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7 Features of an Effective Restaurant Patio Space

7 Features of an Effective Restaurant Patio Space

When the weather is warm and the evenings are long, outdoor restaurant patio spaces become popular places among diners. There’s nothing quite like eating outside in the fresh air, under a parasol on a hot sunny day or beneath the stars on a summer’s evening. People love to eat outdoors and this is why restaurants need patios that are attractive, comfortable, and functional.

In such an important open space and with potentially a lack of walls to differentiate between sidewalk and patio, what are some of the ways to create an intimate yet welcoming outdoor restaurant environment?

Here are seven core features we believe an effective restaurant patio dining space needs for optimal functionality, comfort, and charm.


Diners need to feel comfortable and to be able to move around the outdoor restaurant patio space with ease. The more tables the better. Yet when a space is too cramped, customers are more likely to bump into one another and upset tables. A positive dining experience is not just about delicious food but also the dining atmosphere and comfort. Plenty of access space between tables, and enough room for diners to push out their chairs, is vital.

Suitable coverings

Rain or baking hot sunshine are two weather conditions that can play havoc with comfortable outdoor dining. That’s why well designed restaurant patio spaces incorporate covers of some kind whether parasols, awnings, or bespoke canopies. These are then unfolded or drawn across when weather conditions dictate. Covers can also provide warmth, in conjunction with heaters, during cooler evenings.

Plenty of greenery

Most interior or exterior spaces look better with the addition of extra greenery. Plants, flowers, and trees lift the mood of diners and also improve the air quality of the patio space. Greenery-covered trellis walls can reduce ambient noise as well as provide attractive screening options for privacy needs. Planters provide subtle space dividers and are ideal foundations for a diverse range of plants.

Appropriate lighting

Lighting is important for evening hours. Both restaurant staff and diners need to see clearly where they’re walking, for reasons of safety. Lighting needs to be strategically positioned so as to provide enough light for maneuvering yet dark enough for privacy and a relaxed ambiance. Lights can be attached to any surface including walls, screens, canopies, wire-mesh trellises, and even among planters.

Matching furniture

Restaurant furniture, whether inside or outside, needs to be strong and sturdy. As well as being durable and attractive to look at, patio furniture also needs to be waterproof. Restaurant furniture and décor should have a continuity throughout the establishment, from the interior dining spaces to the outside patio area. The best patio furniture echoes the style of the restaurant as a whole.

Perimeter definition

Restaurant patios need a defined border with the public sidewalk. Where does the restaurant property begin and end? Many patio spaces are defined simply with small brick walls, metal railings, screens, fabric banners, or glass panels, together with an entryway for access. Others are more open and have planters as borders or even greenery-covered trellises.


Many restaurant goers like to dine in relative privacy, whether inside or outside. Couples enjoying a romantic meal, for example. While a restaurant patio space is naturally a public area, some parts can be made a little more private than others. This can be achieved with carefully planned furniture layouts, modular screens, greenery-covered trellises, and strategically placed planters, together with lighting effects.

A restaurant patio space can be dramatically improved when thought is given to how these features can be better incorporated.

At CityScapes we provide a range of products that can improve the look and effectiveness of an outdoor dining space. These include tasteful screens, wire-mesh trellises, planters, and custom-made canopies.

All of which can be used to add perimeter definitions, create private spaces, and shield unsightly views from diners (including dumpsters, restroom entrances, and exterior HVAC equipment).

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