Ornamental courtyard gardens were a luxury to create and maintain. The presence of a courtyard garden on an estate indicated the owners were wealthy, educated people. Records show that the garden layout was based upon a garden in Sterling, Scotland. Archeology revealed that the Belvoir courtyard was about 1,000-square feet in size with paths dividing it into equal sections. It is likely that decorative plants, flower beds, and small fruit trees lined these paths.
Two buildings thought to be garden houses, or greenhouses, were located at the northeastern and southeastern corners of the courtyard. These buildings may have been used to store gardening tools, delicate plantings, and other gardening items. The buildings provided an architectural frame for the courtyard garden which was enriched by brick walls. These protected the garden from wild and grazing animals. A similar design was used throughout the colonies and may be seen today at Mount Vernon.
Of necessity Belvoir plantation was self sufficient. It had a kitchen garden where the family grew vegetables. Outside the walled courtyard, the family had an orchard.