Originally Published on February 27, 2019. Last Updated on September 18, 2023.
Outdoor patios can take on any shape imaginable — there’s the standard square shape, circular, elongated, and the trickier to work with asymmetrical patios.
Whether your home was already outfitted with an irregularly shaped patio or you plan on building one yourself the layout will require some planning and creativity. Before you become overwhelmed remind yourself that round or unique patio designs still function the same as a round or square space, just with a little extra flexibility.
Below are a few tips on choosing the best patio design for your home.
Find the “Squares and Circles” of Your Patio
First, draw a sketch of your patio and make sure the patio fills up only 50% of the paper. Use the additional space to indicate what surrounds your patio — permanent structures like pools, fire pits, landscaping, grills, or doors to other areas are located, along with any existing outdoor furniture. Consider your patio a pathway to outdoor living and factor in natural pathways to hotspots like desired seating areas, striking a balance between your patio functioning as an entertainment area and as a pathway connecting your home to your yard.
Before you start considering furniture or layout options use a pencil to determine where all the available spaces are across your patio. Segment different spaces by drawing squares, circles, and rectangles. Depending on the size of your patio you may only have two spaces or several.
If you’re considering filling a space with furniture lightly shade that area in with a pencil. Remember that free-flowing patios must include clear pathways. When the spaces where furniture will be placed are shaded in on your sketch you should still see direct walking paths along your patio to the hotspots like grills, pools, the garden, and the back door. For example, if you have five distinct spaces only about three of these should be shaded in. Crowding a patio is a recipe for frustration and neglect.
Determine the Function of Each Space
Once you have mapped your irregularly-shaped patio and finalized which spaces will contain outdoor furniture you can move on to the exciting part — determine the central function of each space where furniture will go.
Choose a function based on your environment and your favorite outdoor activities. If you are a master griller and have a large grill pre-installed at the corner of your patio a dining set should be placed nearby to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Spaces near pools are great for chaise lounges, while circles overlooking a garden are terrific for a couple of Adirondack chairs to soak in the view.
Great patios contain spaces with a variety of uses to get your family outside more frequently. To get the cogs turning in your head mull over the following functions that each space could have:
- Patio dining
- Conversation corner
- Fire pit locale
- Sunbathing area
- Outdoor living room
Measure the Spaces
Before you begin your search for the perfect furniture you should understand exactly how much space you have to work with. For an in-depth look read our comprehensive guide on measuring your outdoor spaces.
Measuring your patio should only take a few minutes:
- The tools you need: a measuring tape, graph paper, a ruler, and a pencil.
- Measure all of the boundaries of your patio draw them to scale on your graph paper. Round to the nearest inch. If your patio has a unique shape without 90-degree angles use a carpenter’s square to get a more accurate representation on your graph paper.
- Measure the length of door frames and doors. Include these measurements and markers on your graph paper. Use the measurement of the length of your door to draw a quarter-circle with dashed lines to indicate where the door opens. This will help you plan the space with enough room to walk around furniture pieces without being blocked by an open door.
- Measure the length and width of any permanent fixtures like planters, a grill, or archways and include them in your drawing.
- Based on your previous sketch measure the length and width of your square and rectangular spaces to help plan individual areas. Measure the diameter of your circular spaces as well so you can purchase furniture with confidence.
Add the Furniture
Once you have a handle on the measurements and have chosen what to do with your spaces it’s time to fill them with furniture! One important tip before our recommendations: fill any awkward corners or empty areas with statement pieces like standing plants, water features, and sculptures. This is less true for spaces in the middle of your patio, but it’s a stylish way to fill out corners and blend your patio with your yard.
Here are our quick recommendations for furniture that fulfills each of the most common functions:
For a patio dining experience that is immersed in the sights and sounds of your backyard opt for a timeless Traditional Garden 6-Piece Farmhouse Dining Set. Perfect for a laidback meal, this classic dining set is contoured for comfort and ideal for yards that experience plenty of rain, wind, and snow throughout the year.
An unobstructed view and balmy summer days set the stage for some opportune sunbathing. Create a comfortable, inviting space where you can stretch out and catch some rays. The Nautical 3-Piece Chaise Set can easily fit into one of your designated spaces and contains five adjustable positions. The chaise lounges fold flat for easy storage in the winter, but they can be left out in the cold without cracking, rotting, or degrading. Remember, always tan safely — don’t forget the sunscreen!
Do you anticipate hosting friends regularly to share some drinks and enjoy each other’s company? A circular space is the ideal spot for a Vineyard 5-Piece Curveback Adirondack Set. These spacious chairs provide a cozy hangout spot where you can kick back and watch the world go by. The durable end table serves as the centerpiece and has plenty of room for everyone’s snacks, drinks, and belongings.
Fire Pit Locale
Are you a diehard fan of the crisp evening fall air? Does the thought of roasting s’mores send you into a frenzy? Upgrade the conversation corner by going for a fire pit that roars to life with just the touch of a button. The Vineyard 5-Piece Conversation Set with Fire Pit comes with coordinated, plush deep seating chairs with cushions that are quick-drying and weather-resistant. With a hassle-free fire pit the party doesn’t wind down when the sun sets.
Outdoor Living Room
When you plan on spending long afternoons sprawled out in the sun passing the time with loved ones lasting comfort should be your top priority. A Vineyard 4-Piece Deep Seating Rocking Chair Set boasts seating for three with the added convenience of a side table and a coffee table for the ultimate outdoor relaxation spot.
Maybe you’ve determined the function of each space within your circular or irregularly shaped patio, but are overwhelmed deciding on what furniture items to use. That’s okay! We conveniently have curated a selection of weatherproof, durable furniture sets based on the intended use of your spaces. Browse our options for different spaces to find POLYWOOD outdoor furniture that fulfill your vision and give your family a great place to relax and unwind in the comfort of your patio.
To help you plan your space, check out the POLYWOOD Outdoor Furniture Planner. We’ll ask you about the size and shape of your space, 5 quick questions total, and then provide you with up to three furniture set results.