Creating an Outdoor Dining Experience

Eating Out While Eating In: Creating a Comfortable Outdoor Dining Experience

As the spring flowers poke their heads through what remains of last year’s leaves, the great outdoors begins to look a whole lot friendlier than it did just one month ago. And the friendlier the great outdoors looks, the more you want to spend more time outside and less time cooped up in your home. Mealtimes provide a great excuse for the whole family to sit down together and enjoy some fresh air and fresh food. But before you can resolve to eat outside, you need to create a space conducive to outdoor dining. These three tips will help you do just that.

If you have a deck, use it! However, if it hasn’t been used since last summer or longer, exercise caution first. Consider hiring a carpenter to inspect and make structural and aesthetic changes to the deck. This way, you’ll make sure your deck is a safe place for the whole family to have fun–even the two-year-old who loves to jump and bounce. Also, a newly repaired deck looks a lot better than one comprised of old, splintering wood. Some new stain and perhaps a few aesthetic details, like a sun roof or built in container garden can change the whole atmosphere of your back yard. Since you know that the ambiance is one of the first things you notice about a restaurant, why not think similarly about the ambiance of dining in your own back yard?

Be deliberate and strategic about buying patio furniture. Although at this time of year most stores are flaunting their patio furniture left and right, don’t fall into the trap of buying something that you think looks nice now but that doesn’t function the way you need it to or that won’t stand the test of harsh Midwest weather. Make sure you buy furniture that can accommodate your whole family, looks great where you want to place it, and is sturdy enough to last through thunderstorms, high winds and the occasional tornado!

Think about how you will get food from your kitchen to your outdoor dining area. If it is a long and tedious path, you might want to consider installing a kitchenette nearer to your deck or patio. For instance, the utility room is a prime place for an addition like this. In addition, you might want to think about building an outdoor grill or simply putting a fridge in your garage for easier access.

Eating out while eating at home can be a fun way to spend time with your family on a warm spring/summer day. However, it can also be a hassle. The tips above can help your dining experience stay fun without being frustrating.