The weather is warming up and that means it’s time to get ready for dining al fresco! Outdoor dining is a staple of spring and summer; sure you could just stick a picnic table in your yard, but why not you’re your outdoor dining area something special. Whether your space is a tiny balcony, expansive patio or lush yard, we’ve got some tips to help transform your space into an outdoor dining room that’s perfect for entertaining.
Light it up
Create instant ambiance (and allow your guests to see what they’re eating after dark) with cool lighting options. Use solar-powered outdoor lanterns to keep it easy, plug-free and green. Try hanging lanterns from the eaves, or a convenient tree; or make an arrangement of tabletop lanterns.
In most parts of the county, weather is a concern. Don’t let it rain on your outdoor diner plans. Putting your table on a covered porch, or putting up a canvas awning or tent will keep you enjoying the outdoors, even during summer showers. Added bonus? Keeping your table under cover also means less worry about sunburn. Make it pretty and practical and add sheer panels of mosquito netting to keep out the bugs.
Don’t forget to decorate
Treat your outdoor space just like a room in your home. Accessorize with personal touches, add a shot of your favorite color and find a way to add some art – maybe on the side of the house, or a convenient fence. Don’t forget lawn ornaments, or even pathway lighting that does double duty as a pretty accent.
Spring is still cool, and even in summer, evening temperatures can drop. Keep your guests cozy with a fire pit or heater. Or provide lots of toasty throws to wrap up in.
Think of your outdoor space as a destination. It’s a special place to go, treat it that way by making it stand out. Go ahead and go bold, don’t be shy. If you have outdoor features like a fountain or a pool, use them to anchor your dining area. If you’re limited by small space, or lack of major features, create a park-like setting with lots of container plants, or a pretty screen to create a sense of space.
Embrace what you have
Don’t fight the space you’ve got. If your outdoor dining area is a large expanse of yard, you can pretty much build or create whatever you want. Ditto for the big patio. If you’re working with a tiny terrace, don’t fight it, work with it. Opt for small bistro style seating and let the outdoor sidewalk cafes of Paris be your inspiration. Got a wide, country-style front porch? Break out the rocking chairs and porch swings, add some cushions and pour the lemonade into your prettiest glassware.
No matter what type of outdoor space you have, dressing it up and making it special will make it a more inviting place you, and your guests, will enjoy all season long.