Dining al fresco is my favourite thing about summer! Today I am sharing a summer tablescape that is perfect for leisurely dining outdoors!
Today I am joining 24 table stylists as we share our vision for a beautiful summer tablescape. Thank you to Rita from Panoply for hosting today, and be sure to visit the all the gorgeous inspiration via the links below!
What does dining al fresco mean?
Simply put, al fresco translates to “in fresh air”. Hence, dining al fresco is just a fancy way to say eating outdoors!
Since I am all about elevating the everyday, I will choose the fancy every time!
My summer tablescape inspiration
This year I wanted to set a colourful table. I wanted to keep it casual, light and airy. Lots of room for plates of yummy summertime food!
I took cues from the nature around me. My peonies were just coming into bloom, as was my mock orange tree and delphinium.
I set the table for six, which meant I had to do a little mixing and matching to avoid spending any money. And did I mention I live in a tiny home. Hence, my storage space is very limited!
The green dinner plates and rattan place mats set the stage for mismatched napkins, topped with a a sprig of herbs.
I didn’t have six of any one style of glassware in the colours I wanted, but I did have twelve in total. So, as you can see, different combinations are used throughout!
The only colour of napkins that I had more than 4 of was white, and white napkins would have looked out of place. Instead I used pink napkins on the end place settings, and yellow striped napkins in the centre two place settings.
Even the candles are mismatched, but still work together enough that they draw attention away from the otherwise colourful table.
What are the benefits of eating outdoors?
Spending time outdoors is always a benefit! Vitamin D from the sunshine, fresh air, and birdsong are all things that come to mind for me when I think about the benefits of eating outside.
Another benefit for us, and perhaps for you too, is the ability to entertain more than just a couple of people at one time. Our house is tiny which makes it difficult to host more than 2 or 3 people comfortably during the colder months. Being able to spread out on around our large harvest table, with extra seating all around the deck is definitely a benefit!
Do’s and don’ts of dining al fresco
Don’t stress! Unless you are hosting a very formal gathering, eating outdoors calls for a relaxed setting.
Do keep it simple, or go all out! Whatever your heart desires!
Do think of a theme or style ahead of time. This makes setting the table easy, whether you choose a simple white table cloth, white plates and flowers from the garden, or a more vibrant tablescape with colorful linens, plates and flowers.
Do check the weather ahead of time and have a back-up plan if it calls for inclement weather.
Do have some sun screen available for guests who may have forgotten. If you will be dining late into the evening (and that is highly encouraged!), keep some bug spray citronella candles nearby.
Do use what you already have! As described above, I worked with what I already had. Cut flowers from you own garden or buy a few bunches from the grocery store and use my video tutorial to make a stunning hand-tied bouquet centrepiece!
Essentials for outdoor entertaining
Comfortable seating to encourage your guests to stay awhile and linger at the table long into the evening.
Two or three pop-up mesh domes made to cover your food and keep any pesky insects from trying to take a nibble.
A pretty bucket or vessel to keep beverages cold and ready. This copper ice bucket is similar in size to one that I have.
Consider having a few yard games available such as giant Jenga or croquet. I love this Croquet set from the Hearth & Hand collection. It keeps everything tidy and organized without taking up much space when not in use!
Candles of all shapes and sizes. Using old wine and olive oil bottles with simple drippy white candles is super simple and inexpensive way to create the perfect ambience for outdoor dining.
Dining al fresco is my favourite thing about summer.
Now it’s your turn! Get outside and set a table. No matter if it is a tiny table for one or two, or a long table that seats 12!
A few more of my summer tablescapes you may enjoy…
A Pretty Picnic in Niagara On The Lake
How to Plan The Perfect Summer Dinner Party
And now 23 more Stunning Summer Tablescapes to Explore!
Be sure to visit all the lovely tablescapes simply by clicking on each link below!
Pandora’s Box – Stars, Stripes, and Checks – A Summer Tablescape
Bluesky at Home – Easy Summer Outdoor Table Ideas
Life and Linda – A Taste of the Tropics
Corner of Plaid and Paisley – Yellow and Blue Alfresco Setting
Everyday Living – Celebrate Summer With The Red, White and Blue
Panoply – Summer Garden Party Tablescape
Hyacinths for the Soul – Tis the Season of Patriotic Tablescapes
Home is Where the Boat Is – Anchors Aweigh on the Pontoon
Debbee’s Buzz – Botanic Garden Floral & Butterfly Summer Table
My Hubbard Home – Easy Alfresco Dining Table | Tips for Summer
Me and My Captain – Camping, Fishing And Summertime Fun
Thrifting Wonderland – Butterfly Garden Table Setting
My Thrift Store Addiction – Honeysuckle and Hydrangeas Summer Tablescape
The Little Yellow Corner Store – Sweet Old Summertime
Celebrate and Decorate – Inspiration for Designing a Bright and Cheery a Summer Citrus Tablescape
From My Carolina Home – Summer Sunshine Tablescape and Hop
Living With Thanksgiving – Summer Celebrations
Zucchini Sisters – Red and White Tablescape in the Park
The Bookish Dilettante – Beach Reading Tablescape
The Painted Apron – Let’s Go Fishing
Belle Bleu Interiors – A Summertime Luncheon in the Garden
Dinner at Eight – Summertime Blossoms on the Table
Carole @ From My Carolina Home says
Your flowers are stunning! I often do the same mixing of different glassware or plates, as I often do not have enough of one thing for a whole table. Nicely done!
