This blog post comes to you through a recent conversation I had with a landscape client in Washington, CT regarding an outdoor entertaining area. I posed a question regarding use. How did they plan to use this new outdoor room and with how many people? Knowing that question will define the needed space for the future patio.
I drew this diagram to explain to the client how I came up with the width of their patio. As you can see, a minimum of 3′ is required to back away from a table and stand up as well as walk around the table while someone is seated in a chair. If steps are behind someone sitting at a table, that minimum should bump up to 5 to 6 feet. As far as how many you can comfortably seat at a table, you need a minimum of 2 feet of table length for each person. If the plan is to use an 8 foot rectangular table with people sitting on both ends you will need a patio at least 14 feet wide. When designing outdoor spaces, flexibility is the key. When figuring the minimum size of a patio always allow enough room so that a table and stairs will work together. Never assume the table will always be placed in the same location. For that reason, I would suggest adding another 2-3 feet to the width of the patio in case the table ends up near the stairs, there will be plenty of room. In that case, the minimum patio width is 16-17′ for a 8′ rectangular table seating 10.