Outdoor dining ideas for al fresco entertaining this summer

You know what I look forward to all year? Summer nights. Those evenings that seem to last forever as you sit with your closest friends eating, drinking and laughing together.

The warmer months are perfect for entertaining and eating al fresco. And having your outdoor area ready to go means you can gather your friends around at a moment’s notice. Now is the time to redesign your garden for the warmer weather and get your dining set-up sorted.

When planning out a new outdoor dining area there needs to be just as much thought and care put in as for an indoor set-up. Simply, plonking a table and some chairs in the corner may not be the best option. So, think of your garden like another space. “Having different rooms throughout your garden can help to create a sense of purpose and flow,” says Charlie Alexander, founder at Oxenwood.

“It can also help make your outdoor space feel larger and more spacious. Furniture, in particular, can be used to create different atmospheres. Much like in the home, we recommend creating areas outside for individual purposes such as cooking, eating, and relaxing. This instantly elevates your garden, making it simultaneously more practical and luxurious,” he explains.

So, let’s explore some of the latest outdoor dining ideas…

Outdoor dining set made from natural material
Outdoor dining set, price depending on size and material from £4500, Oxenwood.

A splash of colour

There is an emerging interest for colourful tables and chairs. It makes perfect sense as gardens are never grey shades, but a beautiful variety of colours. Bold plastic or metal chairs can make a real statement – either coordinate the chairs and table or mix and match for a more funky look.

White table with yellow seats
Rosa Mustard Yellow garden chairs, £178 each, Danetti.
Outdoor seating with multicoloured chairs
Nassau chairs, 249 for a pair, Garden Lifestyle.
Green garden table
Panz Garden chair, £210 for four, Sazy.

Garden party ready

Bar stools and tall tables are a fun addition to the garden as they can add height to your exterior space. These solutions will also allow you and your guests to admire the landscape from a better vantage point. Bar-style set-ups are on trend at the moment, so you can pick from a variety of options, from colourful tables to industrial-style chairs.

This type of set-up is perfect for those who have a dedicated patio or decking, as these solutions require a more sturdy base than just grass. It is also a fun option for those who host parties – tall tables can be converted into standing bars or intimate dinners.

Bar stool table with multicoloured chairs
Summer outdoor bar stool, £130, Peppermill Interiors.
Bar style stool chairs on table
Outdoor bar set, £650, Habitat.

Outdoor dining ideas for the whole family

There are a few themes that never go out of style in a garden – wood, grey, and wicker. Sometimes a handy combination of all three! They are timeless, which is helpful as you won’t need to update them each summer season. Just change your accessories and you’ll have a brand new look.

These classic combos are more understated, so the emphasis is put on the garden and the plants rather than the furniture. And if you don’t want a lot of fuss and maintenance, there are some great options available. Choose a material that is weatherproof or one that can be easily packed away.

Always check the instructions on each piece of furniture to see what the manufacturer recommends.

outdoor kitchen design
Outdoor kitchen design with dining area, from £9000, Grillo.
reclaimed extending teak table
Tuscan reclaimed extending teak table, £1645, Joe Alexander.

More outdoor dining ideas for 2023

Simple outdoor dinning set in black
Market parasol, £69.99, with Hagen table and Mysen chairs, £759.95, Jysk.
outdoor 4-seat dining set
Freya 4-seat dining set, £1199, Atkin and Thyme.

Need a BBQ to go with your outdoor dining set? We’ve got you covered.

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