Australian backyards are shrinking. In the 1980s, most homes had big backyards with at least 150 square metres of space. That’s steadily decreased, with many newer homes having less than 50 square metres of outdoor space. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a spacious backyard or yours is on the smaller side, fitting in seating areas makes the outdoor space more functional. Outdoor seating ideas let you make the best use of the space you have.
The seats let you enjoy your outdoor space, whether you’re sipping your morning coffee or chatting on the phone with a friend.
Larger outdoor seating areas let you easily entertain friends and family in your backyard.
Choosing the best outdoor seating options depends largely on the available space. It’s also important to consider how you want to use that space and what type of seating would best match those activities.
No matter what type of seating you choose, the important thing is choosing seating that’s comfortable and inviting.
Keep reading to explore nine outdoor seating ideas to get you started.
Reasons for Outdoor Seating Areas
Before we jump into the seating area ideas, let’s discuss the benefits of outdoor seating.
The obvious reason is giving yourself more entertaining space. Just like backyard sizes, home sizes in Australian are also shrinking. The average size is 186.3 square metres.
By building outdoor seating areas, you give yourself more living space. You can dine, entertain, work, or simply relax outdoors.
Spending time outdoors also offers health benefits. You get more vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin. Outdoor time may also make you feel happier and help improve your concentration.
1. Fire Pit Area
Seating around a fire pit turns your backyard into a comfortable entertaining area. Having a dedicated fire pit made from concrete or stones helps contain the flames so you can enjoy the fire safely.
Coordinating benches and seats that match the fire pit create a space that looks visually attractive. It also offers a convenient spot to sit while enjoying the fire or roasting marshmallows.
Benches made of the same stone used for the fire pit are a common option. You can use stone to build the supports and wood for the benches if you want a mix of materials.
It’s also helpful to work in little end tables in your design. This gives you a spot to place drinks, marshmallows, roasting sticks, and other items you use regularly for a bonfire.
2. Floating Seating Area
Who says you have to stay on solid ground while you lounge? If you have a pool area in your backyard, use it as a spot for creative seating. Floating seats are perfect for a pool party or for everyday lounging.
Floating lounge chairs give you a soothing motion that rocks you while you lounge and chat.
Pool bean bags offer a comfortable floating seating area option. They come in a range of shapes and sizes and float on the water.
The best pool bean bags use durable fabric that holds up to water and UV rays. Locking wet suit zippers are also beneficial to keep the filling protected from the water.
Pick floating loungers that match your poolside decor. You can find them in a variety of colours and patterns to get the look you want.
3. Traditional Outdoor Living Area
An easy option is to create a living room setup outdoors using patio furniture. You can find sets that include sofas, loveseats, sectionals, chairs, coffee tables, and end tables, similar to the furniture you use indoors.
Using these types of furniture lets you recreate a comfortable living room on your patio. You can sit around with friends and family just like you would indoors while enjoying the breezes and beauty of nature in your backyard.
Because there are so many different outdoor living room pieces available, you can find furniture that fits your available space.
If you have a large patio with plenty of space, you can choose a large sectional that holds six or more people. Add a few chairs to the sectional for more seating.
If you’re limited on space, you can stick with a single loveseat or two chairs to create a small conversation nook.
You can also create different living areas. You might create one large space with a sectional and a smaller conversation nook off to the side with two chairs and a table.
Tables give you an ideal spot to place drinks or plates when entertaining. They also work well for board games with the family.
Add outdoor throw pillows to make the outdoor sitting area feel more like a living space.
You can also add privacy by placing the furniture under an arbour or hanging exterior curtains around the seating area. Trellises with vining plants growing on them also block the view from neighbouring homes.
4. Dining Space
Enjoy dining al fresco every night with a dining seating area in your outdoor space.
Outdoor dining sets range from tiny two-person bistro tables to large dining tables for six or more. This range lets you find a table that fits the physical space you have and matches your entertaining needs.
Position the table near your back door if possible. This gives you easy access when you carry food from your kitchen to your outdoor dining space.
The chairs can double as general seating while you entertain. Gather guests around the table for drinks and conversation.
Or carry the dining chairs to an open patio area, fire pit area, or other space so you can sit and chat together.
5. Outdoor Bar Area
For adult entertaining, an outdoor bar area is an ideal seating solution. It’s the perfect spot for serving drinks outdoors without running back inside every time you need a refill.
The bar counter area doubles as a seating spot. Choose to coordinate outdoor bar stools to pull up to the bar. Put another chair behind the bar for the bartender.
If you want more bar seating, add a few bar-height tables to the area. This lets guests mingle and find plenty of spots to sit while they strike up conversations with one another.
