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An appetite for alfresco? Our top outdoor dining ideas

May 5, 2020

When the summer months arrive, it’s tempting to spend as much time outside as possible. And outdoor dining is a wonderful way to savour the warmth and peace of your garden or outside space. Whether it’s a quick coffee in the morning, a family picnic on the grass or an evening barbecue, dining al fresco can add that extra bit of magic to your day.

If you’re planning to redesign your garden or spruce up your outdoor space this summer, we’ve put together some outdoor dining ideas to provide you with some inspiration.

Create a cottage courtyard

If you have a small garden, why not create a cottage courtyard with classic garden furniture surrounded by beautiful potted flowers and herbs? You don’t need a lawn or raised patio to truly embrace outdoor dining. Simply style your cottage courtyard to complement the architecture of your home, with traditional furniture and atmospheric lighting.

Courtyard garden outdoor dining

Raised decking

Decking areas can offer a perfect spot for barbecues and alfresco meals. You can walk straight out onto raised decking from the back of your home or choose to have a sunny corner or central spot of your garden for an area of raised decking. To explore outline prices to install decking check out our decking cost guide.

Raised decking for outdoor dining

Extend your indoor living space

We all love bringing the outdoors in, but it’s also great to take the indoors out and extend your living space into the garden. A great way to do this is to have a paved patio area by your French or bi-fold doors, so you can easily move between your indoor and outdoor living areas.

Morning sun trap

Depending on the direction of your home, you may get the sun in different areas of your garden at different times of the day. If you have a sunny spot in the mornings, why not create a quiet seating area to enjoy your morning coffee as the sun warms your face? Alternatively, if you get evening sun in your garden, you could create a romantic dining area for enjoying the last of the sun’s rays.

Build a summerhouse

If your garden is big enough, a summerhouse is a great way of creating a versatile dining space that feels separate from your home, and that you can use whatever the weather. You could also opt for a canopy or gazebo.

Gazebo for outdoor dining

Picnic areas

There’s nothing better than a family picnic on the lawn. Whether you opt for real or artificial grass, you simply need a picnic blanket and good food.

Create a beautiful outdoor dining environment with plants

Plants and flowers aren’t just a treat for the eyes. They can also reduce the feeling of wind in your garden and help to create sections and secluded areas. From classic pots to raised beds and climbing plants, they really help to create an oasis of natural beauty.

Plants surrounding patio space

Find a local landscape gardener

Create a relaxing dining environment

Water features are a great way to bring peace and serenity to a garden. Imagine enjoying your lunch in the sun, accompanied by the beautiful acoustics of a fountain or meandering stream. See our article here about the different types of water features available for your outdoor space.

Temporary dining areas

Not all dining areas need to be a permanent fixture in your garden. If you have an area of decking or patio, you may have multiple uses for it and not want your dining furniture out permanently. Choose easy to store furniture and build a garden shed to store it away. See our article here about how to build a budget-friendly shed.

Create a magical atmosphere with outdoor lighting

If you want an outdoor dining space that you can use once the sun sets, you will need outdoor lighting. From classic wall lights, to festoon string and fairy lights, you can really enhance the atmosphere of your outdoor space with different layers of light. See our article here sharing outdoor lighting ideas.

If you’re thinking of redesigning your garden or creating a unique outdoor dining area, use our Checkatrade search to find a trusted and vetted tradesperson in your area.

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