Even fair-weather diners will be tempted outside by these fab garden dining ideas – and they look good from indoors, too
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Whether you’re an all-weather barbecue lover or a high summer only alfresco diner, a good-looking garden dining area makes eating outdoors much more of a pleasure. Better still, arranging your furniture cleverly can create an attractive extra room to look out on from indoors.
Cocoon yourself in a private space
If you’re having a deck built, include a banquette in the design. It’ll not only look smart, but help your garden to feel larger, too. It could be tailored to exactly fit your space and dining needs and would be as easy to look after as the decking itself.
Overlooked and need privacy? Build a simple pergola over which you can drape fabric or planting.
Draw the eye to a focal point
In a narrow courtyard garden, consider a long table in a tough, reflective material, such as glass or metal, teamed with compact chairs. It will help to stretch the space visually – and the furniture will be durable enough to stay outdoors all year round.
Want to create a view from indoors? Focus the eye on the far end with a feature – in this case, a space-enhancing mirrored water feature.
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Go for a south-of-France vibe
Looking to create a Mediterranean rustic appeal for your garden? Hit salvage yards for the upcycled classic metal café chairs you might see outside a French bar, and look out for concrete or metal-topped tables. You can find heaps of this style of metal chair online, too.
Place your set centrally on a patio beneath a pergola and surrounded by scented herbs and olive trees to boost the effect.
Define a space with paint
Use an exterior paint to decorate your dining space. Whether you’re building a set of dining banquettes from scratch, giving inexpensive wooden garden furniture an individual look or revamping your existing pieces, paint is great for coordinating mismatched pieces and making a dining space feel established. For best effect, choose a shade to complement your planting.
If you’re considering a firepit table, these ideas will inspire you
Bring the indoors out
If you’ve little space for a shed to store garden furniture, a clever option is to buy indoor pieces that can also stand up to the occasional day in the garden.
Look for lightweight items with fade-resistant, removable – or at least wipeable – covers and match them with cushions in water-resistant fabrics. Looks inviting, too, right?
Design an outdoor room
You don’t need a huge garden to mimic the layout of an indoor space outside. Here, a living/dining set-up, just like you might have in a through-room inside, has been created with garden furniture focused around a faux fireplace that’s planted with foliage. The pergola provides a ceiling framework for a canopy of blooms and lights.
Pick the perfect material
Choosing your garden furniture is about striking a fine balance between comfort, store-ability and good looks. But getting the material right for its setting is vital, too. Here, timber is easily the best option, because it’s the perfect contrast to the harder, less-forgiving materials – the stone and metal – used in the landscaping.
Try something different
Want to create an outdoor dining space that’s a little out of the ordinary? Why not seek out sawn logs to create stools – and hide the cheapest of pine tables beneath a floor-length tablecloth? Admittedly, the stools won’t keep your guests comfortable for long, but they can soon retire to loungers…
Harmonise with your surroundings
If sleek, streamlined looks are what you’re after for your garden, match the colour of your dining furniture as closely as possible to your landscaping. Here, the pale wood of the table and chairs references the light stone paving and sand-coloured wall panelling, while strips of black gravel echo the black shelf in the background.
Channel coastal style – wherever you are
Whether you live beside the sea or just love the coastal look, it’s easy to recreate the style with little more than a basic picnic table. The trick to doing it tastefully? Stick to neutral accessories over obvious blue and white, match them with the barest of seaside-themed pieces and dot the table with lanterns for when nightfall comes. Just perfect.
What is your dining set-up outside? Share your tips or photos in the Comments section.