Whether you’re buying a new house, building a new patio, or considering a new piece of patio furniture, you need to know how large of an outdoor space you’ll need.
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule. This can make the whole process complicated (and a bit daunting).
To make an accurate prediction, we need to figure out how you’re going to use the space first. Then, we’ll be able to determine the outdoor patio space you’ll need.
The biggest regret that most folks have is that they didn’t buy or build a patio large enough. Make no mistake — once the patio is installed, it’s not going anywhere. Sizing decisions must be made early on and they must be made with care.
As I mentioned earlier, the minimum size you’ll need for your patio depends on what you plan on using it for. Many factors must be taken into account.
For example, if you like to throw parties, you may need a large outdoor area complete with a kitchen setup. This would require a much larger area than someone who preferred small groups (or even outdoor solitude). Each subsequent feature will add to the minimum size of patio you’ll need.
Let’s dive in and examine how each of your desired patio features might change the requirements for your outdoor area.
Space Required For Entertaining
So, you like to entertain? I don’t blame you, and I especially don’t blame you for wanting to do it outdoors.
You’re probably wondering how much space you need for entertaining guests. As with most things, the answer is “it depends.” In this case, it’s contingent upon the number of people you expect at your outdoor events.
For a standing crowd, you should allocate about six square feet per guest. While you may think “Oh wow, I can fit 50 people in this 300 square feet space,” I urge you to reconsider.
Most events at home won’t be completely standing affairs. Folks will want places to sit.
For maximum comfort, allocate roughly 25 square feet per expected guest. If you regularly hold gatherings of 20 people or more, you’d want an outdoor area with 500+ square feet of area. Here’s a handy reference table:
|Expected Head Count||Standing Space||Comfort Space|
|10||60 square feet||250 square feet|
|25||150 square feet||625 square feet|
|50||300 square feet||1250 square feet|
|100||600 square feet||2500 square feet|
It’s clear that the amount of space you’ll need balloons quickly as you invite more folks. And at some point, you get diminishing returns.
Outdoor Dining Table With Chairs
Naturally, you want your guests to be comfortable. This means giving folks a place to sit!
Although it would be nice if we could calculate how much patio space you need using a simple metric of “1 person per 15 square feet”, we all know that life is a bit messier than that.
Once you add patio furniture like a dining table with chairs, that number is thrown completely off! Unless of course, you want people standing on the tables (which probably won’t happen until the end of the gathering anyway!).
So, how much space do you need on a patio for an outdoor dining table with chairs? Let’s look at some common products and figure it out together.
|Tangkula 7 Piece||59.5″ x 36″||~180 square feet|
|Devoko 9 Piece||43″ x 43″||~154 square feet|
|Best Choice Products 5 Piece||35″ x 35″||~103 square feet|
As you can see, you need between ~100 and ~180 square feet of patio space for the outdoor tables themselves. The chairs add a 2-3 feet gap on each side of the dining table. Because of this, consider padding the estimate by an additional 30%.
Space Required For A Fire Pit
Fire pits are another common fixture for the modern patio. And just like the dining tables above, it’s not immediately obvious how much space you’ll need to put one on your patio.
We already know it’s okay to use a fire pit on concrete (as long as you take the proper precautions). Let’s see how much space you need on your patio to include a fire pit.
|Landmann 28335 Fire Pit||23.5″ diameter||~34 square feet|
|AmazonBasics 34-Inch Stone Fire Pit||34″ diameter||~76 square feet|
|KINGSO 34″ Square Fire Pit||34″ x 34″||~96 square feet|
As you can see, you’ll need between 34 and 96 square feet on your patio for the fire pit by itself. However, you’ll want to add additional padding for distance from the heat, as well as the chairs surrounding it. For that reason, you should pad the final number by an additional 50-75%.
Space Required for Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor kitchens are peak outdoor space. A sure sign of taste is when you walk onto someone’s patio area to see a luxurious outdoor space to make food. I mean, just look at this:
However, these areas can take up a lot of patio space! But how much patio area do you really need for an outdoor kitchen? According to one of the most popular outdoor kitchen sets available, about 208 square feet!
As with fire pits and dining table sets, this doesn’t include area around the kitchen set necessary for humans.
Also, and as with anything, the larger outdoor kitchen set, the more space it will take up. So be sure to measure your patio area and make sure it’s large enough to install your target fixture.
Patio Space Needed Around a Pool
It’s hard to tell you exactly how much patio space you’ll need around your pool. It depends on the size of the pool as well as what you plan to put around it.
A small pool without room for chairs may be one size, whereas a large pool with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, ample walking area, and chaise lounges may be drastically bigger.
Here’s a guide to help you visualize how much patio space you might need around common pool sizes.
|Pool Size||Border||Total Patio Space|
|16′ x 20′||4′||~352 square feet|
|16′ x 20′||6′||~576 square feet|
|12′ x 24′||4′||~352 square feet|
|12′ x 24′||6′||~576 square feet|
|16′ x 32′||4′||~448 square feet|
|16′ x 32′||6′||~720 square feet|
|30′ circular||4′||~428 square feet|
|30′ circular||6′||~680 square feet|
|20′ x 40′||4′||~544 square feet|
|20′ x 40′||6′||~864 square feet|
As you can see from the chart, the amount of patio space you need for a pool ranges from about 350 square feet (107 square meters) to 865 square feet (263 square meters).
How to Measure Patio Size
So, you want to measure your existing patio to know if something will fit? Luckily, measuring patios doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you have a tape measure, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea.
Most of the time, you won’t even have to get precise measurements. Occasionally however, you will.
To measure your outdoor space, get a tape measure and a level. Start at one side of the patio and begin extending the tape measure to the other side. Make sure to keep the tape measure as straight as possible as you do this.
After you have the measurement, write it down. Remember, the faintest ink is better than the strongest memory.
Now do the same with the other side.
Then you can simply multiply the two numbers together, and you have the total area of your patio. This will likely be in inches or centimetres, depending on where you live. For example, a 100″ x 100″ patio would be 10,000 square inches in area.
Then you simply divide the number from above by 12 to get the number of square feet. In the example above, the patio would be roughly 833 square feet!