Do you love al fresco dining, but your not sure how to get your garden just perfect for the occasion? From choosing the right outdoor furniture to getting the perfect lighting, attention is key. So here are some tips to help you on your way!
- CHOOSE PRACTICAL FLOORING
An outdoor dining area will need decent flooring that can support lots of furniture, including storage, and your barbecue, so choose a practical, durable surface that is hard (to prevent your furniture sinking into the ground), and even and smooth (to prevent accidents).
- KEEP EVERYTHING TIDY WITH AMPLE STORAGE
Every garden needs some form of good outdoor storage, but especially one that doubles up as a dining space or outdoor kitchen. If your outdoor dining area is covered, you can keep all your utensils and table linens clean and tidy in kitchen trolley, boxes, and crates outside; otherwise, make space by installing some clever storage in your shed.
- CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE WITH AN OUTDOOR SPEAKER
Music makes any dinner party better, so why not have it on when dining outdoors, too? You can, of course, simply have sound coming from the indoors, but for convenience’s sake (think changing a song quickly or controlling volume), invest in a good outdoor Bluetooth speaker.
- UP THE COMFORT LEVEL WITH AN OUTDOOR RUG
Making outdoor dining as comfortable as its indoor equivalent is all about investing into extra details, especially where it comes to soft furnishings. Sumptuous seat padding is a must, but to take your al fresco dining to a whole new level, lay an outdoor rug underneath your dining set.
- MAKE YOUR TABLE INVITING WITH CRISP TABLE LINEN
One of the pleasures of indoor dining is crisp and fresh table linen – so why not have the same level of detail outdoors? Choose natural, luxurious fabrics such as cotton and linen for a slightly rustic, cosy look and feel, but go for natural finishes and colours, as they won’t fade as obviously as bright colours.
- TAKE NOT JUST DINING, BUT ALSO COOKING, OUTSIDE
If your kitchen is not right next to your garden dining area, transporting heavy dishes between the inside and outside may be a challenge (especially if you are cooking for a large group). So, why not have a little kitchen dedicated to al fresco cooking right where you will be having dinner? Add a few plant pots, including herbs and you have a self-sufficient outdoor dining area complete with a mini kitchen.
- CREATE AN INTIMATE ARBOUR SPACE WITH PLANTS AND LIGHTS
Al fresco dining cannot be beaten for enjoying the sunshine and open air – but what about when it gets too hot, especially during lunchtime, or at night when you might need a little more shelter? Create a natural roof by training climber plants, such as ivy or a vine to form an arbour. Then accessorise with pretty festoon garden lights and enjoy outdoor dining without overheating.
- CREATE A SHADED AREA WITH A PARASOL
Outdoor dining means being at the mercy of changeable weather, from strong sun to an unexpected shower. To keep everyone comfortably cool – or protected from rain – choose a dining set with a parasol, or add a freestanding or clip-on version to your existing dining ensemble. This option is especially useful for exposed outdoor areas and terraces.
- GO SHABBY CHIC TO CREATE A UNIQUE OUTDOOR SPACE
Shabby chic is an enduringly popular look for bedrooms and kitchens, so why not try it in your outdoor dining area, too? The advantage of this type of look is that not everything needs to match. Invest in a beautiful metal outdoor dining set and then accessorise with favourite lamps, cushions, and lights. Hey presto, a romantic, ambient al fresco dining spot!
- CHOOSE STACKING OUTDOOR DINING CHAIRS TO SAVE SPACE
If your garden or terrace is on the small side, and you are planning on entertaining after dinner, you will want to pick outdoor dining chairs that are either easily folded or stacked away.