Stylish outdoor dining area ideas for summer living

Stylish outdoor dining area ideas for summer living

Gardens
Stylish outdoor dining area ideas for summer living
Outdoor dining area ideas for every kind of garden, whether you have a patio in the city with a small dining table or a country garden with a pergola or porch
Pinterest
Whether you have a city garden with a small dining table or a country garden with a pergola or porch, there are few things as evocative of summer as eating outdoors. That’s never been more true than right now; over the last few years, we have come to appreciate our gardens as much an extension of our living space as a place to grow plants. 
There are many different approaches you can take to developing a practical but aesthetically pleasing outdoor dining area. Rita Konig advises taking a leaf out of the book of the Americans when designing an outdoor dining area, amongst other useful pieces of advice. Take a look at our garden furniture shopping guides for more garden ideas , including our guides to benches , chairs , tables and solar garden lights , or read on for suggestions for those al fresco dining areas.
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Annabel Bevan's glorious townhouse in Chelsea has a charming courtyard garden, perfect for outdoor dining. Annabel added mirrors to create a sense of space. The 18th-century patisserie table was bought at Violet Grey Antiques.
Michael Sinclair
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Outside the threshing barn at this house on the Wiltshire-Somerset border is the orchard, which was created after a swimming pool was filled in. It is planted with greengages, apples, plums and sour cherries. The table is made from the trunk of a tree that came down in a storm on the day that owners Keith Johnson and Glen Senk arrived at the house in 2018.
Paul Massey
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Lesley Cooke laid out the poolside terrace and planted the trees and hedge of this 18th-century rectory in Gloucestershire. There is a rill around the edge which is fed by a waterfall at the rear or the terrace. The table is from The Chelsea Gardener.
Paul Massey
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In the intimate garden at designer Mark Smith’s home on the Isle of Wight, garden furniture is mostly from the Vintage Garden Co.
Paul Massey
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The veranda of this holiday home in Cap Ferrat was designed by its architect Jonathan Tuckey as the main dining space of the house. “This was an ideal spot because it leads from the kitchen and has a wonderful view,” he says. The 4.3-metre-long table is set before a built-in bench and below reclaimed pendant lights from Retrouvius.
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In this London garden, designer Sean Walter of The Plant Specialist has installed a wisteria-clad pergola to create a private, shaded space.
Simon Brown
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Paul Lyon-Maris and Robin Muir have closely planted four Tilia henryana trees in their South Downs garden and have pleached them so that so they form a pretty, leafy canopy. Although the trees do not provide cover from rain, they do provide a shady spot for dining.
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In this glorious communal city garden designed by Cameron Landscapes & Gardens , the clever use of space, with a table and benches encircled by trees and flowers, has created a relaxed and natural atmosphere.
Paul Massey
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Fashion designer Katherine Hooker and her boyfriend, architect Dimitri Konstantidis’s shady terrace on the Greek island of Patmos is a little slice of heaven. Every morning the pair have breakfast at the table – made from reclaimed marble pavement that was rescued from Athens – before going for a swim at a nearby beach.
Alicia Taylor
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The back garden of this London home, reconfigured by interior designer Penny Morrison, is split into different levels, with a terrace for dining and a raised seating area. Several small rooms that made up the basement of the house were taken out to create this new outdoor space.
Paul Massey
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This stylish all-weather area created by Ebba Thott for her client’s London home uses matchboard planks, which flow up the wall to create a bench for the table, and a planting area for the living wall.
Andrew Montgomery
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Designer Bunny Guinness’s garden is a mix of formal areas and functional productive spaces. The courtyard garden is the most intimate part of the space – surrounded on three sides by buildings and a hedge with pillars on the other. Bright borders and a knee-high box hedge completes the interior courtyard.
Simon Brown
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A trestle table makes for a simple, rustic dining area in the threshing barn of this Herefordshire farmhouse . On the other side of the parterre is the farm’s old milking house.
James Merrell
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Tricia Guild’s Italian garden boasts not one but two outdoor dining spaces. This shaded area stands below a green canopy of six pollarded plane trees. The chairs are the ‘Surprising’ stacking steel chair from Fermob and the table features ‘Lario’ linen napkins (grass) from Designers Guild. There are is two long tables, ideal for languorous dining.
Michael Sinclair
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Since he was a child, Russell Pinch ’s family has been restoring a sleepy hamlet in western France. Now he and his wife Oona Bannon have transformed the last building, an old cowshed, into a holiday house filled with their elegant furniture, which includes a loggia where they enjoy meals in the cool shade.
Benjamin Edwards
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Designed by Charles Harman, the garden of Emma Sims-Hilditch’s London house features a Neptune dining table and custom bench. Cushions are in a mix of fabrics from Christopher Farr Cloth.
Elsa Young
