Nothing beats light lunches in the summer heat or being wrapped up in blankets with a bottle of wine and a full feast beneath the stars – so make sure your backyard ideas are ready to host.
Taking supper from the dining room to the deck doesn’t imply you should reduce your aesthetic standards; instead, treat your dining table and environs with the same care and attention you would give to any location with four walls.
There are a few more considerations with an outside setup, such as working with the elements all year round and tying your decor with the surrounding nature.
Whether adding an eating area as part of your outdoor kitchen ideas or tucking a small bistro area into the corner of your patio, these smart outdoor dining ideas will inspire you.
1. Select a Sheltered Location for Your Outdoor Dining Area
According to Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens, there are two schools of thought on this. ‘Either build a convenient space near the house for ease of access and a seamless flow from inside to outdoors, or choose a spot in a gorgeous or quiet portion of the garden where you can create a comfortable, covered outdoor eating area.’
Consider the orientation. Unless you are planning it with pergola shade ideas, avoid placing an outdoor eating area in a backyard region that receives the sun during midday and early afternoon.
West-facing is good since it maximizes light and warmth in the evening and may even provide a glimpse of the sunset.
And remember that an outdoor eating area does not have to be the only attraction in a garden.
Experiment with positioning it next to a pathway leading to another garden zone or a visual focal point.
This will make the space feel more like an active component of the garden’s natural flow rather than isolated.
2. Design an Indoor-Outdoor Dining Area
Consider the benefits and drawbacks of keeping outdoor dining and outdoor living room ideas separate or integrated, just as you would indoors.
Dedicated zones can give a great plot function and create gathering locations if you have a large backyard.
With the popularity of open-plan living indoors, however, many people now desire to have the two spaces flow smoothly into each other.
3. Use Table-Top Heating to Stay Warm
It’s easy to lose track of time when eating, drinking, and relaxing and to fail to notice as dusk falls and temperatures decrease.
You want your guests to be comfortable, so consider how you’ll give warmth to avoid chills.
Simple options include a built-in table-top backyard fire pit, one of the year’s top outdoor living trends.
If you want a stand-alone fire pit, choose a tall narrow type rather than a bowl to save room and ensure safety.
Other possibilities are an overhead electric heater, preferably incorporated into an existing wall to maximize floor space or a gas heater.
However, while reliable and convenient, there are more environmentally responsible options.
4. Selecting the Best Outdoor Furniture
Choosing that all-important table and chairs is a critical design decision that will affect the entire room, so spend your time researching different styles and asking if your chosen outdoor furniture is waterproof.
To make the most of a contemporary scheme, materials, shapes, and colors must all work together cohesively; geometric lines and highly polished materials like brushed or stainless steel offer little leeway.
A comfortable vintage mood, on the other hand, allows for a more varied approach.
However, please choose a color palette and stick to it, possibly using one background color, such as cream, and picking up surrounding plants and garden elements for accents, or your outdoor eating place will look cluttered.
If you can’t decide, classic teak never looks out of place and may be styled in various ways. It may be more expensive than some artificial options, but this natural and easy-to-maintain material will pay for it over many years of enjoyable outdoor events.
5. Tablespace to Astound
The beauty of designing an outdoor dining area is that you may let your imagination run wild. Begin with a tablecloth or runner in a complementary or contrasting color to the surrounding color scheme.
You can even lay another on top, possibly along the length of the table or as a centerpiece, for more impact.
Build up the middle of the table by bringing in things of varying heights, but always stick to the same textures – for example, natural wood would go with hessian and recycled glass for a natural aesthetic – and at most three colors to help the whole design hang together.
Bring in small mirrored items like coasters or candlesticks to reflect all available light, and add flowers and foliage like ferns and ivy – anything with a strong structure that hangs and drapes attractively.
If the greatest blooms still need to be in season, simulate them with stems and greenery from your garden or backyard.
6. Selecting the Best Plants for an Outdoor Dining Area
The first stage is to incorporate garden screening concepts (for example, a backdrop of light and delicate plants around an outdoor eating area to create a semi-permeable effect that allows dappled light to pass through).
‘This effect also provides glimpses of places and elements beyond, moving the eye around the space and making it feel more linked and inviting,’ says the designer.
They also list preferred plants he always likes to place around an outdoor eating area, such as herb garden ideas and butterfly plants.
