Create the perfect outdoor dining space
If you’re anything like us, you’ll love a bit of outdoor dining. There's just something about food that always seems to taste better outside...especially when it’s been cooked on the garden grill, whilst you’re sat relaxing around a rattan dining set! So, to help you make the most of your little slice of the great outdoors, we've put together some tips on how to create the perfect dining experience in your garden.
The dining space
There’s lots of things to think about when it comes to choosing your outdoor dining space. Check out our top tips...
When the sun's shining there's nothing better than inviting your friends and family over for food, drinks and a good old catch up – but be sure to allow plenty of space for guests to move freely in and out of their seats – nobody likes to be crammed in the corner!
If you have a big garden space, you might want to think about having your outdoor dining table closer to the kitchen, so there’s less back and forth indoors.
Choose a sunny spot so you get the most natural light to enjoy all summer long and well into the evening. Although you're bound to want to soak up some rays in your outdoor space, don’t forget that you might need shade on the hottest of summer days, so you may want to get yourself a garden parasol or gazebo if space allows. It’ll help protect your food too.
If you’re cooking on the BBQ, make sure the BBQ is far enough away from your dining table and garden furniture. It’s great to be nearest to the food, but nobody wants to finish the day smelling of hot coals and cooked burgers!
The dining furniture
If you’ve got lots of space to play with, a large table with plenty of seats is a must. When the eating’s over, make sure your guests have space to sit back and relax - our lounge sets and garden sofas are perfect for this.
If room is a little more limited, opt for folding chairs and tables or bistro sets that can be neatly stored away when they’re not in use. If you’re doing a BBQ, people always arrive at different times anyway, so don’t be too concerned if there aren’t enough seats. And don’t forget, you can always pull out the emergency chairs!
Don’t forget to consider the style of outdoor furniture you’re choosing, too. If you have a cottage or country setting, wooden furniture is the perfect match, while ultra-modern spaces will be well-complemented with metal frames and glass tabletops. Want a blend of traditional and contemporary? Then rattan-effect furniture is just the thing.
If you haven’t had time to get any new furniture, the kitchen table will always work outdoors. Just pop a protective tablecloth on top, along with your dining set – nobody will ever know!
If your current outdoor furniture is looking past its best, check out our blog on how to spruce it up.
Spruce it up with some accessories
Choose from our range of outdoor cushions and seat pads – go for stylish on-trend patterns or block colours. With a water-repellent finish, they’re perfect for outdoors!
Add throws to the arms of chairs to add style. They’re ideal for when it gets a bit chilly later in the evening. We have so many styles and textures to choose from, you’re sure to find the right ones you’ll love.
Spruce up the garden by giving the lawn a cut and add some style with planters. Decorative plant pots will help brighten up your space, and garden décor like animal ornaments and garden plaques will bring personality to your garden.
Add some DIY decor
If you like to get creative, why not bring the DIY touch to your outdoor space? Create a laidback mood with easy lighting options and cute vases – it only takes a few accessories. Here’s how it’s done:
Instead of throwing out used glass jars, keep hold of them and jazz them up with jute string and ribbons. If you want to go that one step further, unleash your artistic side with some paint! Fill them with flowers for your outdoor table centrepiece. Don’t worry if you don’t have florist-ready fresh flowers; simply use off-cuts of green foliage from around the garden – it'll add the perfect rustic touch.
For something much simpler, place a pillar candle in the middle of your dining table and pop some garden foliage around it – it'll make a great focal point for your table.
To make your own garden lighting, wind craft wire around the top of the glass jars and create simple hangers. Half fill your glass jars with water and place tealight candles inside them. Hang them around your garden fence panels and watch the candles twinkle in the low light.
When the get-together runs into the night, switch on a relaxing ambience in your garden with our great selection of outdoor lighting.
Outdoor lighting can help turn your small garden into a cosy retreat. Simple candles will create a relaxing ambience, as will fairy lights and string lights intertwined on your trellises. Solar lights will look great around your flowerbeds, too. Don’t forget scented candles – they'll add ambience, style, warmth and great fragrance!
The all-important BBQ
Summer just wouldn't be the same without striking up the BBQ! Whether you prefer gas or traditional charcoal BBQs, they're perfect for enjoying food in the lovely sun.
Get sausages sizzling and halloumi heated up with our great range of BBQs. Choose our big four burner gas ones for those large family gatherings or go for compact kettle drum BBQs and portable camping grills, perfect for small get togethers.
Here's our top tips for the ultimate BBQ!
Make sure you serve up tasty food every time with our simple but effective tips:
- Don’t cook it cold - remove your meat from the fridge before you prepare your BBQ. This’ll make the meat easier to cook all the way through without burning the surface
- Marvellous marinade - marinate all your meat the night before cooking for extra flavour
- Be food safe - always keep cooked meat and uncooked meat separate
- Boost your barbie skills with all the BBQ tools and grill accessories you could need to cook up a storm – kitchen tongs are a must have! Make sure you have two lots – one for the cooked meat and one for the raw
- Meat vs veggie - keep meat and meat substitutes far apart when they’re cooking on the BBQ.
Food serving tips!
You don't want to feel like you're taking the whole kitchen outdoors with you each time you dine alfresco, so here are our essential items, (with some extra tips thrown in) that will make life much easier when you’re entertaining outdoors:
- Big serving bowls – they'll fit lots in, rather than carrying multiple small bowls. They’re great for salads, pasta and potatoes
- Make sure you have plenty of serving spoons and cutlery – that way guests will feel comfortable tucking into each dish. Serving plates and serving boards will help make the dishes more inviting!
- Make sure you pop covers on your food before guests tuck in, it’ll stop you having to constantly flap away those pesky flies...allowing you more time to concentrate on the cooking!
- Our cutlery caddy is great for bringing the cutlery with you and it comes with a carry handle - that’s a little win!
- Get a big bag of ice rather than ice cube trays – it'll save on refilling and freezing
- Don’t forget, food can go off quickly in the sun, so try not to bring food out into the garden too soon before everyone starts tucking in
Some handy extras
When there’s food and drink involved, your friends and family are guaranteed to have a great time, but to make sure your day is as good as it can be, here are our little extras to think about:
- Invest in a speaker or pop the radio on – relaxing music is great for daytime gatherings
- Keep some sun cream on the side for guests to use
- Ice buckets are perfect for keeping drinks cold and will help keep the drinks flowing
- Check if there are vegetarians in your group – veggie skewers always go down a treat!
- Remember, you don’t have to do it all – there’ll always be someone who’ll bring the puddings
- If you’re short on seats, don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring some easy-carry camping chairs with them
How do you dine outdoors in the summer? Let us know your top tips over on our socials...
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