Outdoor dining spaces are a great way to extend the livable space of your home. With proper planning, creating an outdoor dining area will have you enjoying meals under the stars and building memories with your family and friends for years to come. Here are some tips to help you get started.
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding where to have your outdoor dining area. Close proximity to a door to the house–ideally a door to the kitchen–will make it easier to transport dishes and food in and out. Consider exposure to the elements as well, such as wind and direct sun. If you are in a neighborhood, privacy is also a consideration. And of course, if you have a great view from your backyard, keep that in mind when arranging outdoor dining furniture as well.
Planning how you will layout the space will save time and money. Use masking or painters tape to mark the ground with the size and shapes of your furniture. This will give you a sense for how the space will function and help you select furniture that will fit comfortably into the space you have.
Function and Flexibility
Go for flexible designs, such as chairs that can double as lounge chairs in a seating area and tables that can extend to accommodate different size groups. And if you prefer to have a more flexible and portable dining space and/or are tight on storage, try high quality folding chairs that can accommodate extra guests but then be tucked away when not needed.
When considering materials, go for weather resistant and low maintenance materials, such as teak and powder coated steel. And take note–not all teak or other weather resistant materials are created equal. This is an area where you get what you pay for.
As you look for your outdoor furniture, select looks that complement the style inside your house. This will reinforce the extension of one continuous living space and flatter your home’s exterior and interior style. Though you want furniture that is functional, you shouldn’t have to compromise on style.
Finally, if you design the perfect outdoor dining space, you’ll find that dinner gatherings are likely to extend well past sundown. So, you’ll need to have enough lighting to keep the party going. Electric string lights can be hung in surrounding trees, in a canopy over the table or even tacked around the under edge of the table itself.
Be sure you only buy outdoor lighting to avoid fire hazards. Candles on the table and strategically placed around the dining area will both add light and create a calm, welcoming mood. Make the surrounding candles citronella, and you’ll also cut down on those annoying bugs.
Elizabeth Davis is president of Boardman Davis Communications, a boutique marketing firm with a focus on upscale brands and services. Davis manages the U.S. marketing and publicity efforts for Skargaarden.