Your table is lovely Maureen, I love the soft colors and the mismatched glassware is my favorite part! Your summer floral arrangements are so beautiful and I love the way you’ve alternated them with the lantern candles down the center of your table. You’ve kept it simple, but it looks effortlessly elegant! I hope you enjoy a wonderful summer with lots of al fresco dining!
Chloe Crabtree says
Maureen, You have included everything I think I would have thought of if I were planning on dining out of doors. It is so funny, as you are planning on dining alfresco, we are heading indoors to escape the heat! That table is amazing! Your husband is quite the woodworker! What a wonderful treasure to gather family and friends around for years and years to come. I am sure you will enjoy many delicious meals and share many good times around that table!
Pam Richardson says
Maureen, your garden flowers are gorgeous. I love that you have mixed things on the table. It gives a casual but creative vibe that might influence others to see that they can have a lovely table with matching china, etc. I love dining alfresco and have enjoyed my virtual seat at your table. It is always fun to hop with you…Happy Summer!
bonnie morgan says
Maureen, You set a beautiful alfresco table. Your flowers are gorgeous. I love peonies( so envious you can grow them) delphiniums, and mock orange.
Your little cakes are calling my name. They look delicious!
I like your mix and match and casual vibe.
Fun to see your styling and blog hop with you again.
Always, always, the lack of storage space hinders me, Maureen. Still, you did a truly lovely job with your alfresco table. The way you combined the flowers from your yard, and the plates, cups and flowers with soft and bold colors really is eye catching. And you are right about lingering over the alfresco meal. It such a wonderful time of year to open our homes and enjoy both the garden and friends!
Rita C at Panoply says
Maureen, first of all, your floral arrangement is over the top beautiful! I love how you’ve pulled from your stash to create a color scheme that’s both calm and colorful. It works so well! One thing I am trying to figure out is that harvest table – is it actually on the deck or in the yard? I think I remember seeing it on the deck, but it appears different with the angles of your photos this time! Your ideas for outdoor dining are great, and I’d love to know your source for popup food screens (nice that they fold, am I right?). I totally understand the issues of small space storage, and even though this home we’re in is larger than our condo, I’m really trying to keep ‘stuff’ under control. You manage that really well. Thanks for joining the group and sharing your great ideas. Happy summer!
Maureen, you had me at “peonies”! What a gorgeous floral centerpiece you created (which I could smell it’s wonderful scent too)! You never disappoint with your floral creations and combinations. And, I love the cool summer color palette, along with your creative styling and mixing of patterns, textures and tableware. Such great tips and advice on alfresco dinning. I found myself nodding my head or picking up pointers as I read along. Happy summer!
Linda Primmer says
Lovely table Maureen. The soft colors and florals are perfect for a summer table. I adore the lanterns. The mismatched glassware is so pretty. No set rules for matching pieces. Let them shine. I hope you get to enjoy more alfresco dining during the summer months.
Swoon Maureen, your flowers are beautiful! Our peonies finished blooming several weeks ago, I miss the big fluffy blooms and wonderful fragrance. Love the mixing and matching of your stemware which makes for a much more interesting table, especially for casual summer dining! As always, it’s a treat to join you at the table. Happy Summer ♥
I am so happy to hear you put this together with things you already had on hand. I believe it really increases one’s creativity. Mixing and matching reveals just how beautiful a combination can become, especially when their such gorgeous floral centerpieces. I love how you picked up the colors from your tranquil striped tablecloth. It speaks volumes and says….enjoyment. Have a wonderful summer!
Sandra @ Dinner at Eight says
Mixing and matching while still being cohesive is an art. With the addition of the lovely flowers for a centerpiece, it’s well done for your summer table!
Kari Rogers-Miller says
I love dining al fresco and the Captain and I do this almost every day. I knew you would incorporate a little purple in your tablescape and it is beautiful. Love the stemware too. Always fun to blog hop with you. Have a wonderful day. Kari @ Me and My Captain
Ann Krucek says
Maureen, you have set a beautiful table, so soft and inviting. I could see lingering her on a summer evening. Your flowers are gorgeous and I love your mix and matched colored glass stemware. Perfectly lovely!! I hope you have a wonderful summer☀️It is always such a pleasure to hop with you!!
Maureen, your al fresco tablescape is just lovely! I love the pastel striped tablecloth. It really brings out the colors in your gorgeous floral arrangement. Kudos for not spending any money on your tableware. I always shop my home first when possible, too. I also really like the mismatched glasses and napkins…it makes it more interesting. It was fun hopping with you. Happy Summer!
Maureen, I love to dine outdoors any chance I get. Your al fresco table is perfect for a summer evening. I love how you mixed your glassware. It really reflects all the pretty colors of your flowers. You’ve created a lovely summer table.
Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors says
Maureen, your table is so pretty and your floral centerpiece is gorgeous! You have given us some wonderful tips for Alfresco dining. It would be so fun to dine at this beautiful table. Wishing you a most happy summer!