Have you heard? The sun is slowly starting to poke his head out of the clouds so it’s time to throw open the patio doors and get ready for outdoor dining. One of the most used areas of the home during the warmer months, your garden deserves just as much attention as any bedroom, bathroom or living room and the patio is the main spot we spend our summers in. From summer cocktail parties to intimate al fresco dinners, make sure your outdoor eating space is ready this year with our patio dining ideas which includes handy tips to get this area looking it’s best just in time for guests…
1. Have a Clear Out
The first port of call in preparing your patio, balcony or any outdoor dining space as soon as you get the first hint of warmer weather is to have a clear out. Thoroughly clear & clean the tiling, stonework or decking to remove winter’s debris and trim back any plants in the area. Once you’ve done this you’ll have a blank canvas to work on updating.
2. Refresh Your Formal Outdoor Tableware
If you’re super organised already have an outdoor space which is perfectly prepped for enjoying the warmer months (lucky you) then one of the easiest ways to update the space is to refresh your outdoor tableware. Outdoor dining settings lend themselves to a more relaxed way of life with rustic tableware designs particularly effective for creating an inviting look. Even when entertaining, formal tableware you normally reserve for special occasions can look overdone in an outdoor setting. Experimenting with textures and pattern along with colour, can add spring or summer style to a patio in an instant which is both relaxed yet effortlessly chic for evening soirees or afternoon barbecues.
3. Don’t Forget the Relaxed Tableware Too
For everyday dining or family barbecues you can go even more relaxed with tableware specifically designed for outdoor use. Melamine and acrylic tableware is often used for picnics but transfers beautifully to the table top too. Durable and unbreakable, this tableware is ready to face the outdoor elements and with many brands releasing new designs all the time, the colour and pattern options are endless. Many are so chic you’d never know they aren’t porcelain until you touch them.
4. Get Your Garden Glowing with Outdoor Lighting
All the best garden soirees carry on long after the sun goes down so you’ll need to invest in outdoor lighting to make the most of your outdoor space in the summer months. From festoon string lights, to heavy-duty bulk heads there are so many lighting styles to choose from to help you highlight your garden’s best features. Our outdoor lighting ideas guide will help light the way to an illuminating garden.
5. Invest In Garden Furniture to Last Year after Year
One of the biggest investments for your garden is your garden furniture. High quality furniture should last for years and if stored well over the winter it will help your garden look its best as soon as the sun comes out. The foundation of any outdoor dining space, garden furniture needs to be practical and long lasting and both your everyday dining and entertaining needs should be taken into account when shopping for these pieces. For those that love to entertain al fresco a large table with benches or sofas is a must-have to squeeze in as many people as possible. Or for those with balconies rather than gardens, two person bistro sets are ideal as they allow you to enjoy outdoor dining without taking up too much precious outdoor space.
6. Add Garden Accessories
Outdoor cushions look stylish placed on benches or chairs around the table, whilst throws serve the dual purpose of adding texture to the look along with extra warmth. Weatherproof placemats and coasters are also essential for any outdoor dining setting as they will not only protect tables from heat and spillages but will also add an additional pop of pattern or colour.
Accessories can make or break any room in the home and it is exactly the same in the garden. As with any interior space, purely focusing on just the key elements such as furniture, lighting and other essentials can leave a space looking bare and lacking in personality. Ensure your unique style is shown off just as much outside as it is in by finishing the patio with a selection of accessories.
7. Make Sure Your Patio Stays Cosy
Even in the height of summer once the sun goes down our gardens can get a little chilly. Fire pits and chimineas are becoming more and more popular each year as not only do they keep you toasty long into the night but they extend your garden usage well into spring and autumn too. For added cosiness, make sure you have blankets and throws on hand too so you and guests can really wrap up warm.
8. Surround the Space with Greenery
This may sound strange as chances are your patio is already set amongst the greenery of your garden, however how much foliage is there actually around your seating area? Pots and planters are a fabulous way to bring more greenery to patios and help to create fluidity between the wood or stonework and the grass in a garden. They also allow you to surround your outdoor dining space with your favourite plants and will help create a more intimate, secluded section of the garden.
9. Spread Out to the Rest of the Garden
Al fresco dining doesn’t always need to be a sit-down (or up) occasion; sometimes the best place to have a picnic is your own garden. For those particularly hot days, abandon the table completely, layout a picnic blanket and enjoy delicious salads and sandwiches using your favourite picnicware. Picnic backpacks have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their easy transportation but if you are indulging in an at home picnic, you can’t beat a classic hamper filled with everything you need for an al fresco feast. If you aren’t looking to splurge on an entire picnic set, this is another fabulous use for the melamine tableware we mentioned above which won’t break even with little ones running around.