Whether you’re having a picnic, an al fresco meal or a good old barbecue, dining outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy the summer weather. So, to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your little slice of the great outdoors, we’ve put together some tips on how to create the perfect dining space in your garden.

1. The dining space

The first thing to consider when creating your outdoor eating area, is what area in your garden is going to be best for dining. If you have a particularly large garden, think about positioning your dining table close to the kitchen; a long distance from your kitchen may put you off having a spontaneous lunch in your garden. If you have a big family, make sure that the table is placed in an area where there’ll be space for moving chairs. Nobody likes to be cramped in the corner!

And don’t forget to be where the sun shines. While you’re bound to want to soak up some rays in your outdoor space, also consider creating a space where you can enjoy the shade. Choose an area that will have natural shade, or install a parasol in the dining area so you can create shade whenever you wish. Parasols are also great for keeping sunlight away from food.

2. Using outdoor fairy lights

When the sun sets it doesn’t mean you need to head indoors but it does mean you need to bring some mood lighting to your seating area. Simple candles will create a relaxing ambience, as will fairy lights intertwined on your trellises. Solar lights will look great around your flowerbeds, too. And, because the temperature can soon drop later in the evening, a fire pit or chimenea will keep you nice and warm.

3. Using wooden crates outdoors

Shelving doesn’t just belong indoors. Unused pallets and wooden crates can create structure to your garden and work perfectly as functioning shelves for garden ornaments, flower pots and your homemade tealight holders and vases. Crates can be turned into mini flower beds and displays that can transform a corner of your garden and create an inviting atmosphere.

4. DIY outdoor decor

Create an ambience using what you have at home. Instead of throwing out used glass jars into the recycling, keep hold of them and jazz them up with jute string and ribbons. You can fill them with flowers for your outdoor table centrepiece or half fill them with water and place tealight candles inside them and hang them around the fencing in your garden. Don’t worry if you don’t have florist-ready fresh flowers; simply use off-cuts of green foliage from around the garden. Why not get the kids to create some wall art too? It’s a great way to keep them occupied and they’ll love seeing it displayed in and around your garden.

Now you’ve got the ambience for your outdoor dining room, don’t forget to make it comfy too. Think cushions and throws to give it that gorgeous, cosy effect.

5. The dining furniture

If you’ve got lots of space to play with, a large table with plenty of seats is a must. However, if room is a little more limited, opt for folding chairs and tables or bistro sets that can be neatly stored away while they’re not in use.

Don’t forget to consider the style of 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 table tops. Want a blend of traditional and contemporary? Then rattan-effect furniture is just the thing.

From homemade art to homemade vases, when you use what you have within or around the home, the little opportunities to upgrade your garden are endless and inexpensive, and great fun too!

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