What is a courtyard? According to Wikipedia:
A court or courtyard is an enclosed area, often a space enclosed by a building that is open to the sky. These areas in inns and public buildings were often the primary meeting places for some purposes, leading to the other meanings of court. Courtyards have historically been used for many purposes including cooking, sleeping, working, playing, gardening, and even places to keep animals.
Its interpretation and use differ throughout the world. And has gradually changed overtime. Today, in San Francisco for example, the floor plans of “marina style” houses often include a central patio, a miniature version of an open courtyard, sometimes covered with glass or a translucent material.