8 Outdoor dining ideas

It’s almost time to throw open the doors and enjoy the great outdoors, if recent glimmers of sunshine amidst the clouds are anything to go by. You can almost smell the barbecues, taste the Pimm’s and hear the birdsong of a not-too-distant spring, can’t you? Thankfully, we’ve got everything you need to get your outdoor space ready for a season of entertaining friends and family, specifically accompanied with great food and drink. 

Garden dining ideas

Just in time for sunnier times, we’ve rounded up the best outdoor dining ideas for your garden. 

1. Mix and match outdoor furniture

While we’ve got complete garden sets for those looking to create a cohesive scheme in their outdoor space – from Eos to Tanso –  why not mix and match individual garden dining and tables for a gloriously eclectic look? But don’t just throw individual styles together without much thought. To mismatch effortlessly but elegantly, take your cues from similar materials – wood vs. metal, for example – or like minded tones (for instance, earthy vs. muted) to still create a sense of synergy in even the most opposite of pieces. Sure to spark conversation.  

2. Host a crowd with a large garden dining table

An outdoor dining table sets the stage for many an al fresco feast over the spring and summer months so it’s worth investing in a quality one that will stand the test of time (and endure British winters). The Pelagus dining table by Fritz Hansen is just the thing with a sturdy but stylish teak and aluminium design that’s available in two distinctive colourways. Better still, the extension plate can be used in ones or twos to convert the table from a six- or eight-seater to a 10- or 12-seater, meaning everyone can be invited for fun in the sun. Surely one of the brightest outdoor dining ideas. 

3. Inject colour with bright garden dining chairs

If your outdoor palette is natural and subdued – black and white, or grey and beige – make a sparing but vibrant statement with a splash of colour in the form of your dining chairs. The Eos outdoor side chair is now available in Brewer Green, exclusive to Heal’s and developed in collaboration with COAT Paints, which will certainly dial up the drama. 

4. Roll out an outdoor rug

With your table and chairs acting as the jewel in the crown of your outdoor dining space, it’s time to add texture with an outdoor rug, the hottest way to take the inside out. Luckily, we’ve got a collection of floor coverings to suit every outdoor space, layering texture, colour and pattern. The Romilly recycled rug comes in an earthy terracotta colour that adds Moroccan flair; while the Diamond kilim outdoor rug features an unusual octagon shape emblazoned with a graphic print. Pop one under your dining table and chairs to zone the area while adding texture under bare feet. 

5. Bring atmosphere with outdoor lighting

Add a little ambience to your outdoor dining area with lighting that’s specifically designed for al fresco spaces. Our own-brand Orion portable LED table lamps are perfect for illuminating outdoor tablescapes while casting a flattering glow and offer up to eight hours of battery life from a single charge. For additional impact, why not add string lighting to your scheme? The Tobias from Sirius comprises 10 LED bulbs suspended from a five-metre cable that can be wound around trees or draped over fences. Lastly, add candles for atmosphere. Line them in varying heights down the length of a rectangular table or cluster together in the centre of a circular table. 

6. Add texture with layered fabric

To soften your dining space further, layer on luxurious fabrics, from linen for your table to cushions for your seating. New for summer, the Heal’s + L.F.Markey stripe tablecloth in a vibrant yellow-and-white colourway. Part of the latest collection from our collaboration with the independent London fashion brand, it’s a surefire talking point and can be teamed with the napkins in the same collection (the green will add a touch of contrast). Otherwise, our linen tablecloth – in neutrals like pink or cream – offers a more laid-back aesthetic. For comfort under-cheek, why not plump for an outdoor cushion that adds panache as well as padding? The colours in the Greenwich collection provide a style for most spaces while this cushion from Edinburgh Weavers allows your passion for art and design to escape the four walls of your home. Finally, why not offer dining companions a chance to cosy up by filling a basket with a selection of quality throws to drape over their shoulders? Our pure Alpaca throws or two-tone Merino throws are sure to do the job.

7.Stay cool in the sun with a parasol

For daytime soirées, ensure you and your guests keep your cool with a stylish but practical outdoor umbrella to shield everyone from the strength of the afternoon sun. The Messina round outdoor umbrella by Fritz Hansen is built from long-lasting fabric and features a classic blue-and-white striped design.  

8. Work on a garden sofa for lounging

Finally, give your guests somewhere to retire after dinner by carving out space for a dedicated outdoor lounge area. From an Eos sofa or armchair to the Virkelyst sofa or Roy Cocoon chair, something laid-back but luxurious provides the perfect excuse to while away the evening until the small hours (preferably with a digestif in hand). 

Prepare your garden for al fresco dining

Browse and buy from the latest and greatest luxury garden furniture to make the most of your great outdoors and inspire more outdoor dining ideas.