10 Questions to Make or Buy the Best Outdoor Seating for your Space

10 Questions to Make or Buy the Best Outdoor Seating for your Space

Don’t waste your time and money on outdoor seating that is only ‘good enough’. Ask yourself these questions to help you make the best outdoor seating plan for your space.

You know that moment when you’re walking through Home Depot and you see that cute lounger or bench on sale. And you think, I need more seating, might as well grab this. Only to realize later that it doesn’t really match anything or fit your space and you just wish you hadn’t bought it. I’ve been there too. Sorry, Home Depot. It’s not personal. I should have had a plan to get the best outdoor seating for our space.

Most of us spend a lot of time planning our indoor living spaces, but just wing it with the outdoor spaces we spend so much time in. Answering these questions will help you pick the best outdoor seating, to make or buy, for your space. Planning ahead will save you time and money while giving you that grown up outdoor living space you’ve always wanted.

Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
What our space looked like before I built my DIY Outdoor Bench. We were low on seating and needed shoe and toy storage.

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Disclaimer: Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Always check for square and double-check those measurements too. Read the full disclaimer.


Answering these questions will help you make or buy the best outdoor seating for your space
  1. What is the size of the area for this seating? Will you need more than 1 piece for this space? Or will multiple pieces make the area feel cramped and small? And what size of seating will work best in an area this size?
  2. What sort of comfort level do you need? Will this be a formal seating spot? Or will I want to relax into this piece? Do I need a solid back? How high for the seat, arms, back? Low backs may look cool, but they seem to be extra uncomfortable for my tall husband. Measure furniture you already love to pick the right heights, lengths, and depths of your new seating.
  3. How much seating will you need? Do you play host to a big family or lots of guests? Plan ahead and avoid storing all those fold out chairs.
  4. How you will use the seating? Is this a grown ups outdoor living area that will look put together most of the time? Or do you have little kids that will be tracking mud and toys all over this piece? Will the seating have wet towels or dirty clothes thrown on it?
  5. Who will use the seating? Is this a spot for mostly grown ups? Teens and their friends? Older family members? Little kids? There’s a big difference between how teens slump on a seat and how grandma perches while having her morning tea.
  6. What are the lighting or shade requirements? Does the spot need more lighting for night or even daytime use? Where will you need to place that lighting? Will the seating need to work around that? Does this spot get a lot of sun? Does it require more shade? Do you need to keep the seating in existing shady or sunny spots?
  7. What are your storage needs? Do you need to incorporate storage into the seating? What about shoe storage, if you’re by a door? Will pool, gardening, or yard toys be kept here?
  8. What are the overall plans for this space? Think about the space as a whole. How will you incorporate all the pieces together? What effect will that have on the seating? Do you need to set aside certain space for other things? Grills, toys, tables, shoes, fire pits, etc.
  9. What other elements of the space might effect design? Location and height of windows, proximity to doors or things like grills and fire pits? Does traffic need to flow through this space. Make sure everyone has room to move around everything and you aren’t blocking any doors or windows.
  10. What kind of view will I have? Think about the view you’ll have or want while sitting. ALSO, think about the view of this area from other parts of the yard. Just like with an open flow house, you want the flow of your yard to make sense.

Think about all these things together and you should be able to figure out the ideal seating design you want to build or buy for your location. You’ll know the spot you want the seat in and how big that seat will need to be. You’ll know what other items will be in that space and where they’ll go. And you’ll know how the seating will be used (or abused ;). Now you’re ready to make or buy the best outdoor seating for your space.

Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
I love the DIY Outdoor Bench I built after asking myself the questions above. This bench works for our space and lifestyle. It only cost $130 and will be here for years to come. This bench has all the style of a grown up space with all the durability needed in a kid space. Plus, the wide arms work as a great shelf and the back is a nice solid piece we can lean back on and get comfy.
Building the Best Outdoor Seating for your Space? Check out these DIY benches.
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
Find out how to build my latest bench. Bonus, there are lots of links to great benches  from other builders at the bottom of that post too.
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
Want something a bit more rustic and simple to build? Try the bench I built for our kids gravel play area.
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
I really love this cute storage bench from Jen Woodhouse too.
Buying the Best Outdoor Seating for your Space? Check out a few of my favorites on Amazon.
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
This 7-piece wicker sofa set is beautiful and will stand up to rain, sun, and wet towels. Plus the covers are removable for washing. Awesome!
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
Also, this beautiful 5-piece wicker set with the same great features.
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
And I’m loving this durable, high-backed bench with built in storage. Win! Win! Win!
Need new outdoor seating? Ask yourself these questions before you make or buy that new seating to help you find the best outdoor seating for your space.
Don’t forget to Pin Me

Ready to build that bench. See the full instructions to building my DIY Backyard L-shaped bench. You can build it or modify the design to create your own perfect backyard bench.

How I built my L-shaped DIY Outdoor Bench for $130, awarded 2nd place in the IG Builders Challenge, season 3


Feeling inspired? Want to make your own Super Easy Kids Sit & Spin Toy? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

6 thoughts on “10 Questions to Make or Buy the Best Outdoor Seating for your Space

  1. These are great tips for making outdoor seating!

  2. Yours is still my favorite Stephanie 😉 and your tips are great . Outdoor seating is quite a big investment and we love spending time outside so choosing the right bench is key. Thanks so much for all the tips. I hadn’t even considered some of them

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