Tips for Awesome Al Fresco Dining at Home

Eating outside can make any meal feel special, unless, of course, you aren’t a fan of outdoor dining.

For some, the thought of dining al fresco conjures unpleasant images of battling soggy plates and the elements — arguably, the antithesis of fun and relaxing.

But fear not, friends. Our simple tips are guaranteed to help create an outdoor dining space inviting enough to become your go-to destination:

Go heavy-duty — When it comes to outside eating, sturdy paper plates, or reusable plastic ones, are a must. Flimsy paper plates that leak or sag are simply no fun when you’re savoring seafood kebobs or a big beefy steak. The same goes for napkins, cups, and dinnerware, which should all be sturdy enough to hold their own.

Pass the napkins — Let’s face it, eating outside isn’t as tidy as eating indoors. Outdoor food tends to be messier by nature (think: BBQ and hamburgers piled high), and with kids, dogs, bugs, and bees buzzing about, accidents are bound to happen. A generous supply of napkins, wet-naps, or paper towels on hand will keep all hands — and surfaces — clean and comfortable.

Please be seated — Forgo flimsy folding tables and chairs. You wouldn’t use these indoors for meals, so why use them outdoors? To make your outdoor space a viable alternative to your kitchen or dining room, invest in a solid table and comfy patio chairs or a sturdy picnic table with cushions. There are plenty of lower-cost options these days, or in a pinch, a thick comfortable blanket with big sturdy pillows for support can also do the trick!

Shade yourself from the sun — You don’t have to wait for sunset to enjoy eating outside. Breakfast and lunch are also excellent times for a little repast, provided you’re protected from the sun’s rays. An awning or umbrella is a must for keeping you cool and safe.

Light it up — Invest in good lighting to make your outdoor dining space functional and appealing. Setting the right mood is important, of course, but so too is seeing what you’re eating and making your way safely back inside when dinner’s done.