invest in one or two large container in a vibrant color or classic terracotta to make a statement and plant each with a selection of 3 to 5 plants that do well in containers. Although patio and courtyard walls can be an investment, once in place they are simple to maintain and wonderful to enjoy.


Dana Nichols
Dana Nichols
As conservation manager at SAWS, Dana gets to spend her days promoting beautiful San Antonio landscapes that need little to no water while benefiting Texas wildlife. When she’s not working with her talented co-workers whipping up new landscape programs, she’s cooking up delicious dinners made with fresh herbs from her low-water-use garden or planning the next trip with her husband, Rick -- preferably to some exotic place that requires a passport.
Ask the Garden Geeks

Have questions, insights, or exciting news to share? Our resident expert Garden Geeks are here to help!