We’ve always been big fans of al fresco dining even before COVID hit. There is something about dining outside with the fresh air surrounding you that just seems to enhance the taste of great food and drink. And you can let the laughter ring loudly without worrying about disturbing other guests.
We’ve been involved with creating some wonderful outdoor dining spacing for both restaurants and residences. We’d like to share some ideas for you to consider:
Be Weather Ready
You want a space that can be used for as much of the year as possible. For those of us in Northern climates, that means contending with the cold. There are artful firepits that can become centers of outdoor eating as well as beautifully designed heat lamps. There are so many to choose from: stand-alone, tabletop, and mounted. So remember, incorporating heat sources starts at the beginning of designing your outdoor space, not as an end thought.
In terms of warm weather, there are many ways to keep you and your guests protected from the sun. Fabric canopies, outdoor umbrellas, and shaded freestanding structures are just a few options. We particularly like to work with landscaping, particularly utilizing mature trees. Additionally pergolas can filter out sunlight, particularly when you add plants like fast-growing wisteria.
Create an Elegant Space
Outdoors does not mean that you must forgo luxury and elegance. Forget the paper plates and picnic tables, and create a sensory experience with interior design elements such as lighting, upholstery, furnishings, and tableware. Lighting is particularly important with wonderful options like scones and chandeliers. Stringing lights and using portable LED-based candles and lanterns can add mood-creating lighting without hiring an electrician.
For alfresco dining, you need chairs that will allow people to sit upright and a table high enough to eat from. Casual lounging with low tables and sofas is wonderful, but generally not conducive to a dinner party. Also, you need to plan for how you will be entertaining because you may need flexible seating arrangements for different kinds of functions as well as places to store extra chairs and tables.
Additionally, outdoors is outdoors. Your furniture and accessories need to be able to withstand the elements so choose your materials wisely. There are wonderful-cushioned seating and interesting and flexible tables to provide practicality and comfort. At Sensory Six, we keep up with the latest in outdoor furnishings and would love to provide guidance.
Connect to the Indoors
Ideally, you want to make choices that create a harmonious connection between your inside and outside spaces. You can accomplish this in many ways with color and texture. You can create floors that tie in with the indoors through pavers, wood and rugs. Indoors your ceilings, walls, and placement of furniture create intimate areas, and you can create that same feeling outdoors using different design elements.
Give It Personality
Restaurants and residences have personalities that incorporates taste preferences. That’s what makes every space distinctive whether it is for your customers, friends, or family. Your outdoor dining space should also reflect who you are. You can make it playful or posh, simple or succulent, warm or whimsical. The choice is yours.
We would love to help you turn your outdoor space into a distinctive sensory experience. It is one of the things we enjoy most about the projects we engage in. Please give us a call to see how we can help.