It has taken us many years to get our outdoor space to a place where we can and want to host, entertain, and have all the fun during the amazing summer months that we have. I have had so many ideas swirling around my head and living where we do, there is a tendency to want to create an effortless but classic outdoor space with a touch of imperfection, amazing views, and oodles of green space perfect for outdoor dining and entertaining.
There are so many options for outdoor dining and entertaining. Whether you have acres to dress up or a small balcony or concrete pad as your backyard, you can create a space just right for you to do outdoor entertaining.
With as much space as we have, and as much work as we put into it, I love sharing it with friends and family and I would spend every night outside when the weather is good. Outdoor entertaining and dining can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to it and with some fo the experience I have had entertaining in my own backyard as well as with some wedding planning I have done, there are things to consider that will make your outdoor dining experience more enjoyable! I want to share 24 outdoor dining and entertaining tips to make your next event more successful and enjoyable.
This summer I decided to update my old picnic table and move it to the garden area. Last year, our garden area has completely transformed from a purely functional space to a space that we can enjoy full of style and separate areas with charming features. I never thought I would need a dining area in the garden but now that I have one I will never go without one. The gorgeous views are just a huge bonus. It is a great place to entertain.
The picnic table was in some desperate need of an update. The paint was peeling and it needed so much love. I ended up sanding down the top of the table and letting the raw grain stand out. I painted the base black so that it would stand out and be consistent with the rest of my outdoor color scheme. I used the same color on the base as what is on my homes exterior. Now the table is ready to host tons of outdoor dining moments.
Often we will whip up a dinner, fill our plates and wander out to either the garden or our patio to enjoy our meals. It is so nice in the garden. I have situated my dining table under a couple of peach trees where you can still enjoy the spectacular view. Since our peaches froze in the late frost this year I do not have to worry abut fruit dropping around and making a mess. This spot is the most shaded spot in the garden which is why we aren’t planting anything in that spot. Its the perfect place for us to dine in.
If this is your first time hosting an outdoor event, outdoor dining and entertaining, check out these tips below.
Lets chat about all the great ways to make your outdoor dining and entertaining game strong.
AMP UP THE AMBIANCE
Creating outdoor dining spaces with oodles of ambiance will completely transform your outdoor dining experience. Things like textures, as well as lighting can totally transform an outdoor space.
PROTECT YOUR DINING AREA FROM WEATHER
When considering whether you want to dine on an outdoor patio or in a garden make sure your dining area is protected from the weather. Ours is obviously not as it is out in the garden. However we have two different dining areas now, and the one on the patio is protected. It is in a nice shaded area which helps tremendously and we do not get much rain so that is usually not an issue.
CREATE A DEFINED AREA FOR DINING
It is important that the place you choose to dine be a defined area for dining. Keep it as such. Even if you only plan to use it one night or for the entire summer season.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT DINING SET
Dining furniture can vary widely. It can be an old picnic table that needs some love or it can be a new, modern table with tons of class and style. The choice is yours. I would recommend choosing something that is durable in the outdoor weather. Even our old picnic table is made of redwood and thus has withstood the outdoor elements wonderfully. Outdoor tables can last a long time as long as you treat them right and protect them as well.
MAXIMIZE THE VIEW
Wether you have a view of a National Park or a view of your backyard cement brick wall, maximize it! Add string lights, planters and other things to your wall to create a visual appealing sight. I am very lucky to have amazing views 360 degrees around my backyard. We have Bryce Canyon National Park on one side and the Escalante Mountain on the other with alfalfa farms filling the space in between. It isn’t too hard to find a beautiful view. We definitely take advantage of this.
SET A PRETTY TABLE
Something I always like to do when entertaining outside is to set a pretty table. Often times I wont even set up the serving ware, but I will have them on the ready, and create a pretty space that will invite people to the table.
This is an incredibly important thing to consider. There are tons of options including candles, and even citronella plants! You could set up a centerpiece with citronella plants and have it serve double duty. Candles are also great because they give off such a cozy hue. It is a better way to protect your guests than spraying them down with bug spray.
HAVE A PLACE OR TABLE TO SET UP FOOD AND DRINK
If your dining area is a bit far from the kitchen, have another table or space to set be able to set up the food and drink. I like to use my greenhouse. It super close to our garden dining area and can keep it all protected.
HAVE OUTDOOR LIGHTING OPTIONS SUCH AS LANTERNS, LIGHT STRANDS ETC
This is also a very important element. We love to use the large vintage outdoor light strands. They put off a ton of light and have a warm and cozy vibe. You can also use landscaping lighting to illuminate walkways, and if you can manage an overhead light of some kind, do it. It will highlight the beautiful scenery as well.
