Deck furniture layout ideas are just as important as the furniture itself. Just as you’d plan an interior scheme, the arrangement of your outdoor table, chairs, sofa, and even your accessories can make a huge impact on the overall look of a space and its sense of flow.
Even if you have the latest, most on-trend outdoor sofa, for instance, putting it in the wrong place can make it seem impractical or uninviting. A poor arrangement can also affect how large your decking or patio looks, block views, or prevent easy access to other areas of your plot.
Getting the layout right can seem tricky or even daunting, particularly with bigger spaces where there are so many different options to try. So, to help you get started, we’ve brought together key points to consider so you can maximize the potential of your decking and patio furniture ideas as much as possible.
Rearrange your space to perfection with these 11 deck furniture layout ideas
From ways to position your sofa to ideas for zoning, these tips will help you optimize your outdoor seating space.
1. Arrange your furniture into distinct zones
‘Create specific zones or areas in the garden – a place for plants, growing your own, relaxing, outdoor entertaining, a family fun area, and perhaps even a fitness area so that you can work out at home,’ says the experts at Squire’s Garden Centres (opens in new tab). It’s a great way to optimize a large patio or decked space and give your plot a sense of structure.
You can then address the layout of each zone separately to suit how you wish to use the spaces. It makes it much easier to create cohesive, pulled-together schemes this way; even if you’ve invested in the very best garden furniture, attempting to arrange it in a sprawling space can result in pieces feeling disconnected.
A great way to define each area is with oversized planters, as seen here. Filled with pretty flowers or architectural greenery, they will add beautiful color and form to your garden and offer a subtle screen, too. You could even add trellis panels to each, adorned with climbing plants, to make the different zones feel even more distinct.
2. Border your deck with wraparound furniture to maximize the space
Yes, there are lots of gorgeous sofa and dining sets available to buy. But opting for built-in designs has to be one of our favorite deck furniture ideas for a contemporary, low-maintenance setup.
If you’re planning a big outdoor makeover, this could be the way forward, and it’s a great way to maximize space. Just take a look at this scene for inspiration: wraparound benches, outdoor kitchen worktops, statement herb planters, and even a bar are all installed as a seamless border around the deck, creating an open-plan yet well-structured space.
Consider a cover overhead, too – a great way to make the most of your deck all through the seasons. As the experts at Harbour Lifestyle (opens in new tab) say, ‘For a romantic evening spent under the stars, a pergola is the perfect base to build your experience from.
‘Underneath your pergola, place a luxurious outdoor sofa set to snuggle up on, a coffee table for your midnight tipples, and a fire pit to keep you cozy after sundown. Adorn your sofa with chunky knit blankets and scatter cushions, and don’t forget an outdoor rug underfoot.’
3. Position a dining bench near your back door
Dining alfresco is a joy, whether it’s a lazy Sunday brunch with friends or a romantic, candlelit dinner for two beneath the stars. To enjoy such pleasures, a garden table is a crucial feature for any patio or deck.
Positioning it near your door will make it easier to pop indoors and out to grab extra tableware and second helpings and then to clear dishes afterward. And, the exterior wall will provide a degree of shelter if the wind picks up.
Consider placing a simple bench on the side of the table away from the house. That way, you can sit on it backward at other times of day to enjoy a coffee and a good view of your garden.
4. Place an L-shaped sofa in a courtyard corner
For social spaces, L-shaped outdoor sofas are a fantastic addition. And there are two main options when it comes to positioning them.
If you want to make the most of a view and open up the space, neatly slot the sofa into an existing corner of your deck or patio, with its back against the bordering walls, fences, or hedge. Alternatively, you can use the shape of the sofa to cut across an open space and define a cozy zone away from the rest of your plot.
Either way, be sure to include a small table or two in the scheme which will act as a focal point as well as being practical. Sofa designs with built-in end tables are also a good choice, as seen in this setup.
