When it comes to entertaining family and friends, nothing quite beats spending time together around the dining table. You have great company, good food and wine, as well as a lovely homely, intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Usually this involves eating in the dining area, however with summer approaching, the desire to entertain AND make the most of the summer weather, can be a strong one.
With the British weather being so unpredictable, dining outside can be a real treat – and also a major challenge! You want to spend time enjoying the warm of the evening sunshine, but you also want to keep your guests comfortable and relaxed!
Taking the inside – out
Defining an eating area
This can be a simple case of using the patio or decking area, just make sure you section this area off, to help with this definition. This can involve using planters and tubs (potted with low and tall plants), low walls and trellis or willow screening or even roped posts.
Light and shade
The beauty with summer is light is naturally provided by the sun during the day and the moon at night! However you’ll also want to add some ambient lighting and task specific lighting too – so consider solar lighting, mains powered string (fairy or coloured) LED lighting, candles and lanterns.
Shade is another consideration that needs to be planned, as during the day you may need some. Look to create some natural shade with taller trees or planted pergolas or, if opting for temporary shades, look to use parasols and shade sails.
Think comfort and entertainment
When it comes to dining outside, you want your guests to be comfortable. Choose your garden furniture with entertaining in mind. Opt for a table that is large enough for dinner plates, glasses, serving platters, jugs and bottles. Select chairs that are comfortable and enable your guests to sit up straight at the table to eat, whilst also being supportive and comfortable enough to encourage them to stay outside.
The great thing about summer styling is you an easily transfer inside to outside – and vice versa! Chair cushions that match both inside and outside, floor size cushions and beanbags add easy relaxation both inside and out, candles and lanterns to add ambience and intimacy, whilst throws can be added to your sofa AND taken outside to cover knees on cool evenings.
Remember to add the little extras, as they make it truly stylish and special. Dress your table with flowers or add flowering blossom to tall vases, as these look great both indoors and outside. Add coordinated summer table cloths and napkins to your dining table, along with hand painted jam jars to match – as these look great with tea lights in them!
When it comes to entertaining outside, it doesn’t have to involve lots of extra purchases – it’s often just a case of taking the time to clarify what you want and treating the outside as an extension to your home… and making sure everything works just as well inside your home, as it does out!
What creative ideas have you had, when it comes to entertaining outside? Why not share your suggestions, ideas – and even photos if you have them – in the comments box below and lets all make the most of the British summer!
Friends dining image courtesy of Monkey Business/Dollar Photo Club