Originally Published on January 3, 2020. Last Updated on August 29, 2023.
How to Style Circular Patios and Decks
Pinterest boards and home makeover shows on TLC can transform circular patios and decks into zen works of art, elevating the lack of corners into an aesthetic asset. When you move into a home with a circular backyard, patio, or deck and start to plan the layout of your outdoor furniture, you will imagine modern minimalism, crafty curves, and family fun that fit conveniently within the confines of a circle.
Once you sketch out your patio or deck on paper and begin to get down to the gritty details, however, you’ll become aware of the central challenge right away — every piece of furniture has a flat back intended to be pushed against a wall.
Don’t fear! There’s a reason why circles are sacred shapes and a designer’s dream — when utilized correctly the singular shape can provide balance, flair, and focus to your outdoor areas. To crack the code of circle patio design, read on!
Make Usable Squares From Your Circle
The first step is to gather as much information as possible to make the process of furnishing your circular outdoor space painless. Head to the garage and find your tools — it’s time to measure your outdoor space.
Read our guide to measuring your outdoor areas to form an understanding of the basics. You’ll want to calculate the exact amount of square footage you have to work with so you can purchase dining sets or benches with confidence.
- When measuring a circular space, you will want to measure the diameter of the patio or deck (the length from one end to the other at the widest part of the circle). Divide the diameter in half to get the radius. The area of your circular space is the radius squared and then multiplied by 3.14 (pi). So, if the diameter of your deck is 20 feet, your radius would be 10 feet. 10 squared is 100, and when you multiply by pi you have a deck with 314 square feet of space.
Design your circular space by keeping the adage “less is more” in mind. You should always leave plenty of room between outdoor furniture pieces to walk around the patio and venture between areas without difficulty.
When you’ve finalized your measurements it’s time to fill you in on the important secret to furnishing your circular space: divide the circle into multiple squares where you can place zones of furniture based on how you would like to use the space. When you are shopping online for outdoor furniture pay attention to the measurements — when you add these squares they should not fill out all of the space, or your patio will look crowded and unprofessional.
What design considerations should you keep in mind when you’re working with a circle instead of a traditional square patio? Discover design inspiration for any space below.
Ideas for a Circular Deck
Most American homeowners use elevated decks to either cook in the refuge of nature or to create an outdoor living room where they can relax, doze off, and pass the time. Before you delve into design choices like contemporary versus rustic, or nautical sets versus farmhouse sets, ask yourself what do you envision as the one or two primary functions of your deck?
If you’re stuck and can’t decide exactly how to approach your circular deck read our guide covering potential uses for outdoor spaces to boost your brainstorming session.
Do you have a modest grill or a sprawling outdoor kitchen complete with counters that need to fit on your circular deck? To save space, limit your deck to a square dining zone featuring a sizable dining set and your grill and other cooking appliances opposite the dining space. Position the longest end of the dining set to face your yard or the sunset to provide a natural vista for evening meals.
Not planning on cooking your feasts outside? Combine a modestly-sized dining set with a larger conversation zone. A conversation area can include deep seating furniture or simple Adirondack sets and can be rearranged based on the unique curves of your deck. Circular decks allow you to position a coffee table or fire pit table in the middle of your conversation area and ensure each person can see everyone else.
Ideas for a Circular Patio
Circle patio design is only limited by the imagination — small circular patios extending from the balcony of your bedroom can look and function in a radically different way from a standalone covered patio in the middle of your garden. If you imagine a deck as dining and relaxation central, allow your inner designer to burst forth with your circular patio.
Patio zones can be personalized to your tastes. For circular patios, stick to one large zone in the center of the patio or two small pieces of furniture on either end. Patios should provide plenty of open space to break down perceived barriers between the yard and patio furniture.
What’s your favorite activity to do outside? If you’re a suntan junkie or have a poolside patio, opt for a space-saving sunbathing zone. A straightforward chaise set will create an easy square zone that can be rotated around the center of your patio throughout the day to balance your tan.
Are you eager to host friends for afternoon cocktails or evening bottles of champagne? Furnish your patio with a bar zone complete with a bar cart and a tall bar set to give you an unobstructed view as you relish your latest martini recipe. The La Casa Café 5-Piece Farmhouse Bar Set will fit all of your closest friends while taking up less than 100 square feet of space.
Of course, a dining zone is just as welcome on the patio as the deck. Patio dining furniture can be rustic or elegant depending on your tastes and can fit between two and 10 people. Do you imagine a brunch on the patio once a week? Go for something that takes up less square footage, like a farmhouse dining set with a bench.
Designing a circular patio is an inherent challenge. For further ideas read our blog on patio designs for irregular spaces.
Ideas for a Circular Yard
A circular backyard presents a specific challenge — you need to remove the “center” of the yard and draw focus elsewhere, otherwise, all eye lines and movement patterns will draw people to the middle of your yard. The easiest way to do this is to stagger your square zones in corners with space in between.
Even if you leave a sizable chunk of your circular yard as open turf for the kids and pets to play, try to avoid making this “open” area the exact center of the yard. You’ll see once it’s too late that the “funnel” effect this design choice creates will leave the rest of your yard looking like an afterthought.
Love to read or bird watch? Tranquil circular yard areas tucked under a tree canopy or underneath a balcony are shaded escapes where you can spend hours in the thick of a new mystery novel or simply enjoying a fresh batch of tea. A cozy set of garden furniture will create a seating zone where you can enjoy the pleasures of nature. Extend your stay away from the clamor of life by outfitting your garden benches and seats with all-weather performance cushions.
Are you an autumn person who can’t get enough of the crisp fall air and the sight of the changing leaves? Celebrate your favorite season without getting cold by setting up a fire pit table zone in an area of your backyard with a view of the horizon. Fire pit table sets take the hassle out of maintaining backyard fires with an adjustable flame — make s’mores and share ghost stories with just the push of a button.
Tackle your patio or yard redesign and embrace the power of circular spaces by skipping the headache and furnishing square zones with high-quality outdoor furniture. What did you decide to do with your circular deck, patio, or backyard? Sound off in the comments!