The breezes are warm, the air alit with fireflies, and the smell of cut grass lingers. Let summer inspire you to create a space where your family and friends can escape the indoors and bond over dinners in the open air.
Assess your outdoor environment. Maybe you already have an exquisite garden area, good for you! If you’re like most people though, you might have a good outdoor space, a few pieces of outdoor furniture, and a lot of moxie, but you just need to bring it all together.
Creating a welcoming outdoor environment for dinner parties doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Pick up cloth or vinyl table cloths at dollar stores or garage sales to dress up old furniture. Use the vinyl table cloths to lay on the ground as a children’s picnic area if you don’t have enough outdoor furniture for everyone.
If you can afford it invest in the outdoor rope lighting available at most stores, otherwise, get out your outdoor Christmas (or Hannukah! or Kwanzaa!) lights and string them around the deck and foliage.
Old hanging lamps and chandeliers can be plugged in and hung over trees or porch rafters for a delightful lighting effect, just bring these in out of the weather when done. If you foresee a bug problem buy citronella candles and get rid of any dry leaves or standing water that might attract bugs. For pretty splashes of color, annual flower plants are more cost effective than constantly investing in cut flowers. Enlist the kids to plant them in pots and display them on tables.
Now it’s time to think about dishes. Plastic outdoor dishes are cheap, come in a variety of styles, are basically unbreakable, can be found in bright colors and kids themes for the little ones, and are lighter than real dishes so guests can hold them and walk around to mingle. Plus, who cares if they get dirty or the kids lose them!
If possible, create an outdoor dining area just for kids. Children love to have their own separate space that they can pretend is off limits to grown ups. Utilize an area under lower hanging trees or foliage that would be inconvenient for adults to stand under, and use different colors and themes other than the ones used for the adult area.
The ambiance is set, the food is ready, and the loved ones are here; now go outside and enjoy!
Find out more about picnic tables and garden improvements, as discussed by Simon Barnett. This article may be used by any website publisher, though this resource box must always be included in full.
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