If you’re standing in the backyard with a ruler and your Pinterest patio printouts trying to decide how big your new patio should be, you might be overwhelmed.
You don’t want your cool new outdoor space to be way too big and cost more than it has to, but you don’t want things to feel too cramped, either, and have your party spill over into your pretty petunia beds.
What size patio do I need?
Ground Source landscape designer Eric Frisch says there’s no average patio size — the beauty of patio design is creating a space that perfectly suits your lifestyle. But he offers some helpful tips:
First, How Will You Use Your Patio?
“Mainly I want to know what the area will be used for,” Frisch says. “Dining, sun bathing, fire pit, grill area, sectional couches?”
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
Make a list of things you need space for on the patio to help determine your patio dimensions.
Do you need a grilling area? Have your heart set on an outdoor breakfast nook? Or a garden-view yoga spot?
Will you entertain big groups? Are you the go-to family member for holiday cookouts and birthday parties?
Or do you need a more intimate space, for cozy dinners for two or Saturday morning meditation?
Plan your use to help determine your patio dimensions.
Patio Sizing: Grab Your Measuring Tape
Measure your furniture, Frisch says, whether it’s a petite bistro table for two or a long table with room for all your cousins.
“I would look at the furniture being ordered or used most often and place it where it needs to go in order to design around it,” he says.
“The ideal thing for the homeowner to do is know what the furniture dimensions are and then put down newspapers, flags, or paint to mark where they would sit, then measure around those areas,” he says.
When figuring out your patio dimensions, allow extra space around the furniture to allow for scooting chairs out and navigating around the furniture.
You and your guests don’t want to have to awkwardly squeeze behind chairs or take the long way to get over to the snack table and back.
“If you’re doing a dining set with chairs, keep in mind people need to move their chairs back and walk around the outside of the table and chairs with people in the chairs, so make sure to allow for room to get out of the seat and walk around,” Frisch says.
Another patio sizing tip? Allow for some extra open area that isn’t designated for anything, Frisch says, especially if you plan to entertain out there and might need temporary extra seating.
A Key Patio Sizing Factor: Drainage
Maybe you’re tired of mowing and happily envision a patio that takes up your whole backyard. No more grass! Woo hoo!
Sorry, that’s a big no.
“You can't just pave the whole yard to eliminate all the grass,” Frisch says.
Municipalities won’t approve permits for projects that involve too much hardscape and don’t allow for enough open ground for drainage.
Usually the rule is only 60 percent of the property can have “impervious” surface, Frisch says, which includes your house, driveway, walkways, air conditioner pad, lanai, porch, and any other paved areas that don’t allow water to soak in.
If your property already has a lot of impervious space, that automatically limits the size your new patio can be. Landscape design in Central Florida has to take this into account.
“Drainage is very critical living in Central Florida, which is why most places have a 60 percent maximum impervious surface limit for the whole lot,” Frisch says.
Huge amounts of rain falls quickly during tropical storms, he says.
“We need ground areas to take that water in, or we’ll have flooding much more often.”
Drainage issues in your yard affect your neighbors’ yard, too, Frisch notes. If your too-big patio causes runoff that damages their home, they can sue you, he says.
Patio Sizing: Including a Patio Fire Pit?
Already stocking up on graham crackers and marshmallows for those tasty fire pit s’mores?
Make sure you allow enough room for optimum enjoyment.
“For fire pit areas, I use a minimum 15-foot diameter circle to make room for chairs and the pit in the middle,” Frisch says. “Anything smaller and the chairs will fall back onto the grass or planting beds around the patio.”
Be Creative with Patio Dimensions
Big Frisch tip: patios don’t have to be rectangles.
“Don't be afraid to use curves and creative inlay patterns to make the patio more interesting,” he says.
Some homeowners actually waste space by insisting the patio be a rectangle, he says, ending up with a bigger patio than they really need.
A paver patio is a great opportunity to have fun with shape, design, and color, Frisch says.
Consider your patio an extension of your home, he says — a great outdoor social space. He can design a patio that creates different outdoor “rooms” for different purposes.
What Size Patio Do I Need? Think Ahead
Don’t be afraid to think big, even if you just need a patio for now.
Is there a pool in your future? A pergola? A garden? Landscape designers in Central Florida encourage you to plan for them now, as those plans might affect your patio size and design.
Work with a Designer for the Perfect Patio Sizing
Make sure your landscaping company has a licensed landscape designer on staff.
A skilled designer like Frisch will answer all your questions, from how big your patio should be to what color and patterns will look best with your house.
They’ll have great ideas that might not even occur to you.
Ready for a Paver Patio Installation in Central Florida? Trust Ground Source
Frisch knows patio planning can be overwhelming. But he makes it easy.
Patio sizing starts with measuring and planning, but ends up with a backyard haven you’ll love for years. It’s where you’ll start your mornings, sipping coffee and listening to the birds chirp good morning.
You’ll relax away the afternoons here with a good book and a frosty iced tea.
It makes leisurely suppers and sunset gazing so much better.
Make sure you get it exactly right.
We’re patio installation experts in Central Florida, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.
Sod, irrigation, landscape design: let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you can’t wait to come home to.
Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.