Outdoor Entertaining

21st of June 2020

Following on from National Loneliness  Week and our focus on home dining, this week we are taking it outside! Outdoor entertaining, and why not? Let’s make the most of this glorious weather… long may it last!

We’ve been pretty lucky, weather wise, this Spring – many of us who have outdoor space have spent our time sprucing up our garden, cleaning down the patio, cutting back the hedges and adding colourful flowers to planters and boundaries.  If you’ve not started this yet, then begin now! First top tip is to clean up the outdoor area you are planning to entertain in.  Once you’ve done your spring cleaning inside, then crack on with outside!  We love how this pallet has been up-cycled with a sand down, lick of paint with the addition of industrial castors – turning it in to functionable outdoor coffee table. Genius!

If you have existing outdoor timber furniture, it may be worth a sand down – we don’t want your guests getting those pesky splinters.  Whilst a stunning old-world like table set up can look romantically dreamy, the reality it should be comfortable too! Scatter some cushions on benches and seats to soften weathered materials.

For metal – use warm soapy water and then hose or jet wash it down.  Most of us find that garden furniture will last a few years, but the elements can eventually have their way and you will end up having to replace them.

Rather than renewing your furniture every few years, you may want to invest in something a little more special that will stand the test of time, to be treasured and loved just as much as your furniture indoors.  We have a special solution for you…

We work with an array of furniture suppliers.  One of our go-to suppliers is McKinnon and Harris.  We can create outdoor spaces as an extension of the interior using their beautiful furniture.  The brand is known for their heirloom quality that will stand the test of time – that’s right, it comes with a lifetime guarantee!  Each piece of furniture is beautifully hand crafted across the pond in their workshops in Richmond, Virginia.  The furniture is made of aluminium covered in their own patented EC2 formula – which means it will not rust! Great for any environment.  Check out the video below to see the craftsmanship first hand.

No matter what size you have outdoors – it’s a great idea to try and zone it.  If you are grilling, set a space for grilling alongside your food prep station.  If possible, keep this away / separate from your space for sitting and eating and also have a space for serving drinks.  We all love a makeshift bar.

If you are a keen gardener or in my case ‘learner gardener’? Now’s the right time to plant some herbs.  Any excuse to grow herbs, veg or fruit at home must be a win-win to avoid those long supermarket queue!  Food always tastes just that little bit better knowing it is home grown.

How will you dress your outdoor dining table?  Let’s start at the ground up – how about zoning the space with an outdoor rug?  The pattern and texture can add an element of quirk and fun.  It can be lovely to start with a crisp linen tablecloth as a blank canvas.  Add seat cushions to the chairs, there are lots of outdoor cushions you can use but it’s fine to bring some of your indoors cushions outside (as long as you remember to bring them back in!).  The long spring/summer evenings can get chilly so put some blankets out for your guests to cosy into as the firepit glows and the stars emerge.

Space your placemats out accordingly and add your plates.  Here is when you want to begin to create a sense of perspective, proportion and scale – try adding bowls to provide height.  Soften the plates and bowls by placing napkins over them – you can jazz these up using napkin rings.  Why not create a beautiful flower arrangement for the centre of the table or small bud vases dotted around the table, freshly cut from the garden or your local market stall. 

The last thing to add is lighting – this is key.  Of course, candles look beautiful to set the scene, especially when set in a stunning candelabra.  Or you can add cordless lamps to your dining table.  These are a great alternative and can be re-charged at the end of the night.  Perhaps you can add a string of lights across your terrace – festoon lighting.  To create the ultimate atmosphere, nestle tiki torches into your lawn or flower beds to flicker away as night draws in whilst your guests chat and laugh away in the tranquil ambience you have curated for them.  It’s lovely to have low level music in the background, an outdoor speaker is a great investment.  Your dinner party can turn into an actual party! Especially if you are celebrating a special occasion.  If one of your friends plays the guitar, set a seed in their mind to bring it along.  There’s nothing like a good singalong into the stars around a firepit at the end of an evening.

Inspiration Imagery...

Have a lovely weeks guys, enjoy the sunshine and each other - but keep safe! 

With Love from the Team at Tobias Oliver xXx