Close your eyes and picture a warm breeze, a beautiful sunset, and a summer evening. Now imagine you’re having a delightful meal with the people you love the most. Sounds amazing, right? We agree!

Feeling a bit lost about how to plan an outdoor dinner befitting your summer dreams? Have no fear; Ashley has all the al fresco dining ideas to help you design an enjoyable and relaxing summer evening with the people in your life.

The best part? You can implement these ideas anytime! Just set the scene–and the table–for outdoor dining any time of the day or evening. Plan a delicious brunch to enjoy with your best friend. Set the table for a fun picnic lunch with the kids. Plan an al fresco dinner party for your work friends. Or prepare a cozy outdoor meal for you and your partner to enjoy under the stars.

What is Al Fresco Dining?

Just like it sounds, al fresco dining means you’re eating outside in the fresh air. It’s more than just a meal, though. This setting turns an outdoor meal into an entire experience.

Plus, it’s versatile! You can make an al fresco meal into a very simple outdoor patio dining experience. You can also break out all the bells and whistles to create an elegant al fresco extravaganza that’s memorable and unique.

First, know that an al fresco meal begins with the foundation. Before planning the menu, it helps to prepare the guest list and make sure you have comfortable seating for everyone at your outside dining table.

When choosing new furniture for outdoor dining, things to consider include the size of your outdoor space, the number of people joining you for dinner, and whether you prefer to host small, intimate gatherings or bigger events. If you prefer to keep it small and intimate, seating for four or five might offer the level of comfort you want to provide your dinner guests. If throwing bigger events is in your plans, more seating and room to spread out may be just what the doctor ordered. For bigger gatherings, go for the biggest outdoor table and chairs in your budget.

How to Set Up an Outdoor Dining Area

You have a lot of options when choosing from our selection of outdoor dining sets. That’s great news because it makes it easy for you to find one that matches both the size of your outdoor space and the theme of your home.

  • Measure first: Take some measurements of your available space and check the dimensions of the outdoor dining furniture you’re considering. Make sure there’s room for guests to walk without bumping into the table or chairs.
  • Choose a firm foundation: Furniture that wobbles can lead to spilled drinks or food. Preventing wobbles begins with a firm foundation.
  • Plan walkways: Choose where you want guests to walk (and help them stay out of your flowerbeds) by using lighting and decorative items like planters to establish walkways through your garden area.
  • Leave room for extras: Leave space to put a cooler or mini-fridge within easy reach of your outdoor dining sets. This way, you don’t have to leave the party every time someone wants a fresh drink.
  • Make your own shade: If your outdoor dining area is going to be displayed in a sunny part of your yard, an outdoor dining set with an umbrella can provide needed shade.

Coordinated Outdoor Dining Sets

Good conversation over a delicious meal served on beautiful dinnerware. Laughing with friends while sipping sweet beverages in sparkling drinkware. Turn your outdoor dining table setting into a scene perfect for creating memories with coordinated outdoor dining furniture. Then, add decorative items like a centerpiece or candle to add a touch of ambiance.

Working with a snug backyard area? Choose an outdoor dining table and chairs that fold or stack to save space. You get to enjoy the beauty and style of a matching outdoor dining set without giving up important patio space you’ll need when not you’re not entertaining.

Outdoor Dining Tables

Create your best outdoor dining experience by filling the area with pieces that coordinate with the theme of your home. Outdoor tables are available in modern, traditional, and contemporary styles, so it’s a snap to find one that coordinates with your decorating goals. Plus, outdoor furniture is crafted from a variety of durable and beautiful materials. So go ahead and pick the type that complements the other fixtures and decor in your outdoor space. Examples of the materials used to craft outdoor furniture include:

  • Aluminum
  • Fabric
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Polyester
  • Rattan
  • Resin
  • Wood

You can create your dream outdoor oasis by customizing the setting, the outdoor furniture, and the decor. Add candles, a faux plant, or a fruit-filled basket as a table centerpiece to energize the space.

Comfortable Outdoor Dining Chairs

Set the mood by adding pieces that make everyone feel comfortable when visiting your home for an al fresco dinner. Details like soft music from an outdoor speaker, twinkling fairy lights, and eye-catching outdoor sculptures add a peaceful feeling to the space. Stunning floral outdoor rugs will add a touch of warmth and texture to the space.

You can also celebrate summer’s casual pace with a more relaxed outdoor dining experience. Choose outdoor dining chairs with comfortable cushions for sitting around a toasty fire pit. When you want to serve a more traditional meal, you can rearrange the chairs to provide more seating at the table.

At Ashley, we have a large selection of outdoor furniture dining sets, so it’s easy to find one that’s the perfect addition to your home’s decor. Browse through our selection of outdoor tables, chairs, decor items, and outdoor tableware to find the ideal accouterments for your next al fresco dining experience. You’re also welcome to stop by your nearest Ashley store to chat about your outdoor furniture needs with one of our design team members. We want to make it easy and enjoyable for you to create the al fresco dining experience of your dreams.