The aroma of dinner emerges from the doors leading outside; the guests cease chatting for a moment and simultaneously turn their heads to catch a glimpse – and another whiff – of what’s on the menu tonight as the stars flicker and glow in harmony overhead.
It sounds idyllic and something that only the wealthy are able to enjoy but it’s actually something that everyone with a backyard, garden or outdoor seating area should, in theory, be able to revel in when the weather is good.
With a little work and a few ‘al fresco essentials’, eating under the stars in the company of family and friends on a regular basis is a fantastic way to spend evenings during the warmer months of the year and it’s remarkably achievable even when working with a limited budget.
Al Fresco Evening Dining Essentials
In addition to a comfortable entertaining area under the stars, there are a few ‘essentials’ for you to consider investing in to make your al fresco dining evenings as appealing as the company in which you dine.
Combining Lighting and Insect Repellents
Chances are the stars just aren’t bright enough to illuminate your dining area on their own, and since you’re in need of lighting, why not look at sources of lighting that repel rather than attract mosquitos and other insects?
Citronella candles will do the trick in that regard and when housed in attractive mason jars with sand they’re more affordable than ‘dedicated’ hurricane lamps, leaving you with more of your budget for other al fresco dining essentials.
String lights are great, albeit not in locales affected by plagues of insects, though even in such locales they can make for a wonderful effect when hung away from the dining area.
On Table Tops and Underfoot
An attractive tablecloth can certainly be seen as an al fresco essential and if your locale gets a little chilly in the evenings even in the warmer months of the year, you might like to consider a comfortable outdoor rug for underfoot.
Matching the two should be an easy task, though whilst you’re afforded a world of options regarding tablecloth materials, you need a rug that’s manufactured with outdoor usage in mind, usually one made with polypropylene.
The Kitchen-to-Patio Shuttle Factor
To reduce the number of trips made from the kitchen to the patio and back again, invest in a tray, bucket and caddy set to reduce kitchen-to-patio trips when hosting outdoor dinner parties.
Galvanised steel trays, buckets and caddies are all the rage at the moment and not without good reason either as they look fantastic! Keeping drinks cold and accessible is a must when entertaining outdoors and also makes life easier on the hosts.
Somewhere For the Kids
It doesn’t take kids long to reach the age where they should have their own dining area – somewhere far from the adults – and if you frequently host outdoor dinner parties and there are usually kids in attendance, investing in a dining table and chairs for the little ones might be a good idea.
A table and chair set for the kids doesn’t need to be anything more than a fold-up table and chairs – these are easier to store when not in use – which will leave you with more to spend on a table and chair set for the adults.
Rattan (wicker) is easily the most attractive material for al fresco dining, plus it’s also remarkably durable, holds itself well for many years and it isn’t as heavy as steel furniture making it easy to move about so you can increase your dining area placement options.
A Glass of Class
Classy glassware is an al fresco dining essential and it’s remarkable just how much more complete a dinner table can look with uniform – a consistent style, not to be mistaken for boring – glassware.
Bistro style glassware adds a classy touch to any al fresco dining table and don’t overlook the appeal of recycled – antiquated preferably – juice jars and similar wide-mouth containers as water bottles. These will look exquisite with your galvanised steel trays, buckets and caddies.
Take these ideas into consideration to enjoy many wonderful evenings ‘al fresco’ at home under a sky full of stars.
Author: Bruce Roberts is a writer for Oceans Outdoor Furniture, a business that exhibits at some of the most successful and largest shows in the UK. Their oceans rattan furniture set can often be spotted at the London and Southampton Boat Shows and other events.
Tina Phillips – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net