When is a small garden table & chairs set too small?

In this article, the Lazy Susan design team discusses when and how to establish if a small garden table and chairs set is too small for your patio...

Here at Lazy Susan when we think of a small garden table & chairs set, we are thinking of our 4-seater sets and 2-seater bistro-style sets. They are the perfect solution for those of us with limited outdoor space, small decks, balconies, etc or looking to pair multiple types of outdoor furniture set in a larger "zoned" space.

The key to a good patio design and layout is to create an outdoor space that is both functional and visually appealing and to enhance overall enjoyment, comfort and usability. A good patio should feel like an extension of our homes and gardens. Proper scale helps to integrate that space seamlessly into the wider landscape, creating a cohesive and inviting outdoor living area.

 Lazy Susan Small Garden Tables & Chairs

This is what we refer to in the trade as good scale and proportion, and by carefully considering the fundamentals, you can create a patio design that feels balanced, functional, and visually fits with its surroundings. To achieve it, you need a layout that harmonises with its surroundings, while meeting the functional needs of the space

If we take the example of a garden table set that’s too small for the space, this is potentially as much of a no-no as one that’s too big and fills the space. This is what we want to explore today and help you understand when is a small garden table & chairs set too small.

We will look at how to measure your patio, the dimensions of our 2-seater and 4-seater sets and then look at the space required on your patio for them to fit, function and create good scale. The two main questions we ultimately want to answer are: How do you create good scale and proportion on your patio? and How do you establish if a garden table set is too small?

How to correctly measure your patio

How to correctly measure your patio for a Small Garden Table & Chairs 

The starting point is always to correctly measure your patio for a new garden table set, see what room you’ve got to work with, and to this just follow these 7 simple steps:

  1. Clear Area
    Remove any old furniture, decor you don’t want, or obstacles from the patio area to get an accurate measurement of the maximum amount of free space you have to play with.

  2. Determine Placement
    Decide where you want to place the table set on the patio. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, proximity to your home or other features such as trees, access to the garden, BBQ grills, etc and how the placement will affect how you move around the space.

  3. Measure Space
    Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the area where you plan to place the table set. Measure from edge to edge, ensuring you factor in any fixed features such as planters, steps, railings, etc.

  4. Consider Clearance
    Factor in enough space around the table for chairs set so you have room to sit down and to move around comfortably. We call this "working space" and we look at it closer in the section below.

  5. Factor Accessories
    If you plan on pairing your set with accessories in our bundle deals (such as a garden bench, side table or parasol), check the dimensions. Make sure there is enough space to accommodate the parasol without it overlapping other features or making the space feel cramped.

  6. Consider Orientation
    Think about the orientation of the table set in relation to views from the patio and the surrounding landscape. You may want to position it to take advantage of scenic vistas or to maximise privacy.

  7. Sketch Layout
    If all of the above sounds a little overwhelming then the best thing to do is sketch out a simple layout of your patio on graph paper, indicating the dimensions to scale. You can then play with the placement of the table set to visualise better how it will fit and make any necessary adjustments before you buy.

By following the steps above and taking accurate measurements, you can search our shop to find a garden table set that fits well in the free space you have.

You’ll find full-dimension illustrations in our shop under the dimensions+ section. Please note that some of our 2-seater tables are also available as 4-seater sets, and the dimensions listed below are for the tabletops only (all legs are recessed).

To help get you thinking about what size might fit best, the dimensions of our 2-seater and 4-seater patio tables are as follows.

The dimensions of our 2-seater outdoor furniture sets

The dimensions of our 4-seater garden furniture sets

How much working space do you need around a garden table set?

How much working space do you need around a garden table set?

As we’ve already mentioned, clearance is critical for ensuring comfort, accessibility, safety, functionality, visual appeal, maintenance, and flexibility in your outdoor living area

It ensures that on top of the tabletop dimensions above, there is enough space for the garden chairs and then additional space for people to move around and sit comfortably.

Without sufficient clearance space, garden chairs might feel cramped, making it difficult for you and your family or guests to relax and enjoy themselves.

You want easy access to the garden furniture and room for chairs to be pulled out and pushed in without obstruction. People need to be able to sit down and stand up from the table, without tripping over furniture or bumping into walls, planters, or other features.

The right clearance is also key to creating good scale and proportion. It contributes to the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space. It creates that all-important sense of openness and harmony, allowing the furniture set to be used and to feel part of the overall design scheme without everything feeling crowded or cluttered.