CREATE SOME OUTDOOR SEATING AREAS
In addition to our outdoor dining area I wanted some areas where people could congregate to chat and just hang out. I keep my outdoor entertaining casual and chill. We have a could chairs set up as well as a hammock to create a couple different areas as well as the lounge chairs on my main patio, which is not too far away.
DONT SET UP TOO FAR FROM BATHROOM
This is something you must consider. While having a amazing dining experience out in the middle of a field would be amazing, it also comes with planning. You must have some sort of bathroom access. When we planned my sisters outdoor wedding we planned to have a couple discreet outhouses for the guests.
MIX AND MATCH CHAIRS FOR EXTRA CHARACTER
As you can see from my table I love to mix and match chairs, candleholders and more. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere and it give the space tons of character. It also helps if you so not have tons of outdoor furniture on hand. Outdoor dining sets are amazing, but if you are needing to seat more than what you have, mix and match some other furniture in there.
SET UP A PORTABLE FAN IF THE WEATHER IS HOT
During the warmer months, it would be a good idea to have a portable fan or have it set up in an area where you have an overhead fan. We do not generally have extreme heat here, so it is not an issue.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN IN CASE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER
Always, always have a backup plan. Planning wedding really sealed this for me. Have an indoor space available in case of rain or bad weather.
IF GRILLING, KEEP IT AWAY FROM THE EATING AREA
This is actually a really good tip. Nobody wants to come home from a party smelling like grease or smoke. If you can, and you plan to grill try to keep it away from the lounge and dining areas.
HAVE A BLUETOOTH SPEAKER TO PLAY YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC WITH
This is a wonderful way to keep the outdoor mood and using a bluetooth speaker allows you the freedom to change music as you feel the need.
CREATE A SIMPLE CENTERPIECE ON YOUR TABLE
Keep it simple or make it as fancy as you want. I always have a centerpiece even if it is simply a potted plant and some old candlesticks. Its easy and it creates the right amount of drama. I used a pot of Helichrysum and gold candlesticks and a couple sets of antlers and that is it!
MAKE IT COZY WITH A COUPLE PILLOWS AND BLANKETS DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER
We often have cool nights where a light blanket is needed. I always add a couple blankets to my outdoor dining space in order to keep people comfortable. You can also extend your outdoor dining season by investing in an outdoor fireplace
ADD PLACEMATS AND LINENS
Don’t forget to add placemats and linens to your table as a way to dress it up and provide necessary items for your guests.
Its crucial to provide shade to outdoor dining tables especially in warm weather. You want your guests to be comfortable and not get too hot. Having a shaded spot is so important. There are different ways to do this including umbrellas, large shade structures using durable materials, trees and more.
BE CONSCIENTIOUS ABOUT ACCESSIBLE DINING
Make sure to consider handicap access where you are dining. You definitely want too consider guests that may not be mobile enough to access your outdoor dining area.
PROVIDE A DRINK STATION OR OUTDOOR BAR
This is a fun element to add for your guests and it makes it easy for them to be able to freshen up their drinks without too much fuss. Maybe find out some of their favorite drink choices and have them available.
CONSIDER A BUFFET AND HAVE A PLACE TO SET IT UP
Buffets are an easy way to let everyone serve them selves and keep the food all in one area.
FIRE PITS ARE A GREAT ADDITION AND CREATE AMBIANCE
We love having a fire pit and use it often when we have an outdoor get together. If you want a smoke less fire that will not make you smelly, consider many of the manufactured outdoor fire pits available.
Why not! A water feature is a great way to add more ambiance to your outdoor dining area. The sound of water is so relaxing and can make a great distraction if you live in a noisy area in the city.
Outdoor dining and entertaining is one of my favorite activities during the summer and fall months. With great food, great outdoor dining furniture, and close friends and family, it is the perfect place to spend time together. There is something about dining in the open air, or al fresco dining. It is refreshing and relaxing. It gives us a chance to reboot from a long day. So wether we are going big and making it fancy or simply chowing down on a pizza it is a great time to get together and spend quality time together.
Want more great outdoor dining ideas? Check these posts out below:
Make Simple Pizzas On The Grill // Most Lovely Things
24 Outdoor Dining and Entertaining Tips For Your Backyard // Twelve On Main
Creating An Outdoor Dining Experience // My Sweet Savannah
Summer Outdoor Dining Ideas // My 100 Year Old Home
Outdoor Entertaining Ideas For Your Backyard // Modern Glam
Easy Tips For Outdoor Entertaining // Inspiration For Moms
Fruity Sangria Recipe // Happy Happy Nester
Poolside Happy Hour Entertaining Ideas // Life Is Better At Home
Refreshing Summer Drink Recipes & Summer Entertaining Ideas // The Happy Housie