Dining Alfresco in Your Own Backyard

If your idea of dining alfresco includes a crowded street, exhaust fumes, and brushing elbows with passersby, then by all means, nosh away. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration..... there are certainly many beautiful outdoor dining spots. Still, nothing can compare to having a comfortable outdoor space of your own at home.

Sure, the people-watching may be limited, but your options are endless. This collection of fabulous ideas is sure to awaken your appetite for style. Whether you decide on cozy casual or grand garden, indulge in a little alfresco dining of your own this summer!

The cooking and service? Well, can't really help you there, but we highly recommend grilling, drinks and good friends (that "bring a dish" of course)! And if that doesn't work... trust me, an Appletini or Margarita, a quick salad and burgers is always sure to please!

Table for Two
Take your morning coffee out of the kitchen and enjoy a little serenity designed for two. These spaces serve up entirely different styles but offer all the luxury in quiet, outdoor spaces. Loving the earth tones, wood and iron elements, and abundant greenery in the first space. Makes you feel like you're on vacation, doesn't it? ........Tuscany, anyone?

Sleek and sophisticated, the second space is just plain simple - colorful, functional and fun -- it works. Paired with a modern table in basic white, the chairs do all the talking here! Infuse a little energy into your day by starting it outdoors in a setting like this. Who needs coffee? ..........Well, okay, we need coffee.

Maybe "pretty" is what you want to serve up?  

Slip (your furnishings) into something more comfortable.  Camouflaging  those old wood chairs and chipped tables with the magic of colorful fabrics will always make a positive impression. 

Be creative.  If traditional outdoor furnishings are not in your possession, hunt around.  Just look at the loveliness vintage finds and heirloom treasures can create.


If you are lucky enough to live on the water, a folding table and chairs is easily transformed  to the "finest-table-in-the-house" at your own romantic bistro!

A Family Affair
The best part of dining outdoors is sharing a little quality time with family. Make family time more special by sharing a meal together outside. Create warmth and unity by using an umbrella as a focal point. Leave it open even after the sun goes down and accessorize with lighting for a more intimate feel.

Dramatic Dinner Party
An umbrella just won't cut it in these spaces ! Take a look at the various translations of "canopy" used in each space to again create a focal point. Completely head-over-heals with this first one ~ everything about it, from the simplicity of the wooden arches, off-set with the hanging planters, to the scroll top of the iron lantern as centerpiece and the shape & styling of the chairs! In a word, WOW!

O.K... what do you think? Does this one feel a little bit like a setting for a party at Jay Gatsby's home? Easily the envy of any romantic!  Who wouldn't want to unwind for an afternoon in this setting; it seems a perfect spot to retire after a competitive game of croquet too, doesn't it!  Not that I've ever played, but invite me over and I'll give it a try!
Photo: ApartmentTherapy.com

And how divine is this canopied transitional space? Feels very Feng Shui, doesn't it? Floor cushions easily slide under the table or find homes elsewhere as guests mingle or walk about the gardens.  Can't you just envision having breakfast after morning yoga? I know my sister could!
Porch & Patio
And let's not forget what fun can be had at "Porch Parties".  No matter the size, there is always room for more at the table and no one ever feels cramped!  Think about it... I bet everyone can pull up some hilarious memories from impromptu "porch parties".  Good times.  Plan some.


Whether you're looking to design a small space on a tight budget or go big with seating for twelve, a thoughtfully designed outdoor dining space can feel like a treat in itself this summer. And perhaps the best part of dining at home? .......No reservations required.


  1. i'm definitely a fan of outdoor dining! we have a covered porch out back and it's sooo nice to just get home from work and eat outside! it's got a screen so there are minimal bugs that can get in!

  2. I'll take any of them- seriously, they are all fabulous. Great post!
    Melissa gulley
    design track mind

  3. I'm actually on my own porch this evening as I type this.. it's very cool but beautiful; nothing better than being out in the fresh air. Thanks so much gals for stopping by and leaving a note to let me know you were here. Hope your enjoying the outdoor air too this fine evening! :-)

  4. Hi Sarah-

    Thank you so much for the nice comment and wanting to tweet about it. You really have made my day. This is the first time to your blog and I am so inspired by the first post alone. I am in the midst of setting up my outside spaces for warm weather living and have jotted a few ideas down. I just wish I had some of the water views that are in some of the photos.
    Thanks again-

  5. What an amazing post! You really covered every possible setting! I love the casual bistro settings, great images, I really enjoyed this! so glad you came by,

  6. Thank you Diane & Debra for stopping by and letting me know you were here :-) I hope you create a special place Diane for you and your husband to enjoy as "empty nesters"! Have a great day!

  7. I love the dining pics, you've inspired me to try to spend more time outside. NC can get so hot !

  8. Our deck is like a whole extra room in the summer - we eat out there every night, and often end up with the whole family spending more time together, just sitting until the bugs get too fierce!

  9. Having a room-size deck sounds great! Really makes a difference in your day when you can spend so much time out in the fresh air!

  10. Great out door rooms! Here in Florida now is the time to be outside. The temps are down, the breeze is up a little and there are less bugs. Think I'll do some outdoor cleaning this weekend.

  11. And you had one very hot summer too Angie so I hope you are able to be out there every clear night enjoying it!


Did I ever tell you how much I love your comments? I really do love hearing your thoughts after reading posts? Lets me know people are reading and helps us keep the conversation going!! ~ Thank you!

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