6. Swinging Seating
Why should kids have all the fun of swinging? Incorporating swinging seating into your outdoor lounge area gives you a soothing, swaying feeling while you enjoy nature. It’s the perfect way to relax and soothe yourself.
A hammock is a classic swinging option for outdoor spaces. You can hang the hammock between two sturdy trees, install posts, or use a freestanding hammock stand to support the fabric.
If you have a large backyard with several trees, hang multiple hammocks in one area to create a hammock garden. Leave enough space between the hammocks to swing safely without colliding.
Another option is a traditional porch swing. Install the swing to the ceiling in a covered deck area.
For something a little less traditional, try a hanging bubble or cocoon seat. The curved seats create a shell-type structure that makes you feel cosy and surrounded.
You can hang one of these chairs from a large tree with a strong, stable branch. You can also attach it to a porch roof, sturdy post, or chair stand.
Choose chairs and hanging supplies designed for outdoor use. The more durable material is designed to withstand UV rays, water, and other harsh Australian weather elements.
7. Hidden Garden Areas
Get in touch with nature for a truly relaxing outdoor seating area by tucking away a bench into a garden space. A comfortable bench surrounded by shrubs or tall flowers creates a secret hideaway where you can escape the world.
Another way to create a hidden feeling is by using an arbour or garden arch. Grow climbing plants on the structure to fill in the gaps and add a whimsical, romantic feeling to the seating area.
Place a comfortable bench under the arbour or arch so you can sit and soak in the beautiful greenery.
By putting a small seating area in a gardened space, you create a quieter, more relaxing spot. It’s an ideal place to sit with a friend or family member for a quiet, intimate conversation.
It’s also an ideal spot to sit by yourself and contemplate life.
8. Lounge Areas
Fill an outdoor space with lots of loungers and comfortable seating to encourage ultimate relaxation. This option is ideal near a pool, but you can create a lounge area in any type of backyard.
Outdoor bean bag loungers are a good place to start for your lounge area. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some with backrests for support.
Others come with ottomans so you can prop up your feet. The ottoman can also work on its own when you need extra seating.
Choose outdoor loungers made with durable outdoor material that can handle the weather elements.
Large outdoor pillows also work well in the lounge area. You can toss them down on the deck or patio areas to soften them when you want to lie down or sit down.
Make the lounge space a multipurpose area by including an outdoor theatre area. You can hang an outdoor movie screen and projector in a covered space to show movies and TV shows outdoors. You can also find outdoor TVs that serve the same purpose.
Arrange the lounge seating around the TV area to create the ultimate outdoor entertaining space. You can create a drive-in theatre effect with this outdoor lounge idea.
9. Built-In Seating
Your landscape may naturally lend itself to built-in seating. Using the structures and space that’s already there maximises the use of the area.
Build an L-shaped sofa or bench into a corner of your yard to maximise space. You can build the seating up against your house, a fence, a retaining wall, or other structures that make up the corner of your outdoor space.
If you’re building a retaining wall, consider adding seating into it. The seating makes the retaining wall a dual-purpose addition to your backyard.
A similar idea is to build benches around the perimeter of a wooden deck. The benches serve as the outer perimeter for the deck so people don’t fall off the side.
Instead of a typical railing that doesn’t provide any other uses, a bench takes care of two issues in one. You get extra seating built right into the deck so it’s always there and never has to be put away for the season.
Tips for Choosing Outdoor Seating
With so many outdoor seating ideas, how do you decide what to do?
Start by looking at the seating you already have in your backyard. Is it functional, or do you never use it because it’s uncomfortable or impractical?
Look for open spaces where new seating areas will fit. Take measurements to see how much space is available. This can help determine the type of patio furniture you choose.
Think about how you use the space or how you want to use the space. Consider what type of seating best supports those activities.
Seating can often do double duty. An outdoor bar area with seating can also work as an outdoor dining space. An outdoor dining table also works as a conversation area or gameplay area.
Consider the style of your outdoor space when choosing the specific furniture. Pick pieces that blend in with the rest of the decor and the home’s exterior.
Pick furniture pieces designed for outdoor use. Look for pieces with durable coatings and resistance to UV rays so they last.
Embrace Outdoor Seating Ideas
Your backyard gives you extra living space if you add functional and comfortable seating. The best outdoor seating ideas keep you comfortable, make it easier to entertain and let you enjoy the best nature has to offer. Customise your outdoor seating areas to the available space you have in your backyard.
Shop our selection of outdoor bean bags to outfit your seating areas with cushioning, cosy seats for everyone. They’re made with durable materials that can handle Australia’s harsh weather. And they’re available in a variety of colours and styles to best match your outdoor spaces.