let’s make your outdoors great – part IV

Welcome to All in the Detail... I am so glad you are here! 

The warmer weather is here and it’s time to start taking advantage of it.  You know the warm outdoors is calling your name... What a wonderful place to start entertaining and with the evening weather at the peak of enjoyment, how about dining alfresco?

Dining al fresco - known as "out in the fresh air" - has been standard operating procedure on much of the planet since the days when al fresco was the only ambiance available. With the coming of Spring, this means that you no longer have to eat meals while sitting cross-legged in front of the television. Longer daylight hours and warmer weather all add up to one thing: al fresco dining.

SU0007097o_1_x One way to create an Alfresco Dining Room is to enclose an area by using translucent mosquito netting for walls. Slip bamboo poles into PVC piping sleeves and center them in four large flowerpots - one at each corner - and tie horizontal rods to the netting for support. In just one weekend, you can create a beautiful and unique outdoor dining room.

69314-covered-porch-r-x Transform the corner of a deck into a remote entertaining space with a set of table and chairs. Folding chairs are the most portable (and no one says they have to match!) How about keeping an eye out for some resale shop finds? Their color and style add character and charm to your outdoor event at a reasonable cost. Simple patio furniture makes dining alfresco easy. With nearby access to a grill, entertaining guests (and cooking for them) is simple and efficient. Maybe instead of a grill, you prefer to transform your backyard into a spacious outdoor kitchen. A covered pavilion, stainless outdoor cabinetry and custom wood, charcoal, and gas burning grills allow you to entertain outdoors year-round. Your imagination (and your wallet) could be your limit!

0707_sunset_odnook_l How about an intimate outdoor nook for 2? A filigreed gazebo can turn a yard into an enchanting setting for alfresco dining. These lovely iron structures can be picked up at local stores for less than $1,000. Add a candle chandelier (or two) and a pair of tall candle stands for nighttime ambience and you are ready to enjoy alfresco dining in no time.

Whether it's a camp site, your beach cottage, or your own backyard, dining outside offers the perfect opportunity to think beautiful accessories.

504489_0_4-0410-traditional-dinnerware How about Speckle Ware? Virtually everyone should have some of this enamelware hiding in their cupboards. If not, it's easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. Mix and match colors for plates, mugs, bowls, salad bowls and pitchers. And larger older pieces are great for flower arrangements.

garage-sale-bw Think Vintage Tag Sales and Flea Markets are great places to find brightly patterned glassware and accessories such as salt and pepper shakers, cream and sugar pieces and sometimes you'll stumble across a real find, like cutlery with colorful baked handles.

dining-al-fresco-vintage-rose-gardenYes, you’re outside, but don’t forget the table cloths and linens Some of these are best found in someone else's basement. More often than not you'll see complete sets that have never been used. Remember, the more vibrant the better! And the great thing about linens is that you can always mix and match. How about an impromptu tablecloth – do you have an old quilt laying around?

master_RE038 Add some extra color above your head What about dressing up your table’s market umbrella?You can add lanterns & simple fabric panels to the interior of a plain umbrella and you've created the ideal setting for a romantic dinner alfresco.

138402_F08_72_hsInclude Lighting Accessories Votive candles and tin lanterns can shed some light and add atmosphere as the sun sets on your dining experience.

254 Personalize Your Table Think about adding a personal touch to your cloth napkins by wrapping them with something you could find outside – like tying raffia around them and adding a place card for a casual feast.

Just because you are eating outside doesn’t mean you have to ‘rough it’. Dining alfresco is the perfect excuse for relaxing some of the rules of the table setting, adding multitudes of vibrant color and making the occasion memorable for all.

Check back tomorrow, I will discuss how to create a Garden Centerpiece