I don't know about you, but as soon as the warmer temperatures arrive, I like to be outside as much as possible. We have a small but decent-sized backyard and we try to use every square inch.
Last week I shared how I make the most of our small backyard patio and you can catch up on that post by clicking here.
During the summer months, we eat most of our meals outside at our outdoor dining table.
Today I thought I would share my top tips for dining Al Fresco (ie eating outside).
Use Regular Dishes
Every year I am tempted to buy the fun outdoor melamine dish sets I see at my favorite retailers. I have bought those in the past, but found I was struggling to find a space to store all these extras for the remaining 9-10 months of the year, so now we just use our regular white dishes from IKEA.
My kids are older now, so the risk of breaking things is less, but accidents still happen, whether you are eating outside or not. This is one of the main things I love about IKEA dishware...if anything gets broken it is easily replaced for a minimal cost. When it comes to glassware, we were using our regular glasses (also from IKEA) but on a recent shopping trip I fell in love with this plastic pitcher and matching glasses...
Doesn't this set look like real glass? The kids have been having friends over to play outside now that the warmer months are here, and they were bringing glasses of water outside every time. I thought having a pretty plastic set was a safer option ... how is that for justification?
A little organization goes a long way
Unless you are wearing a fitness tracker and trying to get your steps in for the day, running in and out of the house a billion times to grab the ketchup, or some extra napkins while your food sits there getting cold can be a real pain! When we are setting our outdoor table for dinner, we have discovered the beauty of two simple items.
1. a utensil caddy
We have one of these at our Lake cabin and seeing as we are going to be home all summer and using our backyard dining room here exclusively I decided to purchase one for home. I went with this black one from Amazon.
Trays are wonderful for styling but also for carrying multiple items in and out of the kitchen. I keep this tray on the counter and load it up with whatever condiments we need for dinner, as well as some glasses and our water pitcher. Because I like the way these items look, I don't mind them living on my counter as part of the decor.
Just as of recently we have started having some unexpected guests join us outside for dinner....yep, it's wasp season. 2 out of the 3 kids have been stung before and are terrified, and Steve is actually allergic to them, so nothing kills the mood quite like these tiny terrorists. Last summer we had a great mosquito netting tent thing that hung above the table, but when Ginger came along, that didn't work so well because she LOVES shredding any kind of fabric she can get her teeth into. We keep these wasp zappers on hand and they work like a charm!
I also like to use pretty citronella candles as part of my decor to deter mosquitos. These brass ones came as a set of 3 from Home Depot and I thought they were cute...
I also found some pretty ones at the dollar store, it was hard to pick but I ended up going with this one...
Make it Pretty
When it's just our family I keep things pretty basic with just the essentials. But because I am me, and making things pretty brings me such joy, sometimes I like to take our outdoor table to the next level and I will add some decorative items.
We have actually had a few small groups of friends over to share take out in the backyard, and I think it's a great way to socialize during this pandemic.
Here are some decorative elements you can incorporate to style your outdoor table:
add a table runner/ placemats
create a simple centerpiece with a few decorative items, like a pitcher of cut lavender or a bowl of lemons
use some fabric or paper napkins in a fun print or pretty color
some simple taper candles or tealights are always great for ambiance
Dinning outdoors for the win
So there you have my simple tips for outdoor dining. Summer we will be over before we know it, so I plan on enjoying every second!
If you have any questions or comments, leave them for me below! If you are looking for some "pinspiration" for your own outdoor space, you can check out my pinterest boards for some ideas!
Thanks for reading!