Summer is just around the corner, and so are those long balmy nights and relaxed days, perfect for sitting outside, eating, drinking, sharing time with friends and family.
Whether you are an apartment dweller, live on an acreage, or have a backyard in a ‘hood, somehow, somewhere, there will be a space to dine outside.
Even when space is limited, the possibilities for outdoor dining are not
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There is something a little more magical, more festive, more of an occasion, when a meal is taken outside.
And there are a few other pluses as well:
- Without a stove or oven in use your home and kitchen stays cooler on those hot summer nights
- You can keep a closer eye on the children if they are swimming or playing in the yard
- You can host a larger group – easy to add chairs, tables, extend boundaries
- It’s more social for the chef– particularly when you’re having a bbq or using the pizza oven.
- It keeps your home cleaner- everybody outside means less mess in.
- Guests usually help you out a bit more, carrying plates, bowls, drinks etc.
- Keeps the meal casual and fun
- And finally, food tastes better outside- not certain if there is an actual science behind this, but it really does!
How to make the most of outdoor dining
Location, location, location.
As with any real estate decision, location has to be well considered. If you are balcony dining from an apartment, the choices are a little less optional, but even if you have a large yard, do not be tempted to place the table in the very far corner. Carrying tableware, food and drinks for any distance will take a bit of the fun out of the whole experience.
Don’t place your table too close to the bbq, or pizza oven- too hot, too smelly, and possibly too smokey.
Try to keep your outdoor dining space relatively close to the kitchen as this is where all your food, drinks, tableware, will be carried from, and back to.
Make your table great again.
Tablecloths, flowers, candles will all add to the ambience of your dining experience.
Cover it up
Shade cover will be a must during the summer months. If you don’t have an actual roof over your area, use an umbrella, build a pergola or erect a temporary “tent”.
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Use your view
Position your table to take advantage of any view you may have, city light, water, and the mountain ranges. You can even make a view by hanging fairy lights from trees or wrapped around fences and balconies.
One of the very few downsides of eating outside, (perhaps the only one?) are the bugs.
Mosquitos, flies and every other flying, creepy crawly is also going to love it when you dine outdoors.
The smells, the lights, all those uncovered arms and legs, are just too attractive for any normal bug to ignore.
How to get them to bug off:
- Invest in a fan.
Fans are a great mosquito and fly deterrent — they aren’t strong fliers, and even a light breeze will blow them away.
As an added bonus, you get a nice, cooling breeze.
- Bust out the citronella.
Mosquitos naturally do not like anything citronella. I always keep a few candles or citronella plants in your outdoor area and it helps to do the trick
- Make an herbal centerpiece.
There are a few herbs with essential oils that repel flies (and other insects!), and it happens that they also look pretty in a jar. Fill a vase with a mix of basil, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, or mint for a bouquet that will keep the flies away and smell great, too.
- Hide the drinks.
Flies love sugary and yeasty things, so the more wine, beer, and soft drinks you have on the table, the more attractive it will be to them. You don’t have to cut out your favorite beverages altogether — just consider drinking out of cups with lids, store the bottles or cans in a sealed cooler in between pours, and wipe up any spills right away.
With this selection of tips and tricks, all you have to do is work out the menu and fire up the Barbie!