When it comes to patio layout, you have two choices: arrange the furniture willy-nilly, or arrange strategically. If you’re leaning towards the latter (as we hope you would be!), you’ll have to put in a bit more work to see the fruits of a well-placed patio set. Before bringing in or moving new pieces, measure the patio – this includes the entire space from one end of the paved floor to the other.
Also, remember that while layout of the pieces is important, so is material, durability and type of the pieces. Nail down each of these factors, and you can expect your patio revamp to be a one-and-done deal to last for years to come.
1. Dining Set With Bench
A dining set with bench: this is the type of layout designed to maximize dining seating in a small space (perfect for small patios). While three dining chairs can seat three and only ever three people, a bench, which takes up no less and no more space than three chairs, is not as steadfast when it comes to maximum seating capacity. Pictured here, dining set with bench is arranged below a kitchen window – a strategic placement which makes passing things from kitchen to table (and vice versa) a breeze.
— Patio Furniture Layout Tip: Don’t Forget About Shade —
While placing a dining set next to a window is great, if the window doesn’t have an awning or sunshade over it or attached to its wall in some way, shape or form, the better placement would be an area where there is a shade source. Sitting in direct sun for a while is uncomfortable and unsafe; if you don’t have a shade source of any kind for your patio, your first step in a patio layout setup is to incorporate one – whether it’s an umbrella, awning, canopy or pergola.
2. Dining Set With Firepit
This is a setup that will give guests an especially fun time by way of simply sitting down for dinner. This is because instead of a dining table, they’re eating around a firepit! A firepit design built with ledges around the center for table settings makes a dining experience that’s warm, in more ways than one. If you have a small patio or outdoor pavement area, this setup will also give you two for the money – a dining area and, when you’re not dining, a firepit lounge. The firepit/table pictured here comes as a set with matching seats designed for the size, but you can also mix and match seats (given that you measure the table’s surface and seat height)!
— Patio Furniture Layout Tip: Create Walkways —
Most patio layouts you see tend to be walkable. Placing a table and chairs off a patio door, for example, anyone can walk around the chairs and back to the door, and vice versa. If it wasn’t walkable, it wouldn’t be usable, and you and your guests wouldn’t be able to navigate from anywhere to the patio. Most patio sets are walkable and usable, but being walkable doesn’t always equate to having walkways.
The difference between the two is like the difference between going on a hike with a trail and going on a hike without a trail – the latter is still doable, but once you try the trail, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it! Strategize your furniture placement by creating comfortable paths (most landscapers recommend about 30 inches in width) between walls, support beams, furniture, planters and patches of garden or lawns.
3. U-Shaped Sectional
If you haven’t tried a u-shaped sectional for party guests and lounging in a patio setting yet, you really, and we can’t stress this enough, don’t know what you’re missing. These designs bring contemporary style to make the outdoor space come alive and a thousand times more comfortable. They’re also unlikely heroes of small space-designs; the “u” shape makes it so that the seating comes around almost full-circle, versatile enough for patios small and large.
— Patio Furniture Layout Tip: Go Modular —
Whether u-shaped, l-shaped or round, many sectionals are available in modular designs, which means that the seats can be separated into two or three seating areas or arranged together to form a full sectional. This is a great option if your purposes tend to change.
If one day you need more space in a patio for children to play, simply move one or two parts of the sectional to the side while you lounge on a single chair to watch the kids. If, on another day, you need more seating for a movie night or social hour, bring the pieces back together. If it’s a small gathering of two or three, keep just the sofa. If it’s a slightly larger party of three or four, keep the sectional full-size. For whatever your purpose or needs, modular seating is a lifesaver.
4. Sofa With Chair
This sofa with chair layout is simple without compromising on style or practicality. Paired with a coffee table and under a shade-supplying roof, it’s the perfect setting for an afternoon of reading, writing (or whatever your craft!) or enjoying the company of friends and family. The patio floor’s grid tile itself adds pattern and the outdoor rug contrast and texture to the setting. One of the subtler details of the layout here is the furniture’s legs in relation to the rug – note that only the front legs of the ottoman, sofa, chair and side table rest on the rug, for a spacious feel.
— Patio Furniture Layout Tip: Incorporate Lighting —
Unless you live in an area with zero cloudy skies and where the stars and moon shine so brightly that you can read by their light alone, a patio furniture layout at night is useless without lamps. When planning a layout, think about the layout’s purpose and incorporate type and size of lighting from there. For a patio serving as a lounging space only, a few lanterns and the occasional string light is enough and creates ambiance; for one serving as a nighttime dining space, an outdoor umbrella with lights casts a larger area of illumination (making it easier to see your food)!
5. Sofa With Loveseat
For a slightly different take on the sofa with chair: an outdoor sofa with loveseat. This arrangement amps up the seating capacity in about the same amount of space that a single chair would have taken up. Loveseats, of course, can also be enjoyed by one person alone for an extra-spacious, extra-comfy lounge. Arrangements can vary, but to make the most of a limited patio floor plan, place the loveseat perpendicular to the sofa. Throw in a coffee table to fill in the middle space and an accent chair or two for extra seating, if necessary.
— Patio Furniture Layout Tip: Arrange Purposefully —
A patio layout can be many things – a place to read, dine, watch movies, roast marshmallows, host parties and workout are just a few. An arrangement that works for one purpose won’t work for all, so identify how you will be using your space the most. If you don’t entertain that much, you won’t need as much seating, which means that you’ll have more freedom to play around with space and arrangement with the furniture pieces you do need. If you entertain often, make seating your first priority; think about walkways, the direction in which the seats are faced (do they offer a view? are they conversation-friendly?) and versatility (are you able to easily move pieces based on number of guests?).
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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.