What shape garden table should I buy?

We touched on the subject of what shape garden table should I buy inour article Garden Tables: A Buying Guide. That post was more of an overview but shape is such a big consideration that many of us overlook. 

When the sun shines we purchase garden furniture. And the sun is shining at Lazy Susan HQ today, so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share some of our thoughts about which shapes work best and why.

The first question you need to ask is what size garden table should you buy?

We covered that comprehensively in our what size garden table blog post from a few months ago, and whilst that article touched on shape, we were keen to do a follow-up dedicated to just garden table shape.

I think many of us, myself included, will purchase based on the shape we like. However, just like a dining room or kitchen table inside the home, the shape of your garden table can have a dramatic impact on the look and flow of your outdoor space.

Make the garden table a focal point

Don’t let a lack of a real ‘room’ mean your garden table can’t bring character and a little design flair to your patio space too. Let it be the star of the show just like any table would in the dining room or a kitchen/diner. 

It can be the focal point, and as we stated in our recently featured design your patio around your garden table article, you can use it as the jumping off point for the wider space around it.

A good garden table set should draw you out into the garden. Extend your living space and help blur the lines between inside and out. It should be the place you want to sit down and enjoy a meal with family and friends when the sun is shining. 

Just don’t be afraid make a statement, experiment with shape, break design rules even, accessorise it, add a splash of colour with our Parasols and Garden Cushions.

The main/popular options when it comes to garden table shape are again much like what’s available for inside - Round, Oval, Rectangular or Square. 

Of course there are variations, alternatives, however, for this post we will focus on those three. After all, they’re also the core table shapes available in the Lazy Susan Collection.

We’ve said it before on this blog but shape is often overlooked, and it will have a dramatic impact in terms of both floor space/how you intend to use your garden table. 

For example, round and square tables often fit and function best on a smaller patio or for those who like more intimate dining style with casual conversation.

If on the other hand your patio is long and narrow, such as is often the case with many new build properties, then a rectangular or oval garden table might fit and flow in the space better?

The longer/narrow shapes are often better suited to entertaining larger groups of people in a more formal setting/style too.

Why purchase a garden table set from Lazy Susan?

Our Catherine Garden Table
At Lazy Susan, our Garden Tables feature recessed slimline legs that are positioned at the corners to allow for comfortable seating and table stability. 

Even our round and oval tables have a similar configuration as shown in the customer photo of our Catherine Garden Table above. 

We designed all our tables with this configuration to ensure that wherever you’re sitting at the table you won’t find yourself sat up against a leg and to provide the table with better stability.

In terms of which garden table from the Lazy Susan Collection is right for you, then you need to ask yourself the following important questions:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. How do you like to use your garden furniture, i.e. drinks for two or family meal for 4 or more?
  3. What size of table will fit in the free space you have in your garden/on your patio?
  4. Which set has a style and colour that you’ll love for years? 

Determine the above and you’re ready to think about shape. 

One piece of advice we often give is to avoid the latest fads. A good outdoor table should last at least 5 to 10 years. Keep it simple. Keep it sturdy. That way you’ll purchase a set that is:

  1. Built to stand up to elements.
  2. Low maintenance.
  3. Will look good and you won’t fall out of love with it!

Measuring for a new garden table

The number one rule when it comes to purchasing new outdoor furniture, especially our larger garden table sets, is that it must fit the area you want to put it.

If you’re looking at the 6 Seater Sets for example, they’re deceptively large pieces, and they can easily take up a good 2 to 3 square meters plus of floor space. 

You also need to take into account what we call ‘working space’ when the table and chairs are in place. Room for people to easily and safely walk around the set when in use. 

This is covered in detail in our What size garden table should I buy? post, and it includes some helpful tables/diagrams that will help you determine which of our sets will fit best in your garden.

What shape garden table should you buy?

When it comes to dining tables for inside the home, you tend to find that square and rectangular tables are the most common.

The same is probably true with the more modern-looking outdoor tables too. 

However, we tend to find that round and oval shaped garden tables tend to be a more popular choice. They provide a more timeless/classical look and feel.

That’s not to dismiss square and rectangular, it is just that the round and oval tables provide a little more space to move around as there’s no corners but you still has a good amount of surface area to work with. 

However, shape also has a big impact on how the table functions in terms of social interaction.

If you’re unsure of which shape will work best, then we’ve summarised each one below in terms of the scenarios in which they tend to work best. 

However, as we said earlier, don’t be afraid to bend and break the rules. ...Good design is often as much about the confidence to do what you like as it is any preconceived set of rules!

1. Square Garden Tables

Square garden tables such as our Lucy 4 Seater Garden Table in Slate Grey (pictured below) are a great option if you want to maybe push one side against a wall or the front edge of a paved/decked patio area (as shown in the photo below). 

Lucy Square 4 Seater Garden Table
Square tables are also the perfect shape for smaller patios and gardens... 

If there’s just two to four people in your household then they’re the perfect choice in terms of function.

The main benefit of purchasing a square table is that they help to create a real intimate setting for 4 or less people, giving all equal space.

