Backyard Dining—Alfresco Style
For many around the country this summer has been a scorcher. Thankfully, fall is on the horizon and there is finally relief in sight. Fall brings the seasonal bliss of cool mornings and crisp evenings. The time is nigh to begin preparing your backyard for dining alfresco style.
Whether situated under a bistro-lit pergola, beside a warm, crackling fire or on a beautifully paved patio, create a comfortable outdoor dining space for friends and family to enjoy when the weather cools off. Here is some inspiration to unlock your outdoor area’s full potential.
Set the Mood
When the fall months roll around, you’ll need some help staying warm in the evenings. Set up a lounge area near a fireplace or fire pit for pre-dinner or after dinner wine and conversation. Accent your space with colorful Mexican-inspired tile or create a lighted stone walkway. Hang a soft wind chime near your dining area to create a relaxing sound when the breeze picks up. No matter how you set the mood, cater to your personal design interests to make the space feel like an extension of your home.
Set the Outdoor Table
When setting your alfresco dining table, consider the meal you are preparing. If it’s a BBQ dinner—which can get messy—go casual with a paper tablecloth you can roll up and toss after dinner. If you’re making a fancy feast, a simple white tablecloth and linens will give you the feeling you are at a chic outdoor café. Decorate your outdoor tablescape with fresh flowers from your garden arranged in small vases and LED candles.
When it comes to dinnerware, go unbreakable. It’d be a shame to have a wine glass shatter across your new paving stone patio. You can find inexpensive elegant tableware of the paper or plastic variety at any home store.
If starting your dinner just as the sun begins to set, an adjustable tilt patio umbrella will help offset the glare from the changing angles of the sun. This style of umbrella can provide shade without getting in anyone’s way.
Dim the Lights
Of course you can eat an alfresco meal any time of the day, but when dinnertime rolls around, it’s important to have proper lighting installed. Not only does it add ambiance but it increases the safety of your outdoor area. LED landscape lighting will illuminate the paths, trees and other beautiful features of your backyard you worked so hard to perfect.
If your backyard alfresco dining setup is under a patio or overhang, a small outdoor chandelier and wall sconces will add charm. Hang illuminated lanterns and bistro lights from the overhang and/or surrounding trees.
Daytime Alfresco Dining
When lunch or brunch is on the alfresco menu, create a pleasing and playful table with colorful straws, seasonal fruit and water with beautiful slices of lemon. On warmer days nothing is better than a light cool Mediterranean style salad – check out Sam’s Mini Caprese Panzanella Salad recipe for inspiration! Perhaps move this picnic off the paved terrace and onto a grassy knoll. Take along the umbrella and movable chairs, or top a large blanket with pillows for a comfortable alfresco lunch.
If your design objective is to have a gathering place for your family and friends, turn to System Pavers for an outdoor living space designed around you.