7. Create a dining area with a garden design:
Avoid cramming the dining area against the edges of your garden or yard; leave enough space for borders or planters to soften the space.
If you cannot provide borders, huge planted pots will produce the same impression.
Adding any barrier around an outdoor dining area will also help create a sense of privacy.
Allowing self-seeding plants like Red Valerian to enter hard landscaping softens the effect. To add texture and interest, you can remove a few pavers and replace them with robust, resilient plants like grasses or house leeks.
8. Include Shelter Against The Elements
Adding an overhead shade, sail, canopy, gazebo, or pergola roof ideas to an outdoor dining area accomplishes numerous goals in a single step.
Depending on the density and waterproofing, it will give shade on hot days and rain protection.
If your garden or yard is overlooked, as in an urban setting, it will also provide privacy from above neighbors.
In addition, if you choose a pergola or another open-work structure, you may utilize it as a base for climbing plants that add color and, preferably, scent to the room.
Choose an evergreen climber in temperate climates, such as a pyracantha or a grapevine.
If you’re thinking of adding a cover to your outdoor dining area, remember to be liberal. Therefore the idea is to give an all-encompassing canopy that covers everyone at the table.
9. Construct a ‘Hug Wall’ to Increase Intimacy
This design incorporates some enclosure to create a sense of protection and safety.
This is especially crucial when designing an outdoor dining area; no one wants to feel like they’re eating on a stage, so avoid raising a dining area on a plinth.
The principles might be slightly different for a smaller table and chairs set up to capture the morning sun – perhaps with a cup of coffee – but, generally, go low.
‘If you can’t dig a recessed area, an alternate approach to generate this impression of confinement is in the form of a wall, which was created in one garden where the wall softly slopes down from the back to create the feeling of being held in a cocoon. The client refers to this as “the hug wall.”
10. Work In Outdoor Lighting
Smart technology allows you to program backyard garden lighting ideas directly from your smartphone or voice-activated device, which is very innovative—experiment with making the lights turn on and off at regular intervals or gradually brighter as darkness falls.
However, you’ll also want to create a warm and inviting ambiance over and around the table’s focal point. Take an organic and intuitive approach to this.
Garlands of fairy lights or bulbs and lanterns hanging from tree branches or suspended from exterior walls on wires are attractive options that can be readily changed.
Consider installing a mains-powered water feature with integrated lighting for a pleasant and calming outdoor ambiance.
11. Combine and Contrast Outdoor Dining Furniture
Matching furniture sets have fallen out of popularity in recent years, and have been replaced by chosen, complimentary items that provide a more personal, less showroom-like vibe.
So, why settle with a simple outdoor furniture arrangement? Instead of buying a table and chair set, buy each piece separately.
Modern metal dining chairs lend a contemporary twist to a matched craftsman-style table and bench.
12. Construct a dining area on a covered porch:
Refrain from allowing the afternoon sun’s brightness or a light summer shower to deter you from dining al fresco.
Set up a table and chairs on a covered front porch, as shown in the home of interiors above, for an outdoor eating area shielded from the elements.
A fashionable feature is the possibility of putting a striking pendant light over the table.
13. Design A Relaxed Dining Experience
Line up a series of cocktail tables and replace dining chairs with huge outdoor cushions for an unplanned gathering or to change up the standard outdoor dining space.
‘There are areas inside for more formal eating, and we wanted to take a more relaxed, but yet classy, approach. What better way to spend a bright spring afternoon than dining al fresco in the garden?’
14. Host a Large Gathering With A Full-Sized Dining Table
If you host many parties during the summer or live in a region where outdoor eating is possible all year, consider making your backyard space your primary dining place with a large outdoor dining table.
The occupants in the Los Angeles home above used their outside square footage to compensate for their home’s smaller layout by adding a dining table that seats eight.
The modern furniture complements the home’s midcentury roots.
15. Develop A Sense Of Place
Dining outside always feels like a special occasion, so why not set the tone for future great evenings?
Choose outdoor furnishings, decorations, and lighting that evoke a specific location or design style to create a sense of place.
Pearl Design Interiors is a Texas-based company. To emphasize the home’s Palm Beach location, an antique, Art Deco-inspired dining set was matched with tropical-inspired decorations.
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