Unforgettable Outdoor Entertaining: Backyard Dining Done Right

With the warmer weather comes an itching to do more outside…including eating. Barbeques, patio picnics, and outdoor dinners become more and more common. But there are some things you can do to make sure your al fresco dining experience is anything but common.

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Here are some pieces of advice on how to create a lovely and memorable outdoor dining event – without breaking the bank or taking up your entire weekend in preparation.

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Combine Pastels & Brights. Fresh flowers and table settings and décor that range from soft pastels to vibrant brights bring color and balance to any outdoor table setting.

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Make it Sparkle with Twinkle Lights. No matter what else you do, few things are as magical as twinkle lights at dusk. You can make your guests feel extra special simply by stringing up a few strands of white lights.

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Fill the Table. Whether with food or with flowers, filling the center of a picnic or patio table with colorful pieces makes the dining experience feel special and elegant. It’s a relaxed way to bring out the coziness and an unspoken invitation to linger a while.

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Copy Indoor Dining Décor – Use a Tablecloth. While it’s enchanting to be eating out among the flora and fauna of nature, outdoor dining is an experience made most lovely when it’s treated like a special event. A tablecloth, table furnishings such as candlesticks, even padded seats combine to make the evening an unforgettable one.

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Take Advantage of Unique Backdrops. If you’re lucky enough to have a lively tiled patio, by all means slide the table next to it for everyone to enjoy. Gnarled, twisted trees or lovely blooming shrubbery also work well for inspiring conversation and creating ambiance. If all else fails, throw a patchwork quilt over an old bench or wall for a similar creative effect.

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Decorate in Nature with Nature. This beautiful “living” wrap around the walls of the pergola is a perfect example of decorating for your outdoor dining experience with the stuff of nature. While you may not have the setup for such an elaborate piece, you could accomplish a similar feel by pulling in some large potted plants and flowers.

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Create the Feeling of a Ceiling. A beautiful way to appreciate the expanse of the great outdoors while keeping things cozy is to create a faux ceiling. A string or two of paper lanterns (coupled with those twinkle lights you’re planning on using) will accomplish this easily and aesthetically.

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Pull in Plenty of Seating. If you’re not planning on sitting at the dining table all night, make sure there is plenty of seating available for guests to comfortably linger. Pull some stools, benches, or other chair-type furniture onto the patio to extend your staying power.

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Keep the Focus on People. Whether your backyard is magazine-worthy or a small patch of gravel, the most important thing to remember when hosting an outdoor dinner is that it’s ultimately about the people – the people you love and with whom you want to spend time and create memories. Enjoy preparing and decorating for the event as much as you want, but don’t lose sight of what makes an experience truly unforgettable.