Another trend we have seen emerge is for customers to purchasing 2 x 4 seater square garden tables to pull together when the need arises. You can have one table for those in the household but then push them together to create a larger rectangular set for BBQ’s or garden parties.

2. Rectangular Garden Tables

The longer, narrow design of our rectangular sets lend themselves perfectly to larger-scale entertaining patios. You can position yourself as hosts at each end. 

Madison Rectangular Garden Table
The simple, linear shape of these often larger garden tables like our 8 Seater Madison Rectangular Garden Table (pictured above) tend to provide scale and fit best on a larger more open patio.

However, the big advantage they have with the large seater sets is they’re perfect for generating free flowing open conversation from all sides of the table.

A rectangular table will also help to emphasise or create a more streamlined look, pair it with square paving, planters etc and you can create a very sharp, uniform design scheme with strong lines. 

3. Round Garden Tables

For a curved patio or small garden or even a patio/garden where you want to zone it and serve multiple functions, then a round table such as our 6 Seater Frances Garden Table in Antique Bronze (pictured below) is often the best option. 

Frances Round Garden Table
The curved edges give it a smaller footprint that takes up less space and is easier to walk around. 

The round and oval shaped garden tables are often best if you prefer informal family dining too, as there’s no head of the table. 

Round and oval garden tables both have the advantage of no awkward corners but they still provide a good amount of table top surface space. 

They’re great for socialising and entertaining, and you can usually squeeze a few more people at them if need be a little easier (nobody has to sit at a corner). 

Plus they pair perfectly with our circular revolving Lazy Susan Turntables and Parasols!

The only thing to think about is that conversation can become tricky with  a larger round table, harder to talk to those opposite, so diners are restricted to those they’re sat next to. This is when rectangular tables are probably the better option.

4. Oval Garden Tables

If that space is more rectangular but still tight and you again want to divide it into zones, then a set like our 8 Seater Rosemary Oval Garden Table (pictured below in our white finish) might work best?

Rosemary Oval Garden Table
It will fit with proportions and just like a round table it will allow for easy movement around the ‘working’ space.

If you’re deliberating between a rectangular or round dining table, then my advice would be to consider an oval-shaped garden table.

I suppose they’re a best of both, combing the linear of a rectangular with the intimacy and flexibility of a round table.

Personally speaking, and I know many of the Lazy Susan team will agree with me, oval garden tables really do fit well on a larger patio and in a larger garden.

You can use them for both informal and formal style dining but the rounded edges are great for complimenting the curves we often find in our gardens or contrasting against a straight edged patio/deck.

If you have quite an angular space, then an oval garden table can often help to soften your outdoor space whilst still fitting perfectly in it.

And if you need to open up a narrow patio or garden, make it feel bigger, then a slimmer table will help to create the illusion of more space.

How to decide what shape garden table should I buy? 

This is all just rule of thumb of course, a guide, only you can decide what you think will work best (in terms of fit and function). 

Look at the shapes in your garden, try and work with them rather than fighting them if you’re unsure of what will work. That, or use them to contrast, make a statement. 

Don’t be afraid, buy what fits, and what you like!

It is also important to remember that garden tables aren’t always just about dining too…

We’re drawn to them for many reasons when the sun is shining, from coffee with friends to a spot of crafting with the kids as we discussed in our recent Garden Crafts to Keep Children Busy article.

Dress them as you would a table inside the home. 

They are beautiful objects in their own right but you can enhance with decorative elements such as a cluster of potted plants or outdoor candles.

A Lazy Susan garden table should be the main feature on your patio as much as a highly multi-functional piece of furniture.

If you opt for a round or oval table then think about placing round planters on and/or around the table to soften it, if square or rectangle keep things more uniform with clean straight lines.

When deciding between a square, rectangle, oval round garden table, your choice should be proportional to the shape of the patio or free space in your garden you want to put the set. 

Of course it is also important you have enough seating for the amount of people you want to regularly seat.

A Lazy Susan Garden Table should be the focal point, the place on your patio or in your garden where your household spends their outdoor time when the sun is shining, be it a morning coffee or evening meal. 

You also need to consider how comfortable it will be to sit at for long periods of time and whether the material it’s made from will get damaged from frequent use? 

This is the reason that all our furniture is constructed from cast aluminium.

We made that decision from day one. 

We have tested other materials but cast aluminium just suits the climate, the style of our homes, and how we use our gardens in the UK.

It’s a great option as it’s durable, looks beautiful and is designed to stand up to the British weather. 

Whatever the purpose of your furniture, establishing the right size and shape of garden table is crucial. 

You must always consider the space required for the Garden Tables and Garden Chairs... And don’t forget that all important ‘working’ space!

You can browse our full Garden Table Collection in our Shop

If you have any questions or concerns about what size or shape garden table to purchase, then please don’t hesitate to Contact Us

And if you do purchase a new Garden Table from Lazy Susan this summer, then we would love for you to send us some photos for our Do Some Good charity campaign.

Simply take a picture of your Lazy Susan furniture and we’ll donate money to charity. Send in your snaps to [email protected] or tag us on Instagram or Facebook @lazysusanfurniture.