Slowly but surely the days are getting longer, and the weather is beginning to warm and brighten up. The spring and summer months provide plenty of opportunity for barbecues, parties and picnics in the garden. Whether you are designing from scratch or planning a renovation, here are some pointers that will help you create the perfect alfresco dining area in your garden.
The first thing to consider is what type of garden furniture will be the central focus of your outdoor dining area. Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of materials from wood to wicker. When choosing your furniture, you should take into account the style of your garden. Is it classic or modern? Secondly, you should consider how much time you are prepared to give to the maintenance of your furniture. This furniture will be exposed to the elements, and some materials will require more care than others. For example, plastic furniture will just need a wipe but wood will need cleaned and treated regularly. Lastly, consider the shape and size of your space. If you have a small area, a round table and chairs may work best. Or, if you are working with a larger area, a long trestle table could look perfect.
The next thing to take into account is your storage options. Where will you store your crockery, table mats, cushions, etc. for your alfresco dining area? If you wish to avoid carrying everything you need between your house and the garden, an outdoor storage area may be useful. You can find beautiful storage pieces that are sturdy enough to withstand being outside. You should also consider where you will store the furniture during the winter months to protect it from the wind, rain and frost.
Will you provide an umbrella, awning or roofing for you alfresco dining experience? Not only do they shade you and your furniture from the sun and protect you in the case of bad weather, but they also add to the aesthetics of the outdoor dining area. Pergolas dripping with climbing vines and flowers makes a practical and beautiful frame for alfresco dining.
Consider the overall layout of your garden and how your outdoor dining area will feature in it. A good design technique is to have stoned paving for the dining section and grass elsewhere. If you like this idea, you may wish to check out Westminster Stone for their range of garden paving. Other ways to separate the dining area from the rest of the garden is to raise it slightly or to create a partition using shrubbery and flowers or a fence.
Lighting will play a crucial role in the aesthetics of your alfresco dining area. Consider whether you will use artificial lighting options or candles, lanterns and torches or a bit of both. A roof of fairy lights or a chandelier decorated with flowers would look great for a romantic and laid-back design. Industrial mismatched lighting works well with a more modern and rustic look.