Here is our courtyard. There's a bunch of plants in nursery pots and I just installed a cover using shade cloth and some cedar lumber for the framing. Although we are using drought tolerant plants and succulents, many of them need partial shade or at least some protection from the hottest parts of L.A. summer. It gets quite toasty here.
The courtyard is so small, I don't think I will make a drawing to plan it out. On our travels to Europe a few years ago, we decided that Barcelona was our favorite place. It was the colorful mosaics, the energetic Spanish culture, their diversity, friendliness, gourmet seafood, sangria, and their art that attracted us. We decided to bring some of those Spanish influences into the design of our courtyard. It is a million degrees outside so this small project will probably take quite a while since we're not in a rush. There will be lots of crafty work including vertical succulent frames, perhaps acid etching the cement, and maybe install a console table or hang a piece of framed art. The ideas aren't set in stone yet.
Below are photos of a couple of plants that we're starting off with; Agave Victoria Reginae (Queen Victoria), and Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose). More to come later.