Finding the right outdoor seating can be difficult. Whether you are looking to entertain your friends of dine alfresco as a family it is important to consider all of your options so that you can select the most appropriate dining options for your needs. Whilst the summer and its glorious weather may already be a fading memory it is never too early to start doing your research for next year. Before you know it spring will have arrived, bringing with it an upbeat in the temperature that will make you want to get out into the fresh air and enjoy your garden as much as you can.
Extending your inside living space into your garden with the addition of the right outdoor dining option is one of the best ways in which you can maximise the use of your garden.
Hopefully the supply issues that have been all to prevalent this year when it comes to finding patio furniture will be a distant memory by the spring, but just in case here is our round up of the best garden dining options to get you started with plenty of time for what will hopefully be a glorious summer.
- What will the furniture be used for?
- What material to opt for?
- Choosing the proper outdoor dining set- here are our tips!
- Ten recommendations for most pleasant outdoor dining at home
- Frequently Asked Questions
What will the furniture be used for?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is what type of dinning you will be doing in your garden. If you are planning to host summer dinner soirees with your friends, then you may want to look for a large table that will accommodate a lot of people. If this is the case, then you will probably want to opt for chairs rather than benches as this will allow for a more formal type of alfresco dining.
If you are hoping to dine in the garden with your family then you will probably need a smaller table, and if you have smaller children, you may find that a combination of benches and chairs will suit you better.
Of course, if there will just be two of you dining in your garden then a bistro set is the ideal choice. With its smaller tabletop and beautifully ornate chairs this is the perfect choice whether you are looking for somewhere to eat an impromptu breakfast, have an outdoor picnic in comfort or even a romantic meal a deux. Many bistro sets fold away for easy storage which also make them a great choice if you have a smaller garden.
Whatever type of garden furniture you are considering remember think about the space where you are planning to put it, it will need to fit with sufficient room for people to move freely around it.
What material to opt for?
There are a number of different options available when it comes to the materials that dining options for the garden can be made of.
The cheapest option is of course a plastic table and chairs however these can break quite easily, are prone to weathering and whilst they do the job may not be the look you want for your garden.
Wooden chairs and tables come in a range of different shapes and sizes and when looked after properly can last for a long time, and still look really good.
Metal is also a great option and relatively easy to look after, although it is important to check for rust and treat any that you find in order to prolong the life of your furniture. It can also look stunning in garden, comes in a range of different options and is a great choice if you plan to eat out a lot.
Rattan furniture can look incredible in a larger garden and adds a really modern feel, this furniture is bulkier though so not particularly suited to smaller gardens. You will also need to consider storage and how you can protect it from the elements.
If you carefully consider all of your options and the space you have, you’ll be much more likely to get furniture that suits not only the space it is placed in, but also its usage.
Choosing the proper outdoor dining set- here are our tips!
If you’re thinking about an outdoor dining set, you can start by asking yourself several questions:
- What shape do you like most? Oval, round, rectangular, and square are the most common shapes for the outdoor dining tables.
- How many people will use the set on a regular basis? Do you typically host large dinners with plenty of friends and family? Do you want to keep it as intimate as possible and only plan to dine with your significant other?
- Which size do you need? Large furniture will make a small garden feel clutter and small and alter the comfort. Always measure your outdoor space before buying the dining set.
- Do you like a particular style? For a cohesive look, we recommend you pick an outdoor dining set that matches your house’s exterior and colors. You can also have the theme of your interior furniture for the outside furnishings.
- How important is comfort? If the dining chairs are the main seating for the entire outdoor space, make sure you pick chairs with cushions.
Ten recommendations for most pleasant outdoor dining at home
The design of your outdoor dining set should match the vibe of your home. Keep in mind that outdoor dining is typically informal and an eclectic look makes it more inviting and comfortable than a uniform model. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when setting your outdoor dining area.
1. Set the table
The occasion will set the tone for dinner, and you can go as formal/informal as you want. Outdoor tablecloths are typical for festive events and will hide any imperfections of the dining table. If you like to have dinner outside regularly, we recommend you use reusable tableware. Glasses and dishes made of melamine are great as they’re durable. When you have dinner outside, the risk of an accidental spill is never null. You don’t want to have to clean a dish/broken glass on your patio.
