Designer Spaces

Al Fresco Dining

Al Fresco weather is finally here. Summer allows us to embrace a whole new area of our home for entertaining – the backyard. There are several ways to level-up your outdoor dining experience that will leave guests yearning for your next affair. 

FALL IN LOVE WITH FORMAL Let’s impress guests with an unexpected formal setting. Even outdoors, I’m all for formal place settings. Ditch the paper plates and make use of your China and silverware. Here we used a cement style charger plate to bring texture to the tablescape, layered with soft gray stoneware dishes, matte finish flatware and cut crystal stemware – a setting that feels organic but elevated. 

WILDFLOWER FLORALS Use what you have in your garden! When in doubt, white and green are always a sophisticated summer staple to rely on. For this table setting I used white peonies from the garden, lots of fresh greens, hosta leaves, and grasses, arranged in stone planters to emphasize the softness of the surrounding gardens in the tablescape. 

MAKE IT MAGICAL My goal is always to create a magical moment for guests, and Al Fresco dining is no exception. Have a wide open-space? Use an outdoor rug to ground your dining table to make your setting feel more intimate, or add string lights for romance. Here we’ve really leveled up our affair by adding rented chandeliers to create a truly unique and impressive experience for guests. 

BRING THE BAR OUTSIDE Limit guests going in and out with a tableside bar. It elevates the look of your affair while adding convenience in spades. A simple foldable table with a clean white linen will do. Stock your bar with all the fixings for your evening’s signature cocktail. 

MAKE USE OF YOUR WHOLE BACKYARD SPACE Start with cocktail hour on the deck, enjoy dinner in the garden, and don’t forget to make use of that back corner of the yard by creating a special post dinner lounge. Simply place a fire pit, lighting, Muskoka chairs, and end of night snacks to keep company and conversation rolling. Here we have included a gourmet S’mores board for late night grazing

PHOTOGRAPHER: Lisa Marie Photography

EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR: Gregory Fast, Entertaining and Events Expert,

VENDORS USED Special Event Rentals, Christy’s Gourmet, AYKAY Group

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