"After decades of big yards and boxy homes, more homeowners are opting for a throwback to ancient days: the courtyard. Often enclosed on several or all sides, courtyard homes bring the yard inside, offering an extra layer of privacy and allowing natural light to flood into the house," says Abkowitz.
"The rising popularity of the courtyard is tied to the growing desire for indoor/outdoor transitional living," she explains. "Last year, 53% of architects surveyed by the American Institute of Architects reported an increase in clients wanting blended indoor/outdoor living, up from 46% a year earlier. Steven and Cathi House, architects based in San Francisco, estimate that 50% of their work involves courtyard designs; a decade ago, the number was closer to 20%. Gary Justiss, an architect in Chelsea, Ala., says 80% of his work now consists of courtyard homes, a trend he attributes to tighter property lines in densely populated areas and the growing affection for outdoor rooms."
"A slew of new building technologies—particularly in windows, doors and lighting—has also played a role."