What is the best shape garden table for your outdoor space?

A good patio or deck provides you with the outdoor living space for you, your family and any guests you would like to entertain.

A good patio or deck provides you with outdoor living space for you, your family and any guests you would like to entertain. Adding the perfect garden furniture to the area provides the perfect spot for enjoying meals, BBQs, a cup of tea or any other table-based activities you might want to do outside when the sun is shining.

However, deciding on the right size and shape of garden table to buy takes a little more consideration than you might think. Different shapes offer distinct advantages for the patio area itself. Be it oval, round, square or rectangular-shaped, picking the right one to suit your needs and the size/shape of your patio is a tricky one that's worth getting right.

The nature of a patio table is such that it tends to define your outdoor space. It will divide your patio or decking area up into various walkways, which will then force people to travel left or right, along or aside the garden table itself. It is essentially the backbone of your patio, and at the same time, it will define the nature of interactions in that space.

Conversations will occur across its surface, drinks will be shared, and the overall nature of the patio will be defined by its very presence. All sounds deep, but don't fear... Lazy Susan is here to help you decide what shape garden table will best fit your outdoor space.

What shape garden table should you buy?

When selecting the best shape garden table it’s very important to be guided by the inherent shape of your patio or decking where the furniture set will sit.

If the space features a lot of curves, then you'll want a table that will complement those curves as shown above with our 6-seater Amelia set. On the other hand, a more straight-lined contemporary space would be better suited to a square table such as our 4-seater Lucy set.

Another important factor to consider is the space limitations of your patio. A round or oval-shaped table will always take up less space than a similarly sized square or rectangle-shaped table. This is because the curve means that there are no corners sticking out into the space.

However, a square or rectangle table on the other hand can be pushed against a wall or into a corner, therefore allowing you to save some space.

What style garden table should you buy?

Another element to consider is the style factor of a round vs. square table. A square table is often considered to be the more modern and contemporary style, while the softly flowing curves of a rounder table will tend to evoke ideas of a more classic traditional look. 

The difference between a round and a square outdoor table will involve ideas of both style and space. It’s important to understand the nature of your outdoor space, and the purpose of the table, before actually going out and selecting a new set of garden furniture and the tips below will steer you in the right direction.

Lazy Susan's garden table shape tips

  • What will you use the table for?
    Think about how you and your family will use the table. List the activities that will take place at the table such as family BBQs, coffee for two on a Sunday morning etc and think about which table shape is best suited to these activities.
  • What is the size of your patio or decked area?
    Measure the amount of space available on your patio. The shape of the table can impact the size and how well it fits into the space. Keep in mind the amount of space needed for leg room, moving chairs in and out from under the table, as well as the space needed to comfortably walk around the patio table when people are seated.
  • How many people would you like to seat?
    Consider the average number of people who will sit at the patio table at any one time. Oval or rectangle patio tables are generally longer so they can accommodate more people, whereas squares and circles have less useable seating space.
  • What other shapes do you have in your garden?
    Look at the other shapes in your garden. Determine if you have a lot of curved lines or sharp angles in the architecture and other features such as the style of your home and the shape of your lawn. Getting a table with similar lines will help it blend in with its surroundings. On the other hand, choosing a table with contrasting lines can make a design statement that can take centre stage. Consider the layout of the patio where the table will sit. If the patio has a curving layout, a round table will likely fit the space better as highlighted above and vice versa.
  • What type of seating would you like?
    Determine the type of seating you want at your table too. Individual chairs work well with most table shapes. However, if you prefer a bench style,  then a rectangular table is the best option because the benches work better with two long straight sides.
  • Visit a garden furniture showroom
    And finally, make sure you look at a table in each shape. Determine which shape is most appealing to you both functionally and visually. Also, not all table designs are available in every shape, so if you love a specific design, then you might have to just go for whatever shape it is available in.

Choosing the right size garden table

There are so many different shapes and sizes of outdoor patio tables and choosing which one is right for you and your patio can be a tricky one.

The look of your garden table is important, of course, but making sure it fits your outdoor space and gives you and your family all the seating you need is definitely the most critical element. 

A good patio table needs to allow for the number of people you want to seat comfortably around it and then still leave enough space for people to walk around it.

To calculate the space you have on your patio and determine what size table you can comfortably fit onto that space, measure the following:

  • Measure table-to-patio clearance
    How much space have you got from where the table will sit to the edges of your patio or decking
  • Measure the space around the patio
    To allow people to sit down and get up easily from their seats, we advise people to always try and leave around 40" - 50" between the table and the edge of your patio area.
  • Measure garden table-to-other items clearance
    If there are other items on the patio already such as accessories, patio furniture, container planting etc that you don't to move, then begin that 40" - 50" measurement from the edge of those items instead of the edge of the patio.

To test out a table size on your patio area, a little tip we tell people to do is get a large bed sheet, place it where you want the garden table to go, and then fold it up/measure it out to the size shape of the table you want. This allows you to visualize the space it will take up on your patio.

You can then measure the table-to-patio clearance as you don't want to overcrowd the space. People need to be able to be comfortably seated around our furniture sets without sitting on top of each other and bumping elbows.

Large round tables can make it difficult to reach over for food if you plan on having BBQ or meals outdoors. If your patio or decking is square, then a square table, like a round one, will make for a more intimate seating experience because everyone is an equal distance from each other. 

Rectangular shapes seem to work better for sitting a large crowd and they work well on a long, narrow patio too as it leaves a bit more room for traffic flow.

When looking to take up less room in a space, try a bench instead of chairs on all or one side of your table. And finally, if you do want a large round table and you do plan to have BBQs or dinner parties outdoors, then always get a Lazy Susan!

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