On Location: Sunken Courtyard Details

In our final “On Location” episode in our recently completed case study house, we are looking at the sunken courtyard located on the basement level. This courtyard allows floor to ceiling windows at the basement level and allows lots of natural light into what would otherwise be a subterranean space.

A key design consideration with any sunken courtyard is drainage. In this location we have three primary drainage details. The first is a large trench drain located in the center of the courtyard connected to an oversized sump pump to collect and discharge any rain water. The second detail is a twelve inch gravel perimeter all around the courtyard base to allow any rainwater to percolate into the ground rather than pool against the house. The third detail is the use of landscape pavers as opposed to a poured concrete surface because pavers. Pavers allow some water to pass through them at the joints, as opposed to a poured slab which will deflect all of runoff.

Today’s Slides:

  • Steve in Van

    Thanks for featuring this house over the last few weeks.  It’s been good to take a closer look at details that help set a well-designed home apart from its fast-house neighbours.

  • ColoradoPermaculture

    I am looking for IRC code regarding using a sunken patio as egress. Obviously the doors would be adequate from the bedroom but would I need a stairway out of the courtyard or do the “benches” you feature here meet egress code? Can you be specific with your answer? Thank you!

  • OBmorales

    Hello ColoradoPermaculture, was your question ever answered, if not I have a few comments that I would like to share