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10 Helpful Tips For Planning An Outdoor Seating Area You’ll LOVE!

Don’t waste your money on backyard seating that is only ‘good enough’. Here’s 10 TOP things to consider when planning an outdoor seating area.

Tips For Planning An Outdoor Seating Area

You know that moment when you’re walking through Home Depot and you see that cute lounger or bench on sale and you think, I need more seating, might as well grab this.

Only to realize later that it doesn’t really match anything or fit your space and you just wish you hadn’t bought it. I’ve been there too. Sorry, Home Depot. It’s not personal.

I should have planned out my backyard living space the same way I plan my indoor spaces.

Planning your backyard space before you buy anything will save you time and money while giving you that grown up outdoor living space you’ve always wanted.

Image of a backyard seating space with text that says 10 Tips for planning an outdoor seating area.
Save time and money with these tips for planning a backyard living space.

Some links on this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. 

In this post I have the TOP 10 things to consider when planning an outdoor seating area. With tips to help you design an outdoor living space you’ll LOVE!

What To Consider When Planning An Outdoor Seating Area

Answering these questions will help you design the best outdoor seating for your backyard living space.

1. What’s The Best Backyard Seating Size For Your Space?

What is the size of the area for this seating? Will you need more than 1 piece for this space? Or will multiple pieces make the area feel cramped and small?

Even if you find a cute outdoor bench, chair, or sofa, if it’s too small for your space, it won’t look right. I always think buying bigger than you’d think is right, generally looks best.

Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
Here’s a look at our back patio looked like when we moved in. The seating was definitely too small for this space and we had absolutely no storage. It drove me crazy.

So, be sure to measure the space you want to fill and try to fill the area with appropriately sized furniture.

2. What’s The Most Comfortable Style For Your Family?

What sort of comfort level do you need? Will this be a formal outdoor seating spot where looks matter more than comfort? Or, do you want a comfy outdoor seating area?

Do you need a solid back on seating? How high do you need the seat, arms, and back to be? Low backs on outdoor seating may look cool, but they seem to be extra uncomfortable for my tall husband.

Adirondack chairs are popular because they are so comfy. The backs are high enough for tall people. And the seat height is just right for just about everyone.

See the highest-rated Adirondack Chairs on Amazon.

Measure the furniture you already love inside your house to pick the right heights, lengths, and depths for your new seating.

Image of a backyard seating space with text that says 10 Tips for planning an outdoor seating area.
I designed this DIY Outdoor Corner Bench so that the long arms worked as a shelf and the high back was comfortable for my husband.

3. How Many Seats Do You Need?

How much seating will you need? Do you usually host big family parties or lots of guests? Plan ahead for how many seats you need to avoid storing all of those fold out chairs for parties.

4. How Will You Use Your Outdoor Seating Area?

How you will use the seating? Would your family love to spend evenings outside having dinner and sitting around a fire? Is this just a play area for little kids?

Or, do you primarily need pool side seating and storage. Thinking about how you’ll use the space will help you narrow down the type of backyard furniture you should buy.

How I built my L-shaped DIY Outdoor Bench for $130, awarded 2nd place in the IG Builders Challenge, season 3
All wood or plastic-based outdoor seating is easy to clean when you have little kids.

5. Who Will Use Your Backyard Seating?

Who will use the seating? Is this a spot for mostly grown ups who will keep your outdoor living space clean? Or, will your backyard seating be a space for teens and their friends?

Maybe you need to consider older family members needs for easy to get out of seating? How about easy to clean seating for messy toddlers and little kids?

There’s a big difference between how teens slump and curl up on seats and where your Grandma would like to sit while having her morning tea.

Luckily, our backyard has great trees and pergolas providing lots of shade in our hot and sunny Houston, Texas yard.

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6. What About Shade And Lighting Requirements?

What are the lighting requirements? Does the spot need some lighting for night or even daytime use? Where will you need to place that lighting?

Maybe you need an overhead fan for hotter months. Will your outdoor seating are need to work around access to electricity?

What about shade? Does your outdoor living space get a lot of sun? Does your backyard space plan need to include sun sails or umbrellas? Do you need to keep the seating in existing shady or sunny spots?

See the highest-rated Waterproof Sun Sails on Amazon.

I'm so in love with this DIY Shabby Distressed Paint Finish. Here are the easy DIY steps and how-to video.You can get that perfect Vintage, Rustic Paint Look with 7 easy DIY Steps. #AbbottsAtHome #FurnitureMakeover #PaintingFurniture #Vintage #DIYIdeas #PaintTips
I’ve been using this Easy DIY Toy Box as backyard storage and a coffee table on our back porch.

7. How About Your Outdoor Storage Needs?

What are your storage needs? Do you need to incorporate storage into the seating? What about shoe storage, if you’re by a door? Will pool, gardening, or yard toys be kept here?

See the highest-rated Outdoor Storage Boxes on Amazon.

8. How Will You Use The Space As A Whole?

What are the overall plans for this backyard living space? Think about the space as a whole when you’re designing your outdoor seating space.

Don’t just buy separate things to fit separate needs and expect them to look nice together.

How will you incorporate all of your backyard seating, tables, and storage together? Do you need to set aside certain space for other things? Grills, toys, tables, shoes, fire pits, etc.

Wooden swing set made with pressure treated lumber posts.
I set up our Outdoor Dining area with a view of our pool and the kids DIY Swing Set and play space.

9. What Else In The Space Might Effect The Design?

What other elements of the space might effect the outdoor seating layout and design? Think about things like the location and height of windows, proximity to doors or things like grills and fire pits?

Does foot traffic need to flow through this outdoor living space. Make sure everyone has room to move around everything and you aren’t blocking easy access to any doors or windows.

Here's the easy to follow build steps, printable plans, and how-to video for this beautiful DIY Outdoor Sofa from 2x4 Pine Lumber with Cedar. Wood outdoor sofa or bench with a back woodworking plans.
After I built this DIY Outdoor Sofa, I had it in front of our kitchen windows. But, I quickly moved it because it was blocking the view of our pool from our kitchen table.

10. What Will The View Be Like?

What kind of view do you want? Think about the view you’ll have or want while sitting in your backyard. I LOVE looking at our pool and landscaping when I’m relaxing in our backyard.

ALSO, think about the view of your seating area from inside your house. You don’t want to ruin the views from inside your home to get a good view for your outside seating area. Try to find a happy middle.

Image of a wood outdoor bench made with pressure treated lumber. With a small 3D woodworking plan diagram image of the bench next to it.
Years ago, I built this Easy DIY Rustic Outdoor Bench next to my kids gravel pit WITHOUT thinking about the view. This bench looked directly at our pool equipment. I should have built it to face our pool.

That’s it for my Top 10 things to consider when planning an outdoor seating area. If you think about all of these things together, you should be able to figure out the best backyard seating design for your space.

If you’re ready to look at some backyard seating options, check out 5 of my picks for stylish and durable outdoor seating buys for small, medium, and large spaces.

5 Stylish And Durable Outdoor Seating Options On Amazon

Durable Outdoor Seating Ideas

5 Quick Picks For Nice Looking and Durable Outdoor Seating.

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Michelle Leslie

Saturday 6th of May 2017

Yours is still my favorite Stephanie ;-) and your tips are great . Outdoor seating is quite a big investment and we love spending time outside so choosing the right bench is key. Thanks so much for all the tips. I hadn't even considered some of them


Saturday 6th of May 2017

So kind. Thanks, Michelle. :)


Thursday 4th of May 2017

These are great tips for making outdoor seating!


Thursday 4th of May 2017

Thanks, Jessica!

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