The weather is finally warming up in Wisconsin! Cody has mowed the lawn a couple times and he is currently tilling the garden soil. Seeing green grass, flowers and my ferns is a welcome sight! I am ready to start outdoor dining season, so I am in the planning phase for our deck refresh.
While Cody is planning what he wants to plant, I am scheming about how to turn my deck into an outdoor oasis for eating and relaxing with family and friends.
We are blessed to have a treehouse, a trampoline, swings and a slide in the backyard. Our girls spend a lot of time playing outdoors and I would like to have a place for my friends to sit and chat or eat while the kids are playing together.
Here are some inspiration photos to consider and patterns of awesome outdoor dining areas. I also share some inexpensive outdoor dining furniture options and a DIY tutorial.
So now that you have seen some outdoor dining examples, here are the elements that you want to look for in an outdoor dining space.
- Durable materials: wicker, rattan, wrought iron, wood, stone.
- Warmth and light through a fireplace, fire pit, lanterns and lights.
- Comfortable and plentiful seating. Many of these outdoor dining areas have a place to eat and a place to sit and visit. You don’t need both to enjoy your yard, but if you can, it will accommodate more people.
- Try to incorporate the furniture and decor to fit the outdoors vs trying to turn the outdoors into the indoors. The whole point of outdoor dining is to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while you eat.
- Let plants be your decoration. Use plant beauty to add variety and interest to your space. Plants can also enclose an outdoor dining area, making it feel more intimate. Flowers and potted plants are a staple to decorate the table too.
- Coordinate the colors of the furniture, dinnerware, pillows, and everything else. Notice that the table-settings are very planned in most of the photos. Having a dining set dedicated to outdoor entertaining is a sure-fire way to impress your guests.
DIY Outdoor Dining
Now the pictures I have shown you are of some pretty high-end looks that simply show us great patterns. Now we can create similar spaces without spending all the money.
One way to create a beautiful outdoor area for less is to DIY a dining table. Here is a link to a $60 table made by the Shanty to Chic sisters. They, of course, have free plans for the table. You can have a beautiful wood outdoor table for $60!
Here is another awesome tutorial for a DIY Modern Dining Table with Matching Benches by Modern Builds.
Outdoor Dining Shopping Options
If you don’t love DIY, here are some great inexpensive dining sets for your backyard. I have also linked some outdoor accessories that could make your life easier and prettier.
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- Wood Patio Dining Set
- Eco-friendly 7 piece Dining Set
- Mahogany Wood Tavira Outdoor Dining Set
- Whitewash San Sebastian Outdoor Dining
- Bangor 7-piece Outdoor Patio Set
- Fairmont 7-piece Patio Dining Set
- Britana 5-piece Wicker Patio Dining Set
- Black and Ivory Geometric Indoor/Outdoor Pillow
- Melamine 12 pc Dinnerware Set
- Round Madra Chargers (set of 4)
- Outdoor Fire Pit
- 10 ct LED Frosted Outdoor Cafe String Lights
- Nantucket Patio Rug
- Wicker Outdoor Planter
- Vertical Garden Planter with irrigation
- Rattan Outdoor Lantern (LED candle)
- Cabana Stripe Scotchgard Outdoor Pillow
Time to Create
I hope these ideas help you start thinking about how to make your patio, deck or yard a more inviting place. We have been using a fold out table and plastic foldable chairs mixed with camping chairs for the last few years and we have still been able to have a great time. Don’t let stuff keep you from enjoying what you already have! Remember that deliberate planning and preparation can make an impact even if you don’t have all the the things.
Enjoy the warm weather and good food and company!
Tag me with your outdoor scene on social media with #makingroom or tag @lucyjohome. I would love to see how you make beautiful outdoor spaces for you, family, friends and neighbors!
Lucy Jo Bowman
Also, if you want to skip the whole formal dining experience, but want to enjoy eating outdoors together, check out my post about creating fun picnics!