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How Much Hardscape Space do I Need?...for Residential Patios, Walkways and Pool Decks? 

How much patio space do I need around my pool?
How much hardscape space does my pool area need

Each hardscape space will require different size requirements depending on preferred use and necessary capacity.  These spatial features will be dependent on the programmed use for the proposed space, existing site constraints as well as the relative budget of the client.  In most cases, an on-site consultation with a landscape designer to review these considerations is the best way of developing a comprehensive site plan that fits the clients' needs.  But let’s review some basic industry guidelines as they may apply to your future hardscape installation.... 


Typical walkway widths range depending on the amount of traffic they receive.  Clearly, a walkway meant for one person can be more narrow than a path designed for two or more people at the same time.  Generally speaking, most pathways measure a minimum of two - three feet in width to allow for comfortable circulation of one person throughout the site.  A typical city sidewalk measures four feet in width, and it is also common for most pool decks to have a minimum of four to five feet width around the entire perimeter of the pool.  

In a residential setting, a majority of the square footage of a patio is normally situated nearest the house or between the pool and the residence (since this is the most 'high traffic area').  In this scenario, the additional square footage provides ample space for furniture or additional programs such as cooking, gathering, dining, etc.  But, as previously mentioned, it makes sense to include at least a four or five foot wide walk on the back side or furthest end of the pool away from the house (as a minimum).  This allows for safe circulation around the whole pool and also helps in pool maintenance by minimizing the amount of debris that could potentially migrate into the pool (such as mulch, leaves or grass clippings).

Spatial requirements for patio space vary greatly dependent on how participants intend to use a given space.  For example, people are usually gathered closer around a fire or dining space as compared to more spaced out for lounging/sunbathing on a pool deck.  As a very general 'rule of thumb' you can expect each person to take up around 25 square feet.  This again is somewhat of a minimum standard and depends on the particular use at a given time.  So if you plan on 15 people using a patio together, that would equate to a hardscape measuring at least 375 square feet.  Oftentimes, a patio may feel cramped because the designer did not consider how elevated traffic and use might impact the space.  

The 25 square foot 'rule' accounts for some extra space to allow for comfortable movement/circulation at any given time.  However, this general rule is not meant to be a 'one-size-fits-all' solution.  In the planning/design phases, always consider as many site specific traits and intended user activities as possible.  This will help ensure that your new hardscape space is perfectly tailored for all users, accomodations and existing features of the site.       


It's a good idea to have a general notion of what type of patio furniture that you plan to utilize in a particular space.  From there, a quick scaled plan or sketch to show the dimensions of the tables and chairs as well as the hardscape space around it can go a long way.  In order to verify these spatial limits, it may also be helpful to mark out the space within the landscape itself.  This can be done with spray paint or stakes/stringline to help visualize your initial concept.  Once this is complete, you can actually stage the furniture within the proposed limits to make sure the proposal provides ample space for the intended use.  You can also step back and view the space from different angles to ensure the new patio fits within the scale of its surrounding features (house, planting beds, pool, walkway connections to other landscape areas/social spaces, etc.)

3D Rendering Software (Such as VizTerra/ Pool Studio) can also be incredibly helpful in better understanding options for appropriate scaling of outdoor space.  Within the rendering program, furniture (and human scale models) can be placed throughout to provide a useful visual reference to finalize design decisions.  


When planning for a patio space, it is important to consider more than simply the dimensions of furniture that you are going to use.  Fire pits are a unique instance in which furniture placement and circulation are key.  Depending on the size of the fire, an individual may want to get closer or further away from the element/pit.  If a patio is designed solely to accommodate the furniture- it may not be large enough.  There should always be ample room for movement of the furniture as well as circulation around these elements.  

People love movable furniture as it allows them to shape the space in a way that makes them feel comfortable in a particular setting.  Most furniture elements are movable and not fixed, which allows for personalization depending on how the space is being used at that particular time.  For example, some individuals may prefer to be closer to an existing fire element....some may seek shade while others prefer to soak up the sun and so on.  

Below is a reference diagram for (minimum) spacing around patio furniture:


A proposed landscape plan should always provide suffecient space for the movement of furniture as well as comfortable circulation around seating elements and other fixed elements of the environment.  Finally, it is important to anticipate the size of gatherings (relative number of guests using the space at different times).  This will allow for flexibility of arranging furniture in order to accomodate both intimate gatherings of small groups as well as sizable social functions for larger parties.


For more information and ideas about hardscaping around the pool in your backyard call Pool Pros today @ 920-771-0107.  We are very excited to help you answer any questions you have and provide a comprehensive pool layout/plan that is perfectly tailored to your needs! 



Green Bay, WI 

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  • This website contains an abundance of information that has been created over the last decade or more. Some of the content on this site may reflect prices, perspectives, processes, entities, and names that were relevant at the time but may not be as relevant today. Consumers should consult a Pool Pros associate for the most accurate and updated information based on the unique conditions of their property. Consumers should verify specifications with the installing Pool Pros rather than relying on the information on this website, which is not intended to be a final specification.

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