Inspiration and Ideas for Summer Outdoor Dining

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Everyone loves (or should love) summer outdoor dining on a nice sunny day. Especially after being so cloistered in the cold weather during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are many benefits for summer outdoor dining, beyond enjoying the sunlight, a warm breeze, and the sounds of nature. The sun provides beneficial Vitamin D which can help protect against many diseases. Fresh air has been demonstrated to improve people’s moods by decreasing anxiety and increasing happiness levels. Dining out in the summer helps people simply slow down and relax. And it seems that food simply tastes better outside.

Location, Location, Location

Pleasant summer outdoor dining can be achieved in many places, whether you simply have a balcony in the city, a small backyard, a large outdoor space, or an expansive estate. The important objectives are to create a space and an environment that are comfortable and that lead to an enjoyable dining time.

First, create a dining area that fits the available space and that fits your personality and lifestyle. The area can be cozy or expansive, simple, or elaborate. Consider the location too. You’ll want the area to be somewhat close to the kitchen for easy access to food items (and for quick trips indoors to the bathroom.) You don’t want to be too close to the neighbors in case the noise from your gathering might carry into their space.

You can create a bit of a “hideaway” feeling by adding curtains around the seating area. Consider adding an arbor. Perhaps you could add hanging lights to provide warmth and charm at night. There are many ways to decorate using an outdoor sectional that has a bit of an indoor feel, perhaps some contemporary or wicker seating, or benches with lots of pillows. The decorating opportunities are plentiful. Consider the need for shade or possibly add an outdoor fan for air circulation.

Pick the Right Dining Set

Choose the right outdoor dining set, considering how many people will use it and how it will fit into the space available. You’ll want to pick something that fits your style and offers appropriate comfort. Summer outdoor dining is generally informal so the furniture can be rustic, or contemporary; even eclectic and mismatched. Choose color accents in the pillows or in the seat cushions.

Always set an attractive table. The ideas for table decorating are abundant. You can use table runners for elegance. Use table napkins and even tie them with string. You can add candles or some table flowers. Use colors in your tabletop design for visual interest and appeal.

Plan a menu that will delight everyone. Summer grilling is natural, but you don’t have to use the old standby burgers and hotdogs. Get creative considering different cuts of meats, grilled vegetables, or combine meats, fruit, and veggies on skewers. Keep everyone hydrated with clever drinks too. Interesting side items and cool desserts round out a memorable meal.

Some Practical Tips

A few practical tips to ensure an enjoyable summer outdoor dining event include protecting against insects and keeping the grill away from the eating area. You can use background music for ambiance. Plan some activities for fun.

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