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Have you noticed how it’s light when you wake up and the joyful tweeting of the birds in the trees early in the morning? The grass has suddenly taken up a vibrant shade or green, whilst purple and yellow crocuses create fantastical carpets of colour. The spring is upon us.
 
There may still be a chill in the air, but the first barbecue of the year is closer than you think. Now is the best time to start planning your outdoor dining space, giving yourself plenty of time to make it perfect for when the first opportunity to use it arises. Browse through our top 10 ideas to create the most inspirational dining space outdoor.
 

1. Pick the spot with the best view
If you are lucky to have an open garden with great views, take a walk around and pick the spot with the best view for your outdoor dining area. Even better if it is shaded by an old tree, but if not, you can always buy an umbrella. Our countryside is so beautiful in the summer it would be a shame to miss out on the views.


2. Contemporary urban patios
Extensions and remodelling of town houses often means that the patios are shaded or lower than the rest of the garden. Choosing light colours for walls and floors means you can go bolder with your garden furniture choice. Don’t be afraid of filling the available space with a statement dining table and seating. Entertaining is what the space is for and the more people you can fit, the better.
 

3. Barbecue heaven
British summers can be a little unpredictable, which makes garden parties more difficult to plan. If space allows it, build yourself a barbecue shelter. It could be something as simple as four posts with a stretched sail and a fire bowl, or you could really push the boat out and go for a full blown barbecue house – complete with a kitchen sink. Now you can entertain outdoors come rain or shine.
 

4. Rooftop dining
City pads offer something really unique that country houses don’t: breathtaking views of the pulsating life below and the feeling of being alive. No wonder New York is a string of roof top parties all through the summer. We loved this idea of astroturf and wooden garden furniture as a funky contemporary solution for a rooftop dining space.
 

5. Cosy romantic spot
Is your garden rather lovely but quite enclosed with high walls? Well that’s great because your garden dining spot will be protected from wind as well as nosey neighbours. You can still create magic by finding a lovely spot under an old tree and decorate it with colourful decorations, dream catchers, tea light holders or fairy lights.
 

6. Outrageous party decor
Important events such as birthday parties and wedding anniversaries deserve special decor. If you know the weather will be nice, you can be really outrageous and create a wow factor using old mirrors and fabulous lights. Just make sure you put them away at the end of the evening.
 

7. Garden kitchen
If you are an al fresco cooking fan, why not surround your garden dining table with beautiful herbs and edible plants. It is easy to do even on a patio by building up planters using wooden planks and filling them with soil. You will be rewarded with beautiful views and scents and have cooking ingredients at your fingertips.
 

8. Eating inside out
Building an extension or planning and open plan kitchen diner? A fully retractable wall that opens onto your patio or balcony will give you a fabulous inside out dining area. Bifolds allow you to open the whole space, whilst sliding doors take less space but only half of the wall can be open at once.
 

9. Garden furniture
There is so much choice and so many things to consider. A few tips from us might help:
Plastic might look great when new, but will age very quickly, particularly if left outside in the rain, so make sure you have somewhere to put it away or something to cover it with during the rainy months.
Metal will rust except for stainless steel. Glass will go some way towards protecting metal, alternatively annual re-painting will also do the job. You could also go for a rusty industrial look, using furniture made from thick steel or wrought iron and combining it with wood or glass.
Oak and Teak are the best woods for our climate, but make sure you go for solid, chunky variety to avoid twisting and bending. All wood will gain a silvery grey colour when left outside in the rain. This is just how oak and teak create a protective barrier. This is a natural process and the colour adds character to the wood. Solid wood tables are the best as they require the least maintenance and look good for years. Consider combining wood and glass. This way, your wood will be protected from the rain and keep its brown colour for longer.
 

10. Lighting
Don’t forget the lighting – it is the most important thing to create the right atmosphere. Low level uplights are great, but can create a sort of sterile atmosphere and sometimes, you simply don’t want the upheaval of wiring up your garden. Think lanterns suspended from tree branches, hurricane lamps on your dining table, candle lit lanterns dotted around your garden or outdoor fairy lights, which create the most magical ambiance.

