There’s a certain kind of magic that comes from dining outdoors, especially in the warm summer months. Whether you’re having an afternoon barbecue or a candlelit dinner, dining al fresco makes for memorable moments.
To spend more time enjoying your meals outdoors this summer, read on for loads of helpful tips.
Creating a Comfortable and Inviting Dining Area
Before you buy any furniture, you’ll need to do some planning.
Where will you put your dining area? Make sure the space you choose is close enough to the house for quick trips to the kitchen and restroom. At the same time, you don’t want the table so close to the house that people have to squeeze past chairs to sit down.
If you have a grill, place it close enough to the table to allow for easy serving, but far enough away that diners aren’t bothered by smoke or grease spatter.
Next, consider how many place settings you’ll need. Most patio tables come with four, six, or eight people in mind. If you plan to host larger dinner parties, you may want to invest in a second table that can be brought out for events. Ensure that guests will have enough room to sit and eat comfortably.
Keep the area clean and clutter-free. This will add to its aesthetic appeal while ensuring everyone is safe from tripping or other hazards.
Also consider the stability of the area. Gravelled ground or spaces between wooden slats on a deck can make chairs and tables prone to tipping.
Since eating outside can attract pesky insects, you may want to consider how to minimize their presence. Citronella candles or bug zappers can be helpful.
The Best Furniture for Outdoor Dining
Dining requires more of patio furniture than, say, lounging and reading a book. Chairs and tables should be extra sturdy to withstand both the demands of increased use and weather conditions. No one wants to lose a meal to a sudden gust of wind.
The best patio dining sets are solidly built and won’t be easily blown over or damaged by weather. If you plan to store your furniture over the winter, look for items light enough to be moved with relative ease. If you plan to leave your furniture outside year-round, you can explore heavier options that feel more like indoor furniture.
Your table should be big enough to fit all the place settings you need, plus the delicious dishes you plan to serve.
Look for chairs that are comfortable and easy to clean. It’s also a good idea to invest in high-quality chairs that won’t buckle under pressure or tip back easily. If you do have spaces between the wooden slats on your balcony or patio, ensure the chair legs are big enough to avoid falling through the cracks.
Balance Functionality and Aesthetics
Of course, patio furniture should also look good. However, it’s important to ensure that aesthetics don’t carry more weight than function, or vice versa.
Most people tend to fall on one side or the other. Those more interested in function may buy good-quality furniture that’s mismatched. Others overvaluing aesthetics may clutter their space with candles or other decorations that are simply unnecessary, making the space less functional.
As you build your space, ask yourself if a new item will add to both the function of the dining area and its visual appeal. If not, look for something that can check both boxes.
Umbrellas and Covers: Essential Considerations for Dining Al Fresco
When you eat outside, the weather plays a key role in your experience. As anyone who has used an outdoor patio knows, bright sun can become uncomfortable quickly. Some careful planning can help you and your guests enjoy your meal even if the weather is uncooperative.
Cantilever umbrellas are a great way to provide shade on a hot day. They are easy to open and close, and you can customize the angle.
If you’d also like protection from the rain, you may consider a patio cover. These are typically mounted close to the roof of a house and extend over the yard. Some models such as awnings can be put up and taken down on a seasonal basis. There are also permanent patio covers that provide shelter year-round.
Lighting Tips for Evening Dining
Lighting is essential for evening dining and also adds a cozy glow to summer nights. If you don’t want to turn in when the sun does, ensure you have lighting options ready.
Outdoor chandeliers are a popular way to light a dining area and add aesthetic appeal. These are permanent fixtures usually installed on a roof and wired to the house’s electricity, like a porch light.
If your dining area isn’t covered, consider using lanterns with battery-operated candles. These can be hung from tree branches or outdoor light poles.
Smaller fairy lights can also be wound around light poles to add sparkle. These are more for ambiance than vision and should be used in addition to another, larger light source.
With a little planning, you can squeeze even more fun out of your summers by enjoying your meals outside. Create a little breakfast nook for yourself or a larger space that can accommodate family and friends. The sky is literally the limit.
If you’d like to get started on creating a fabulous outdoor dining space, drop us a line or stop by our showroom. We’d be happy to help!