Easy Ideas For Outdoor Summer Dining

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE setting a beautiful table, regardless of the season. I have to admit that this time of year is my absolute favorite, because the possibility of creating a beautiful table setting outdoors. While we are at our ranch in Montana, I am always looking for new and interesting places to create a dining experience for our friends and family and I have come up with some fun and easy ideas for outdoor summer dining that I wanted to share with you today!

And as a bonus, I have 14 friends who are sharing summer dining and entertaining ideas today, so be sure to scroll down to the end of this post to see all of the tips they have for you!

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IDEA #1 – Choose A Unique Location

Whether you have a small back patio with a patch of grass across the way or a remote area of your yard that you have never fully enjoyed, look at every possible place to set a beautiful dinner table in your yard. Perhaps you have a vegetable garden where you can set up an eclectic table with a menu highlighting the veggies you are growing. Or there is a particular tree that provides a beautiful backdrop for a lovely table setting. Wherever you are, there are probably many possible locations that you have not considered for a unique outdoor dining experience.

For example, at our ranch, there is a little spot near the creek in the woods that I absolutely love. It is romantic and cozy and you can hear the creek running in the background. It is not entirely practical for serving dinner, because it’s not super close to the kitchen, but I have been wanting to have a little dinner party in this spot for quite some time, so I brought out a 6′ folding table and six chairs and decided to make it happen!

IDEA # 2 – Set Up Easy Lighting Solutions

One potential problem with a remote location is a lack of lighting. I have been able to resolve this issue in several different ways through the years.

One simple solution, if you have electricity nearby, is to hang string lights near your table. I was able to add one string of outdoor lights in the trees near my table and that provided a good amount of ambient light for the area. If you don’t have trees nearby, some strategically placed stakes with string lights attached is a good alternative.

By far my all-time favorite outdoor lighting solution was introduced to me this year by Zafferano America. They produce the BEST cordless, rechargeable lighting solutions I have found for tabletop decorating.

The Poldina Pro lamps light up with just a simple touch on top and they last for 9+ hours. They come in 11 different colors and look great on any table! I have them in rust and white and find that those two colors work well with any table I set. I cannot recommend these little lamps highly enough as a great solution for a remote lighting dilemma.

IDEA # 3 – Bring Out The Pretty Linens

I know that using good linens on a table setting can feel like extra work, but I promise that going the extra mile will make a huge difference in the overall look of your table. I don’t have a ton of different table cloths, mostly because I generally keep my table base fairly neutral, but I do have several white and natural tone linen tablecloths that I use both in my dining room and in the woods.

When it comes to table settings, I think of the linens as the background palette for my place settings and flowers. For this table I wanted to make sure there was a big contrast between the dark surroundings and the table so I chose a very white cloth.

This beautiful cloth from Pom Pom Home is a recent purchase. I love the bright white and the drapey ruffles of this table cloth and know I will use it again and again! I also added a simple burlap runner down the center of the table to add some texture and contrast.

I also always use cloth napkins, especially in an unexpected location. There is something so lovely about the special touch of a beautiful linen napkin, while surrounded by nature, that makes me (and my guests) super happy.

These pretty napkins from Pom Pom Home have the most beautiful stitching detail along with a casual fringe that made them the perfect choice for this table setting.

IDEA #4 – Use Flowers/Greenery From Your Yard

I think it is important that any table setting look like it blends in with the environment and one of the best ways to achieve that is to create floral arrangements that incorporate flowers and greenery that grow naturally in your yard.

I have several peony bushes that grow in front of our farmhouse, so it was natural for me to use them on this table setting, but I also wanted to include some greenery and flowers that grow wild in the woods.

I went foraging in the woods and meadows with my mom and we found some beautiful wildflowers and greenery to add to my vintage bucket of peonies. This oversized arrangement creates such a pretty pop of color against the dark background of the woods that the impact was worth the effort!

Idea #5 – Add Simple and Pretty Place Settings

In the same way that I believe in using cloth table linens, I always prefer “real” plates, glasses and flatware to paper or plastic. I know this is not always realistic, but for the minimal extra effort it takes to bring a few plates and glasses outside, I think it’s worth it.

I recently went to Hobby Lobby (a store just opened in my town!) and got these great chargers and plates at a huge discount (they are in their Spring 2020 collection, but don’t seem to be available online). I absolutely love the pattern and color of the plates mixed with the galvanized metal chargers. They are the perfect combination of casual and whimsical that I was looking for on this table setting!

Topped with my new napkins and a pretty sprig of wild lupine, this table setting is exactly what I was hoping to achieve in this little spot in the woods!

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Now that you have seen my easy ideas for outdoor summer dining, be sure to scroll down and check out all of the inspiration being shared by my talented friends. These are all women I admire and follow and I know you will love what they are sharing today!

Thanks for stopping by!


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