In designing any space the first consideration should be use or “purpose”.  This is step one in the tried and true design process of  “form follows function“.

In your thoughts about “use” try to be specific in terms of the type of activities, the number of potential people and what elements you’ll need to include.

As you list the possible use(s) and details of this space you’re actually beginning to establish certain guidelines for your design. For example:

  • A certain table size can accommodate so many people.  Allow space for the chairs and the room needed to pull them in and out.
  • When designing any area for a specific use consider traffic flow to that area and if people need to travel through that space on their way to another.
  • All the use requirements must eventually become a pleasing design (and form).  This is where good line design comes into play.

The pool deck area for the swimming pool pictured above is quite large.

On the house side (not shown) are 2 grand spaces of patio dedicated for large groups of people.

Each of these 2 spaces has room for a table and chairs along with additional seating for conversation areas.

But the homeowner wanted a spot away from the 2 main congregating areas to set a couple of chaise lounges with a small table. (See picture at top.)

This would be a quieter spot where one could go for a siesta, to read a good book, chat with friend or just watch the crazy teenagers by the pool in their “can you top this?” contest.

To accommodate the 2 lounges and table we simply bumped out the pool deck with a softly curved line and made sure there was still room for people to walk by.

It’s important to know the dimensions of the furniture so you can layout the space accurately.

Here the homeowner chose cast aluminum furniture, which is an excellent choice.  The mesh fabric is really comfortable and totally weatherproof.

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