Mia Small Garden Table Dimensions

We refer to this clearance space as “working space” and it is illustrated in the diagram below for our best-selling Mia Table (photo and full dimensions shown above):

Mia Floor Space Requirements

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend 75 cm for the garden chairs, depending on which option you choose. Most of our 2 and 4-seater sets come as standard with our April Chair, which is 60 cm deep (shown in the illustration below).

April Garden Chair Dimensions

We then advise that you add on a further 75 cm of “Working Space” to clearance for the chairs to be pulled in and out, room for people to comfortably sit back, and so there’s plenty of safe space to walk around when all is in situ.

The working space figure is a guide only, and it could be you could reduce the working space to say 50 cm if the seating is close to a wall or the edge of a patio for example.

Patios and gardens all vary, so measure carefully, measure again, check the dimensions and make sure it will fit and function when in situ.

How do you establish if a set is too small?

How do you establish if a set is too small?

Armed with a clear picture of set size and fit, you can now look to determine if the garden furniture set you like is too small for your patio, and this involves factoring in the following 5 criteria:

1. Functionality

Consider how you plan to use the table. Will it be primarily a small family dining set or will you be entertaining friends? Make sure the table size can accommodate your intended activities and seating needs.

2. Comfort

Imagine yourself and your guests sitting around the table. Ensure there’s enough space for everyone to sit comfortably without the garden furniture and wider space feeling cramped or squeezed together.

3. Balance

Assess the visual balance of the table set in relation to the size of your patio. A set that is too small may look disproportionately small in a larger open space, while a set that is too large may overwhelm a small patio.

4. Flexibility

Think about whether the garden furniture set allows for flexibility in use and arrangement. Will you be able to easily add additional chairs or accessories if you need to? A set that is too small may limit your options for future expansion.

5. Feel

Step back and assess how the garden furniture set fits within the overall feel and style of your patio. Does it complement the existing décor and landscaping? Does it create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere?

How do you create good scale and proportion on your patio?

How do you create good scale and proportion on your patio?

Creating good scale and proportion on your patio involves carefully considering the garden furniture dimensions, clearance, and the above criteria, and seeking to create harmony with the other key elements on and around the space you plan to put the furniture

To achieve this follow our simple 10-step plan:

1. Assess

Begin by understanding the dimensions and characteristics of your patio, including shape, size, and any existing features or structures.

2. Furniture Dimensions

Select garden furniture that is proportionate to the size of your patio. Avoid choosing pieces that are too large or too small for the space. Consider the scale of the furniture set relative to the overall patio area.

3. Create Zones

Divide your patio into distinct zones for different activities, such as dining, lounging, and grilling. Arrange furniture and other elements within each zone to create a cohesive and balanced “outdoor room”.

4. Traffic Flow

Ensure there is enough space for easy movement and circulation on and off the patio. Arrange furniture in a way that allows for clear pathways and minimises congestion.

5. Visual Weight

Distribute visual weight evenly throughout the space to create a sense of balance. Offset larger pieces with smaller elements, as well as heavy and light materials, to achieve visual harmony

6. Vertical Space

Take advantage of vertical space to add dimension and scale to your patio. Incorporate tall planting, hanging baskets, wall trellises, or a pergola to draw the eye up and create a sense of height.

7. Scale Planting

Choose plants and landscaping that are proportionate to the size of your patio. Avoid overcrowding with overly large plants or sparse planting arrangements that feel out of balance with the rest of the space.

8. Sight Lines

Pay attention to sight lines and views from different vantage points on and off your patio. Arrange furniture and other elements such as decor and planting to frame or enhance the natural beauty in or beyond your garden while minimising or screening the ones you don’t want to see.

9. Accessorise

Select accessories and décor items that complement the scale and style of your patio. Avoid overwhelming the space with too many smalls as it can make the space feel cluttered.

10. Adjust

Periodically review the layout and arrangement of your patio to ensure that it continues to maintain good scale and proportion. Make adjustments as needed to accommodate changes in use and try different layouts to see which looks and feels the best.

In summary…

By considering physical fit, clearance, function, comfort, balance, and the overall feel of your outside space, you can determine whether a small garden table set is the right size for your patio or will it look lost.

By following the principles outlined in this article and considering the scale and proportion of each element on your patio, you can create a well-balanced and visually appealing outdoor living space that feels comfortable, inviting, and harmonious.

If you’re unsure if the space will function when the small garden table & chairs set is in situ, then take the dimensions in our shop, mark them out with some washable pavement chalk or cut to size some old bits of cardboard, and that should help you better visualise what will be what!

If you have any photos of your Small Garden Table & Chairs from Lazy Susan, we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or Upload Here.

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