As the Queen’s Jubilee is nearly upon us and the sun sporadically graces us with its rays, the norm of a British summer. We need to make the most of the splendid weather by spending as much time as possible outside with our family and friends. So whether it’s a barbeque, picnic or a garden party, British interior designer Benji Lewis offers his simple ideas on how to create the perfect al fresco dining experience.


Benji’s Ten Tips:

  • Think about sunshine and the amount you want your guests to receive when placing your table outdoors, if there’s still a nip in the air then direct sun might be a warm welcome but if it’s hot then shelter with an umbrella or dappled shade from a tree will be a welcome relief.
  • Use tablecloths to create some dramatic impact but don’t get too hung up on having matched napkins too; as long as there’s harmony with your linens, the mismatch suggests a relaxed informality.
  • Entertaining outdoors should be relaxed, opt for plastic instead of glass, these La Redoute wine glasses are perfect. La Redoute – plastic wine glasses.
  • Should space allow for it, compartmentalise your outdoor space, set up a table and comfortable chairs for drinks while lunch or dinner is served in a separate space.
Tips on How to Build Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Small Spaces
RELATED: Tips on How to Build Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Small Spaces
  • Use your outdoor furniture as ‘room’ dividers, a corner sofa is the ideal piece for seating lots of people and can act as a chic space divider, if you plan it into your space properly. It’s also a great option for stretching out for an afternoon doze.
  • Accessorise your table with pots of lavender or greenery of some description; the simple and easy way of doing this is to cut wavy branches off a bush or tree and put them straight in a vase with water. This is and suggests you’re very much in harmony with the garden around you
  • Scatter cushions into the mix you’ll create a space that looks gentle and welcoming and use outdoor area rugs as a way of creating zoned spaces.  For example, where you have your outdoor sofa and armchairs, include an area rug to complete that outdoor/indoor room feel.
  • Have sufficient artificial light for when the sun goes down; keep it soft; banish looking at suspending garlands of fairy lights and put battery operated lamps on the table instead.
  • Carting cutlery, crockery and glasses from the house to your outdoor ‘room’ might be frustrating so consider setting your space up with an aluminium sideboard.
  • The weather in the UK being what it is you never know when the skies might open, so if you can, try and shop for furniture that can withstand the elements – Coco Wolf are experts at this, and able to supply all manner of upholstered goods that you can leave outside whatever the weather:
The rise in alfresco living — how can you get your garden ready?
RELATED: The rise in alfresco living — how can you get your garden ready?