So you have mowed the lawn, dusted off the summer recipe book and sanded down the outdoor dining table and are well on your way to the perfect outdoor dinner party. Today we will be sharing our top tips for alfresco dining from décor and lighting to pest control and menu planning….

Furniture

Whether you are seating guests on patio chairs or wooden benches, garden furniture is notoriously uncomfortable. Encourage your guests to stay longer at the table by providing comfy cushions on chairs or scattered across benches. For a boho twist why not create a low pallet table and seat your guests around it on a picnic blanket or beanbags! Our durable Tolix chairs are also perfect for outdoor dining!

A parasol or some kind of canopy is a must when eating outside. It will protect your guests from the sun as well as clearly defining your dining area. Lengths of lightly coloured material or repurposed sheets fastened overhead as a canopy will also make the occasion feel much more intimate.

Keep a wheelie trolley on hand for easy transportation of food and crockery between the garden and the kitchen.  You can also use a trolley as a decorative stand for drinks or even desert.

Lighting

For gentle lighting recycle old glass jars in to atmospheric lanterns. Place tea lights inside the jars and sit them on your decking, window ledges and against walls. For extra pizazz you could tie a piece of twine around the jar neck to create a handle. You will then be able to hang your lanterns from tree branches.

Citronella candles and garden torches are great for providing light as well as keeping pests at bay. Simply place the long handled candles into soil at strategic points around your garden to protect your guests from being bitten during the evening.

Fairy lights are another good option for lighting an outdoor dinner party. Wrap them around decking hand rails and even around your parasol stand to make your garden look magical. Do make sure that you buy lights that are fit for outdoor use and have a black cable so that they blend into the background nicely.

Décor

It is the small decorative details that will provide that sought after wow factor at your dinner party. Plant pots or crates filled with seasonal blooms make for great table centrepieces whilst rustic looking materials such as brown paper and hessian can be used as a table runner.

Bunting is reminiscent of a summer fete or outdoor fair and can add a sense of fun to the occasion. It is super easy to make yourself and can be strung between trees and fences and left to dance in the breeze as you eat!

Food

For your menu choose light summary foods that are easy to cook and can be kept cool easily. Typical summer fare includes burgers, hot dogs and steak all cooked on the BBQ. Kabobs are also a good option and could make for a fun activity as guests chooses their own meats and vegetables to go on their skewers. Homemade sausage rolls, cold pasta salads, fresh quiches, olives, chicken goujons and stuffed peppers are also ideal dishes for alfresco dining.

For deserts opt for fresh fruit skewers and light crumbles served with ice cream. Eton Mess is a traditional summery berry dessert that is popular with all ages as is yummy pavlova and zingy lemon cheesecake.

Drinks

Summery beverages such as homemade lemonade, elderflower cocktails and jugs of Pimms will go down a treat on a balmy summer evening. Get a taste of the tropics by trying your handing at mixing a bowl of this refreshing Hawaiian Punch:

Ingredients

4 Cups Organce Juice
4 Cups Guava Juice
4 Cups Pineapple Juice
½ Cup Grenadine
1 Cup Ginger Ale
1 Cup Light Rum
½ Cup Dark Rum

Mix up the juices in a bowl and then stir in the ginger ale, grenadine and rum. Serve with plenty of ice.