A relaxing outdoor seating area continues to be one of the most requested features from my clients. Here a few tips to consider when planning your own:

  • How will you use the space? For intimate gatherings? Large parties? Make sure you allow enough room to enjoy the area the way you would like to.  For instance, a sofa and two chairs usually requires a 10′ x 10′ space, while a 7′ x 9′-6″ space is necessary for a picnic table accommodating eight people. For larger gatherings, people standing in conversation generally need about 8 square feet each to feel comfortable.
  • What time of day will the space be used?  Plan on landscape lighting if the space is to be used in the evenings and on providing shade if the area will be used during the day.
  • Define the space. Using walls, fencing, overhead structures or trees and plants to delineate the edges of your outdoor gathering space will make feel like a true room.
  • Arrange furniture to enhance conversation. Face sofas and chairs toward one another and float them in the center of the space where possible.
  • Be mindful of the views.  Now is the time to address privacy issues or screen off unsightly storage sheds and garbage cans.
  • Give it character. Adding furniture, plants, sculpture and pottery that relate to your home’s architectural style and its interior design will help make your outdoor room more inviting, as well as create a sense of cohesion among the linked indoor and outdoor spaces.

As you can see from the examples of my design work below (click image to view larger), these tips apply to any garden style.


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5 Responses
  1. mpfinnegan

    I am so glad you posted because I was just thinking about your blog. If you have a chance, would you mind writing a post about creating a drought tolerant yard that is pet friendly. In particular, if not lawn, where can doggie pee?

  2. mpfinnegan

    See this is why I would love a whole article–I actually think you could pitch to the LA Times, etc. Doesn’t the pee get smelly on the decomposed granite? Our pooch is quickly killing our mondo grass because it is the most similar to grass, but these are questions I never even thought of until it was too late.

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