While we love eating out at restaurants, dining at home al fresco is an extra special experience. With warm breezes, the sounds of nature, and great company, food just tastes better outside. And since we spend 90% of our time indoors, the fresh air and vitamin D boost is also good for our health. Creating the perfect al fresco dining environment doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It just involves some inspiration, planning, and regular common sense.
The right location
Choose an outdoor dining location that suits your lifestyle. If your kitchen’s indoors, it’s best to choose an accessible area not too far away. If you have a barbeque, don’t situate the table downwind from it. You may have to do a bit of rearranging — perhaps your dining table would work best in a side yard or under a large corner tree. And if your chosen space isn’t private enough, use foliage to enclose the area. For example, Cypress and olive trees will transform your space into one reminiscent of an authentic Italian eatery.
Sitting under the blazing hot sun can easily ruin a dining experience. So, provide shade and shelter to keep your guests cool and comfortable. An outdoor umbrella is a simple option, but a gazebo can really add an impressive dimension to your dining setup. If your dining space is right beside your home, retractable awnings can provide shade and shelter at the simple click of a button. You’ll find retractable awnings are a popular solution in many restaurants all around the world. They make it easy for you to dine outside at any time of day throughout the year.
Add your own style
Treat your dining area as an extension of your home and decorate it to your personal taste. Look for a way to incorporate some pieces of art on a nearby wall or fence. If you like the cozy feel of rustic-style restaurants, try making your own natural chandelier to hang above the table. Collect some long, pliable branches, bend them into a circle, tie together with floral wire, and wrap string lights around the hoop. As for the floor, consider covering your patio with pea gravel to achieve the casual elegance of Mediterranean-style gardens. You can also add some potted succulents, drought-tolerant plants, and clipped hedges. Then you’ll really have your outdoor dining area feeling just like an al fresco restaurant in France, Greece, or Spain.
Remember not to let pesky bugs ruin your meal. Provide bug spray for guests to apply away from the table and food. Light citronella candles. If you have a gazebo, hang net curtains to keep mosquitos at bay. Although a more extravagant purchase, a fountain can repel insects, freshen the air, and provide a tranquil ambience — allowing you and your guests to enjoy your meal in peace.