How big of a patio do you need?

Are you thinking about building a patio or replacing an old patio or deck?  Landscape designers use a rule of function first when it comes to landscape design.  It is important that you make certain considerations for your patio so you end up with a beautiful landscape that functions to your unique needs. A landscape designer will guide you through making sure that your new patio works for you. This article will help you plan out what size you need.


What will you be using the patio for?

First, you want to think about how you will be using the patio. Will it be the anchor of your outdoor living area?  Do you need a place to put an outdoor fire pit? How big is your patio furniture?  How much seating do you want to have for your guests?  How many guests will you be regularly entertaining?  What do you want to include in your outdoor living area? Read more about landscape planning here. Use the following guide to give you an idea of how many square feet of patio you should be planning.


Planning Checklist

  • Two chairs – 35 square feet

  • Four chairs – 65 square feet

  • An outdoor couch plus two chairs – 130 square feet

  • Two lounge chairs – 65 square feet

  • Small table with two chairs –  35 square feet

  • Table with four chairs – 65 square feet

  • Table with seating for six – 120 square feet

  • Room in front of sitting wall – 6 square feet per foot of sitting wall length

  • Medium sized grill – 30 square feet

  • Fire pit with room for seating – 200 square feet


If you already have your outdoor furniture and grill, you can figure out how big of a patio you need by laying out the furniture, grill, etc. If you have new outdoor furniture picked out, find the dimensions and lay out your furniture and grill using flags or other markers. Make sure you have enough room to pull chairs back so you can stand up from a table. Also, make sure you have enough room to walk behind chairs when guests are seated at a table.  Mark the outside of the area you feel will accommodate your outdoor furniture and then measure the dimensions.  When in doubt it is always best to plan for extra space.  You may want to add planted containers or additional furniture in the future.


What shape do you want the patio to be?

In general, square and rectangular shapes give you the most functionality for a given square footage.  Most chairs and tables are going to be square or rectangular so you end up with less wasted space around the edges of your patio. Patios that are curved will look more appealing though.  Curves might also work better to wrap around a round table or a fire pit.  Everything needs to work together to give you a beautiful landscape.


Tips for picking your Patio material.

A patio is permanent so I recommend you think about how big you need before you pick the material.  That way your budget doesn’t dictate how big you make your patio or out of what material you use.  Learn more about building your landscape budget here. You might be able to phase out your landscape project or cut costs in other ways to make sure you create a beautiful patio that functions for you.  It is easier to add more plants the next year than it is to add on to a patio or tear out concrete because now you decided you want a more attractive paver patio.

If you want to hire help planning your outdoor living area, contact one of Landscape Associates’ landscape designers.