Join thousands of design-conscious readers for exclusive offers, gardening inspiration and innovative design solutions for enjoying outdoor spaces.
We will never sell or distribute your email to any other parties or organizations.
The secret of successful outdoor entertaining is to set the stage in a way that fits the occasion. We take a look at how seven designers created carefully conceived enviroments for everything from intimate dining nooks to kidcentric playscapes.
Most people see outdoor dining as a more relaxed endeavor than its indoor counterpart. Perhaps the most important planning point is to connect the dining area to its surroundings. Going alfresco requires a certain flexibility of spirit—you are not in charge of the sun, moon, clouds, or rain. What you can do is design in anticipation of all possible variables.
Lunches in a hot sun will be more comfortable under a pergola or trellis topped with vines, cloth, or woven bamboo or reed fencing. For post-sundown dining you may want a more open setting so views of night sky are unrestricted. Furnishing should be waterproof, unless you're willing to replace them often.
Left: Interior designer Jeff Andrews created a 12-foot-long teak dining table that doubles as a buffet for his client; benches reduce clutter in the high-traffic area, and vintage Moroccan metal end chairs add personality.