What do you call a house that has a yard outside(an enclosed one with walls, though) and two or three rooms inside, and still it's not all that big and luxurious to call it a mansion?

I've searched for it and it seems that "villa" might be an option, however, it's a UK word and I want a US word. Moreover some image searching shows that villas usually have pools in their yards, while we only have a tiny garden with some young apricot and orange saplings and a single palm tree.

It might be just not as common in the English speaker's culture to live in such houses, nevertheless, I need to describe our house in some ways right away!

I also thought about "A large house" but our house is not really that big too. Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.


Here's an image from the yard and the tiny garden: enter image description here

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Jul 14, 2017 at 1:33

2 Answers 2


You are describing a courtyard house.

Wikipedia, though, warns, "Many houses that have courtyards are not courtyard houses of the type covered by this article." If the main rooms are around the courtyard it is a courtyard house, otherwise it is not.

  • 2
    Did you read that article? "Courtyard houses of this type occupy an intermediate position between a castle or fortress". I don't think that situation applies here.
    – Mitch
    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:52
  • @Mitch did you? "..the exterior walls may be windowless and/or semi-fortified and/or surrounded by a moat. Courtyard houses of this type occupy an intermediate position between a castle or fortress" is talking about one kind of fortified courtyard house not every courtyard house. Nov 15, 2021 at 16:50
  • @PeteKirkham OK sure. Not all courtyard houses then. Anyway, the phrase 'courtyard house' is entirely new to me (also 4 years later) and so, while it may be a well-established architectural term, I haven't seen any evidence other than Wikipedia (again there may well be lots of evidence, I just haven't seen it). That full article doesn't make it clear at all that it refers to the type of house the OP describes (and fortresses and castles are definitely not intended). There are lots of other languages with a word for it but in English it is just "house with a courtyard" or maybe "villa".
    – Mitch
    Nov 15, 2021 at 21:30

In the US you could call it many things. Without a picture it's hard to say. But there is nothing wrong with: large, luxurious, house.

Also, "villa", is not exclusive to Europe. We use the word here as well. Just an FYI.

Probably best would be to check this list here and see which fits your tastes and home type (if you really want something specific besides "home" or "house"):

House Types - Wikipedia

One name for a house smaller than traditional mansions, usually throughout suburbia in the US, is, "McMansion". However, be careful with that because it can carry a tone of derisiveness.

Common names for the type of architectures I've seen throughout Europe that we would also use in the US:

  1. Villa
  2. Bungalow
  3. Mediterranean style
  4. Cottage
  • Thanks, and I've included a picture. I think villa works best for my purpose if Americans use it too, but can I also say I live in a "villa house"? I mean can it be an adjective too?
    – M-J
    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:30
  • 1
    I would avoid that usage. It's a little like saying "I live in a house house". I would instead just use "villa". But you could say, "I live in a villa type house". That makes more sense because it distinguishes that you are in a certain type of home and that type is a villa.
    – Kace36
    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:39
  • 2
    @M-J "Detached house" (UK) or "single family home" (US) might be more accurate than a villa. OK, those images show large traditional villas, but it's no coincidence that is what native speakers imagine when the term "villa" is said.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:49
  • 1
    1) @M-J had already added a picture when you posted this; 2) saying "check here for an answer" isn't an answer; 3) listing common architecture types in Europe and the US doesn't really do anything; besides, bungalow and cottage clearly don't apply; 4) yes, of course, this is biased; I prefer my answer.
    – Unrelated
    Jul 10, 2017 at 5:50
  • @Unrelated was that for me? That's a little scathing. I don't understand some peoples harshness on this site. I gave the link as a means for him to check what was most appropriate. I was still editing when he posted the pic FYI. Also, the pic is not clear for us to really tell what type of architecture. So the list would help them narrow it down. Maybe they didn't find that list. I'll never understand why some people want to give negative comments when others are just being helpful. I love your answer btw. It does appear it might be courtyard but the picture is quite limited.
    – Kace36
    Jul 10, 2017 at 6:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.