In towns, a yard was more important than in scattered settlements or in villages. In Sweden, a general building regulation was enacted in 1694 for towns in the area of modern Sweden. In Finland, there were no building regulations but building without a permission was forbidden. In 1856, a general order was issued. Even before that the town plans guided the formation of the yard.
Ever since the Middle Ages, the buildings were situated along the streets. From the 17th century onwards, the long side of the building was usually parallel to the street. The entrance was in the yard. After this, blocks could be divided in two. In the 18th century, the yards were still enclosed, and the entrance to them was a gate. Storehouses, sheds, stables, buildings for livestock and other outbuildings lined the site. However, for instance, a separate kitchen building may have been situated in the middle.
The wealthier townsmen started building two-storey buildings in the end of the 17th century, which gave a distinctive character to the yards. The building material was usually wood; there were stone buildings only in the biggest of towns. In Kuopio they were extremely rare until the end of the 19th century. In the 19th century, houses became lower. The yards continued to be encircled by buildings or high fences. At the end of the 19th century, the unity of yards started breaking because the entrances were moved to the side of the street. Nevertheless, it was not until functionalism came along that the line between public and semi-public space was broken for good as the clearly outlined yards disappeared.
The yard of the museum block is decorated with traditional ornamental plants. In Finland, the first lilacs were probably planted in Turku in 1728. Around the same time the Siberian pea tree became common. Out of the other plants at the museum’s courtyard could be mentioned the rose and the jasmines.
Flowerbeds first appeared in yards in the 18th century. In them both annual and perennial flowers were grown. In the museum block’s flowerbed, there are among other things aconites and columbines.