Get some of the looks with our selection below:

Top 10 ideas for outdoor dining >>

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Have you noticed how it’s light when you wake up and the joyful tweeting of the birds in the trees early in the morning? The grass has suddenly taken up a vibrant shade or green, whilst purple and yellow crocuses create fantastical carpets of colour. The spring is upon us.
 
There may still be a chill in the air, but the first barbecue of the year is closer than you think. Now is the best time to start planning your outdoor dining space, giving yourself plenty of time to make it perfect for when the first opportunity to use it arises. Browse through our top 10 ideas to create the most inspirational dining space outdoor.
 

1. Pick the spot with the best view
If you are lucky to have an open garden with great views, take a walk around and pick the spot with the best view for your outdoor dining area. Even better if it is shaded by an old tree, but if not, you can always buy an umbrella. Our countryside is so beautiful in the summer it would be a shame to miss out on the views.


2. Contemporary urban patios
Extensions and remodelling of town houses often means that the patios are shaded or lower than the rest of the garden. Choosing light colours for walls and floors means you can go bolder with your garden furniture choice. Don’t be afraid of filling the available space with a statement dining table and seating. Entertaining is what the space is for and the more people you can fit, the better.
 

3. Barbecue heaven
British summers can be a little unpredictable, which makes garden parties more difficult to plan. If space allows it, build yourself a barbecue shelter. It could be something as simple as four posts with a stretched sail and a fire bowl, or you could really push the boat out and go for a full blown barbecue house – complete with a kitchen sink. Now you can entertain outdoors come rain or shine.
 

4. Rooftop dining
City pads offer something really unique that country houses don’t: breathtaking views of the pulsating life below and the feeling of being alive. No wonder New York is a string of roof top parties all through the summer. We loved this idea of astroturf and wooden garden furniture as a funky contemporary solution for a rooftop dining space.
 

5. Cosy romantic spot
Is your garden rather lovely but quite enclosed with high walls? Well that’s great because your garden dining spot will be protected from wind as well as nosey neighbours. You can still create magic by finding a lovely spot under an old tree and decorate it with colourful decorations, dream catchers, tea light holders or fairy lights.
 

6. Outrageous party decor
Important events such as birthday parties and wedding anniversaries deserve special decor. If you know the weather will be nice, you can be really outrageous and create a wow factor using old mirrors and fabulous lights. Just make sure you put them away at the end of the evening.
 

7. Garden kitchen
If you are an al fresco cooking fan, why not surround your garden dining table with beautiful herbs and edible plants. It is easy to do even on a patio by building up planters using wooden planks and filling them with soil. You will be rewarded with beautiful views and scents and have cooking ingredients at your fingertips.
 

8. Eating inside out
Building an extension or planning and open plan kitchen diner? A fully retractable wall that opens onto your patio or balcony will give you a fabulous inside out dining area. Bifolds allow you to open the whole space, whilst sliding doors take less space but only half of the wall can be open at once.
 

9. Garden furniture
There is so much choice and so many things to consider. A few tips from us might help:
Plastic might look great when new, but will age very quickly, particularly if left outside in the rain, so make sure you have somewhere to put it away or something to cover it with during the rainy months.
Metal will rust except for stainless steel. Glass will go some way towards protecting metal, alternatively annual re-painting will also do the job. You could also go for a rusty industrial look, using furniture made from thick steel or wrought iron and combining it with wood or glass.
Oak and Teak are the best woods for our climate, but make sure you go for solid, chunky variety to avoid twisting and bending. All wood will gain a silvery grey colour when left outside in the rain. This is just how oak and teak create a protective barrier. This is a natural process and the colour adds character to the wood. Solid wood tables are the best as they require the least maintenance and look good for years. Consider combining wood and glass. This way, your wood will be protected from the rain and keep its brown colour for longer.
 

10. Lighting
Don’t forget the lighting – it is the most important thing to create the right atmosphere. Low level uplights are great, but can create a sort of sterile atmosphere and sometimes, you simply don’t want the upheaval of wiring up your garden. Think lanterns suspended from tree branches, hurricane lamps on your dining table, candle lit lanterns dotted around your garden or outdoor fairy lights, which create the most magical ambiance.

Get some of the looks with our selection below:

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