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In Victoria von Westenholz’s Battersea cottage , the wall between the kitchen and garden is sliding glass, meaning it can be pushed right back to create an outdoor dining space indoors. A table from Farmhouse Table Co is teamed with antique Gordon Russell chairs from Westenholz. The bench cushions are in Beacon Hill’s ‘Lotus Stripe’ and Lisa Fine’s ‘Mughal Flower’.
Michael Sinclair
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The kitchen extension at this Oxfordshire country cottage has a traditional thatched roof above large sliding French windows framed with rough-hewn planks. The paved seating area is edged with ferns, nepeta and rosemary, and dotted with erigeron.
Jason Ingram
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An extension at Adam Sykes’ California-inspired house in south London is clad in Siberian larch. The kitchen in the extension leads out to a paved seating area in the garden, designed by Town & Country Gardens.
Paul Massey
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The terrace of a coastal Cornish house by Marion Lichtig is furnished with woven willow chairs from Gloster Furniture.
Rachel Whiting
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The young designer Octavia Dickinson’s Battersea flat captures the essence of an English cottage, no more so than in the narrow slice of garden that she’s decorated with potted trees and plants and a white iron bench, table (from Anne Fowler in Tetbury) and chairs (from Potting Up).
Alessio Mei
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The owner of this garden in Marrakech loves the simple generosity and glowing flowers of the Plumbago family. Here, Plumbago auriculata has been trained over an arch in the riad to frame a view of the beautifully painted niche, which makes the perfect hideout on hot afternoons. Intricately patterned tiling decorates the interior of the alcove seating area.
Extract taken from Gardens of Marrakesh by Angelica Gray, photographs by Alessio Mei, published by Frances Lincoln.
Marianne Majerus
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Designed by the architect Jamie Fobert for a Tom Stuart-Smith walled garden in Cheshire, this bronze pavilion adds a sculptural element. Various views of the garden are framed through the openings and the multi-angled ceiling refracts light.
Alex James
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Situated between Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains, this elegant house, with its airy rooms, is decorated in a combination of English country-house style and traditional Moroccan elements. The light-filled house ripples round a whitewashed courtyard containing a dining table, on another side is a traditionally tiled cloistered walkway from which bedrooms lead off, each with its own terrace and access to the garden beyond.
Lucas Allen
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This west London industrial mews house is owned by designer Caroline Riddell. In the evenings the Riddells have the cobbled mews all to themselves.
Paul Massey
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In this French hotel by interior designer Jocelyne Sibuet , dark green French windows open onto a balcony which doubles as an intimate alfresco dining area. The wrought iron outdoor furniture – also green – is in keeping with both internal and external environment. As a bonus, this balcony offers incredible views over the gardens.
Ngoc Minh Ngo
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The pool at the Playa Grande is flanked by two lattice-framed cabanas. In this one, locally-made tiles designed by decorator Celerie Kemble cover the floor. The metal garden furniture has been painted white and finished with pale blue cushions. Interesting and unusual wicker work in the shape of cacao hangs from the ceiling. The overall effect is pure vintage elegance.
Paul Massey
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In a hotel by interior designer Jocelyne Sibuet , the outdoor dining area has a pretty, rustic feel. Vintage, French-style wrought iron furniture sits on the back patio beneath a pendant light.
Sarah Hogan
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If you want to create a space for outdoor entertaining, a strategically placed pergola like this in the Sussex home of the late Helen Green is perfect for giving a feeling of enclosure, without obstructing the view. Train a climbing plant over it for blousy summer blooms.
Andreas Von Einsiedel
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After years spent looking for a European holiday home, the Lumb family fell in love with a neglected Fifties house on Ibiza where they set to transforming it into the elegantly cool house it is today. The garden room has a relaxed rustic look that is used for outdoor entertaining. Tolix chairs, with cushions in ‘Colonsay’ from Ralph Lauren, surround an outdoor dining table made by Jonathan Goode.
Paul Massey
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In the French country home of textiles dealer Susan Deliss, situated in rural Burgundy, this shaded spot in the garden is often used for lunches. The vintage metal table is from 88 Antiques on Golbourne Road, the garden chairs from Italy and the tableware from France.
Tim Beddow
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Pink blossom hangs down over the outdoor dining area of this French farmhouse retreat , while gold-coloured ornate candlesticks form the centrepiece of the table.
Simon Brown
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This spectacular loggia at Holker Hall in Cumbria was built in the Twenties to replace a Joseph Paxton-designed conservatory. Simple wooden furniture and lanterns decorate it, with a trompe-l'œil design painted in the Eighties by architectural historian and artist Alan Powers.
Marianne Majerus
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An awning tent is a good option if you want something less permanent, and can be ideal for a garden party. This one is in Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden in Hertfordshire, and Raj Tent Club can supply something similar, which can be easily dismantled and stored out of the way.

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