2. Have a buffet
If you have many guests, you should consider having a buffet instead of sitting at the table. It matches the informality of the outdoor dining experience and gives you free space on the dining table. Additionally, you can pick the theme for the get-together. Make sure not to cramp your guests and ensure that they’re still comfortable. Organize space to have 4ft between the buffet table/bar and the dining table—you want to have effortless access to both.
3. Create a lovely ambiance
The outdoor setting will make for most of the ambiance, especially when you have lovely scenery. It doesn’t mean you cannot give your outdoor space some boost. You can have planters around the dining space and a centerpiece of flowers, especially if you lack greenery. Install some speakers for some pleasant music on tinder. Don’t turn up the volume too high—your guests should be able to hear each other. Don’t forget to add outdoor lighting if your dinner spans in the dark. Outdoor string lights are excellent at creating a pleasant glow.
4. Use the view as much as possible
You should get the best out of your view when you live on a hilltop and set the dining area accordingly. You can try views within the yard or have some water features. It will look very nice if you have many windows with some soft lights from the backyard looking in. Always place the outdoor dining area so that you can use it to the fullest the landscape.
5. Offer shade options
Your most comfortable dining chairs become useless if they’re sitting in the middle of the concrete patio with the sun beating down. Don’t forget to have shade for your outdoor dining area; patio cover, outdoor umbrella, and other structures will give you the shade you need. Sun beating down over your table is one of the things you can control for the outdoor space. You want to control the elements as much as possible.
6. Use the pool
If your swimming pool is in excellent condition and you have space for a table close to it, you can have an elegant and calming dinner by the pool. Don’t forget to turn off the robotic pool cleaner and other loud features and disturb your dinner atmosphere. Add effects such as color-changing lights and pool fountains to enhance the dining experience.
7. Have effortless access to the dining area
If someone in your family or your guests has mobility issues, you need to consider their specific needs. Therefore, ease out their access to the dining area. The paths should be wide enough and level to allow wheelchairs and the space around the dining table should be generous.
8. Place lounge seating nearby
You don’t need to have your deserts and after-drinks at the dining table; arrange the dining table close to your lounge area. You can also combine the two areas and use comfortable chairs at the dining table so that everyone feels comfy from beginning to end.
9. Keep insects at a distance
Insects can ruin the outdoor dining experience. You can limit their presence around the dining table with citronella candles—they’re both functional and nice looking. A moving water feature can also refresh the air and keep some insects at bay. Don’t forget to add some mosquito netting-like curtains; they will also add a relaxing vibe to the dining. Remember to have covers for dishes and serving platters—you don’t want any insects near your food.
10. Make it portable
If your yard is small, you can always consider using a portable dining set. Buy folding chairs and a folding table that you only install when you have dinner outside. When you’re done eating, you can fold them up and use the space as you regularly do: for your drying rack, morning yoga, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is garden furniture expensive?
Outdoor furniture has to be comfortable, weatherproof, and aesthetically pleasing. High-quality materials such as wood, rattan, aluminum, and weatherproof fabric are used for outdoor furniture, which explains the high price for dining furniture.
Build or buy the patio furniture. Which one is more affordable?
If you compare the cost for DIY furniture to ready-made furniture, the difference is impressive: DIY furniture is cheaper than in-store models nine times out of ten. If you have the tools, skills, and experience you can make your outdoor furniture– you will save up to 90% of costs than when buying in-store.
What is the most expensive material for dining furniture?
Steel is the most robust and most durable material for outdoor furniture. At the same time, it’s the heaviest and the priciest material. We don’t recommend you buy dining chairs or side tables made of steel because you move them often. Keep in mind that steel needs regular coating to avoid rusting.
How big should the garden seating area be?
The rule of thumb is 10ft x10ft for a regular patio with a table big enough for four and even six people. If you don’t have so many people, you can set out a smaller dining area. You can keep the dining area to a small size if you can expand the dining area to the lawn.
Which height is ideal for the garden seats?
Garden seats should be around 17 above ground level to create a comfortable sitting height. Go with 17in for the seat depth if the chair also has back support. Garden benches with no back support can be wider as you typically use them for lounging.