Whether you have a cool city patio or a sprawling country garden, nothing beats eating outdoors in the summer months. In recent years, outdoor spaces have become especially significant to us: more than just somewhere to place a few pots and plants, they are social hubs, calming sanctuaries, and places of peace and healing. It’s never been a better time to invest in an outdoor dining experience that you can cherish forever.
And what’s the key element of an outdoor feast? Definitely, a table, so every restaurateur should take good care of it. Here’s our guide to setting your outdoor table properly.
Cover It Up
There’s no getting away from it: in many locations, the weather is unreliable, even in the summer. Unpredictable rainy days is the price paid for enjoying all-year-round lush greenery. If you do live in an area where the summer is, well, not always the summer, the first thing to think about is how to cover your outdoor dining area. Al fresco dining is no fun when your guests and food are soggy.
There are various approaches to coverings. Keith Pounder and Sean Walter of The Plant Specialist opt for a clever, wisteria-clad covering. This is a great option if you are looking for an organic, natural look. The leaves provide a shady spot and will go some way to sheltering guests from a light drizzle.
If the pressure of upkeeping a wisteria covering is a tall order and you prefer something that provides shelter in all seasons, then consider an outdoor dining pod. Pods have grown in popularity over the last few years, largely due to their sleek aesthetic, low maintenance and adaptability. The transparency of outdoor dining pods means that guests will be treated to maximum natural light, whilst staying dry and warm. Visit Hypedome dining pods page for an outdoor dining pod that will suit your garden space, big or small.
Top Tip: Semi-permanent structures, like Hypedome outdoor dining pods, are more likely to be enjoyed year-round than a temporary gazebo. Don’t fall into the trap of buying a flimsy structure that never gets used – it is worth investing in a dining solution that you’re proud of.
Place It In An Appealing Location
Even when working with a smaller space, the location of your al fresco dining area should be considered carefully. The trick is to make your dining space both complement and enhance your garden. For smaller spaces, create a different level for your dining area. Yorkshire Gardens outline some simple (and inexpensive) ideas to introduce a multi-level concept to your garden. We love the industrial look of built-up gabions, which contrasts beautifully with delicate greenery.
In larger spaces, think carefully about your guests’ dining experience. What will they walk past before reaching their dinner table? If you are lucky enough to have a garden blooming with colourful flowers or bursting with water features, devise a secret gardenesque path, which leads guests along your garden’s most impressive features. A ‘hidden’ outdoor dining spot adds a sense of mystery and magic to an evening. If you are feeling really extravagant, mark the way with burning torches or candles to create a truly evocative outdoor dining experience.
Top Tip: Think carefully about the view of your dinner guests. Even if you do not have rolling fields as your backdrop, make the surrounding area more interesting by hanging plants or even installing outdoor art pieces.
Set The Scene
Dressing your outdoor dining table should be a real pleasure and something to have fun with! Expert event planner and founder of Social Pantry, Alex Head, says, ‘When entertaining, setting the scene is essential. Wow your guests on arrival with fun decorative elements, then wine & dine them so they’re suitably relaxed and you’re in for a fun evening ahead.’
Alex suggests using soft linens to ensure that your guests stay warm and cosy, as well as innovative table-setting ideas: ‘Blur the lines and utilise those unused flower pots that you haven’t quite got round to planting for your cutlery and serving utensils. Kitchen supper style – this is perfect for when space is limited and there’s no need to properly set the table.’
If you opt for an outdoor dining pod, decorate the interior with a variety of plants – tall and small – to complement the space surrounding it. Festoon lighting provides a convivial atmosphere as the evening draws in; the pod becomes a luminous sanctuary in the darkness.
Top Tip: Colour goes a long way in garden settings. Be bold in your choices of ceramics and linens – mix up colours and don’t be afraid to experiment.
The Hypedome team is always excited and happy to hear about how we can support your innovative garden ideas. We have beautiful domes available to suit spaces of any size and are here to answer questions about heating, lighting and decorating your dome. Get in touch now!