5. Arrange sofas around a central fire pit
‘Whether this is down to more of us taking our cooking, dining, and entertaining alfresco, or because we’re now becoming much more design-conscious with regards to our gardens and outdoor spaces, the fire pit is now more popular than ever,’ says Declan Kingsley-Walsh, Managing Director of Morsø UK (opens in new tab). And if you’ve invested in one for your space, they make a fabulous focal point for your patio or decked zone.
Whether a rustic fire bowl or a contemporary gas design, placing one of these garden features in the center of your space, with all seating facing towards it, will ensure everyone can enjoy the warm glow and the relaxing flicker of flames. And if you have a fire pit that you can grill over, it will make the cooking process feel more social – ideal for garden get-togethers. Just ensure your furniture isn’t too close – you want to ensure there’s enough space around the fire to keep the setup safe.
Again, make sure you have plenty of surfaces within arms’ reach of your surrounding seating for propping plates, drinks, and perhaps a twinkling lantern or two.
There are lots more fire pit ideas in our dedicated feature.
6. Tuck a bistro set beneath a window for a romantic seating spot
Of course, the first step is ensuring you choose furniture which will comfortably fit, with plenty of space for entering and exiting the zone. In most cases, your furniture will need to be positioned along railings or walls, maximizing the amount of space in the center.
A bistro set for two can be tucked out of the way beneath a window, angled slightly to face the rest of your plot to take in the view. If possible, you may want to consider adding a window box too, for extra planting potential without taking up floor space.
7. Create an indoor-outdoor feel by facing your furniture towards your home
Maximize a sense of effortless outdoor living by creating a seamless link between your interior and your patio or deck.
As well as using complementary or matching materials underfoot, you could use a repeated color scheme for your furnishings and accessories. And if your outdoor seating space is sunken, position your sofa or chairs to face your home – if you’ve got wide backdoors that can be thrown open, it’s a good layout idea for creating a sociable and open vibe.
8. Keep cozy with a slimline chiminea in one corner of your seating arrangement
Not all the best fire pits are suitable for putting in the center of a social seating space. Take tall chimineas, for instance, which may block the view of your guests, or electric heaters that need a plug nearby.
The solution is to tuck your heater into the corner of your seating space, as seen here. It will still keep everyone warm and encourage conversations to flow well into the evening. Again, put a coffee table in the center of the space, and maybe an outdoor rug to define the zone further.
Planters around the border, filled with bamboo or other tall plants, will cocoon the area and up the cozy factor further (as well as make it feel more private).
9. Place screens behind seating for a stylish backdrop
Speaking of privacy, if you’re opting for garden screening ideas, then be sure to position them where they can create the desired effect. This means carefully considering the viewpoints of your neighbors and using your screens to block the line of sight if you want your space to feel more exclusive. Or, maybe you need to identify areas in your own garden that you want to disguise (the compost heap or bins, for instance).
Arrange furniture in front, in a sociable layout. This scheme above is another example where the setup has been positioned to face the house, for that open-plan indoor-outdoor vibe.
10. Use parasols to help divide up your decking
When you’re considering the best deck furniture layout ideas for you, you’ll want to factor in how much sunshine different areas get. Putting a seating space in a spot that catches the afternoon sun can be much more appealing than putting it in a dark and damp corner that stays gloomy all day, for instance.
However, if you do pick the sunniest areas for your furniture, you’ll probably want some sort of shelter, too, for a bit of cool respite when needed. The best garden parasols can come in useful here, as they are versatile and affordable.
What’s more, they will help define different zones – see how here they make a dining area and a separate seating spot more distinct. The planter trick mentioned above also helps to break up the space.
11. Think about the direction your furniture faces to make the most of the view
When planning your decking or patio furniture layouts, it’s crucial to think about how the positioning of furniture will affect your experience of the space. And a big part of this, particularly with seating, is the view.
Here, a bar area is positioned away from the rest of the plot to make the most of the rooftop vista. It also makes it feel more private from the larger seating space – a good move if you like to throw large get-togethers where guests can spread out.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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