When the weather improves, the first thing we want to do is head outside to enjoy it. And what better way could there be to do that than to enjoy a nice meal in the fresh air?

Dining al fresco – what’s the appeal?

It’s normal to eat indoors, perhaps at the dinner table or, more often nowadays, in front of the TV. Wherever you eat, it may not be as much of an occasion as it was in the past.

So imagine then the idea of having a garden dining area you can use in the good weather. There’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to elevate any meal into something special. It doesn’t have to involve the barbecue either – not when the kitchen is nearby and you can simply bring out anything you need.

Dining outdoors in the evening also has a lot to recommend it. You can enjoy a nice candlelit dinner as the sun goes down, for example – quite refreshing when it has been warm during the day. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion either. Even if you don’t have company, it’s the perfect way to wind down at the end of a long day. Small wonder more and more people are doing it!

Creating an outdoor spot where you can enjoy a meal

rowlinson willow gazebo

The first thing you need to do to make al fresco dining a reality is to choose whereabouts you are going to dine. Somewhere fairly close to the house is a good idea, as it means you won’t have far to go to collect things you need from the kitchen. On the other hand, finding a secluded, shady spot might be more appealing in several ways.

The good news is there are plenty of options you can go for to help create the ideal spot. A gazebo is a nice idea, especially as it offers built-in shade from the sun. They are also available in a variety of styles and sizes. The Rowlinson willow gazebo is ideal for an intimate dinner for two, for example, while the Buckingham gazebo, also from Rowlinson, can accommodate a much bigger table setting.

For something more minimal in nature, a garden canopy can be ideal. These canopies can be wall-mounted or free-standing, so you are bound to find just the right one for your needs. They come in a variety of sizes as well, and all the canopies can be retracted when not in use. Aside from providing a nice area to sit under for dinner, you can also enjoy the protection they provide from the sun.

A third option is a pavilion. These come with or without a decked base, which means you could allocate some space on your lawn for the pavilion if you bought one with a base. Alternatively, a base-free model could be set up on existing decking once properly installed.

Investing in smart seating and an attractive dining set for the garden

rowlinson bali dining set

Of course, once you have chosen your ideal outdoor eating area, you still have to make sure you have a suitable table and chairs to use there. Fortunately, there are lots of attractive and hardwearing options available.

It’s not a problem if you need to cater to a number of guests either, or to a large family. In this case, you might consider something like the Rowlinson Bali dining set. This features a table measuring 1.8 metres in length… unless you choose to extend it, which takes it out further to an impressive 2.1 metres. It also comes with six folding chairs, which enable easy storage out of the elements during the winter months. The table also has a convenient hole in the centre to allow for a large parasol umbrella to be used, if you don’t have a pavilion or other garden feature to sit under for shade.

rowlinson richmond rattan dining set

If you prefer the look of rattan to the hardwood used in the above dining set, why not consider the Rowlinson Richmond rattan dining set, featuring six chairs and a circular table? Despite appearances, this set is also fully waterproof and the table is topped by a circular glass disc for easy cleaning. It also makes it easier to set down glasses and other tableware without them wobbling!

How will you enjoy dinner in your garden this summer?

It’s great to know there are options for outdoor dining that are suitable for all sizes of garden and all dining situations. From intimate settings for two, right through to large family dinners, everything is possible.

If you spend a little time now considering the options, you might find you enjoy this coming summer rather more than you’ve enjoyed them in the past. Whether you end up with a BBQ or a refreshing salad, you’re bound to enjoy your new garden dining area.