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7 Outdoor Dining Ideas to Create the Perfect Al Fresco Setup

7 OUTDOOR DINING IDEAS TO CREATE THE PERFECT AL FRESCO SETUP

This year, your outdoor living space will be the go-to hangout for lounging, entertaining, and hosting easy-breezy alfresco dinners with your crew. To help you throw unforgettable outdoor soirees all summer long, we’re sharing our favorite outdoor dining ideas for everything from menu planning to table settings. 

Plan Ahead

Set yourself up for a relaxing and leisurely outdoor party. Start your menu planning early so you have plenty of time to scroll and pin make-ahead backyard party recipes, find the freshest ingredients, and prepare your culinary creations. Make your guests feel extra special by sending invitations a week or two ahead of time. 

Assess your Decor

  • Enhance your outdoor lighting with string lights, lanterns, and LED candles to add ambiance and illumination and keep the party going well after the sun sets. 

  • Outdoor rugs help define your space and create individual zones within a large open area. Get the largest rug each space will permit. Mix and match colorful patterns between your outdoor areas and use the hues in your rugs to inspire the rest of your furniture and decor choices. 

Tip: The rug in your dining area should be large enough to comfortably cover the space when your outdoor dining chairs are pulled out. 

Dine Around Your Yard

For a fun twist on an outdoor dinner at home, create a dine-around experience for your guests. Create outdoor dining areas in unique spaces of your yard to change up the scenery and keep things lively and entertaining. Think social hour on the porch, dinner on the deck, and dessert around the fire pit. Plan a fun game or activity at each venue to make it memorable and lighthearted.

Start with Social Hour

Greet your guests with cocktail hour at your very own sidewalk cafe. Line your walkway with quaint bistro sets arranged in clusters to encourage lots of lively conversation. Serve frosty glasses of boozy-fruity lemonade, pretty bowls of salty snacks, and a charcuterie tray with a little something for everyone. 

Keep Dinner Bright & Fresh

Brighten up your outdoor dining table with bright table linens and cheery dinnerware for a fun and festive vibe. Assemble a fresh watermelon, arugula, and feta salad ahead of time, then toss with vinaigrette right before serving. Skewer surf, turf, and earth kabobs in advance so they are ready for grilling whenever you are. Don’t forget the dipping sauces -- and plenty of napkins

Serve a Scoop-Ahead Sweet Treat

Once dinner is done, don’t turn down the grill quite yet. Grill peaches for a few minutes per side, sprinkle with sea salt, and spoon over vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy your dessert with cordials on the veranda for a sweet finale to the evening. Be sure to toss in extra pillows so everyone can settle in and get extra cozy, lazing away the night. 

Make-ahead hint: Scoop and freeze single-serve scoops of ice cream the night before! 

Cool Off DIY Style

Help your guests keep their cool even in the sweltering summer sun with these fun DIY craft ideas. 

  • Fold your own paper hand fans. Accordion-fold colorful craft paper into a fan and fasten the bottom with patterned washi tape. 
  • Make bottles of homemade cooling spray. Fill small spray bottles with distilled water and a few drops of peppermint and lavender essential oils.

and feta salad ahead of time, then toss with vinaigrette right before serving. Skewer surf, turf, and earth kabobs in advance so they are ready for grilling whenever you are. Don’t forget the dipping sauces -- and plenty of napkins!  

Get Even More Outdoor Dining Ideas

Your patio is an extension of your home -- so go ahead and make it as comfortable and stylish as your indoor living and dining areas. If you’re ready to start inviting guests to your first alfresco dining event of the summer season, start shopping Pier1.com for outdoor dining decor to create a space that is as chic and stylish as you are. 

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 Last updated February 1st, 2022

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