Dining al fresco. It’s one of summer’s greatest pleasures. And when you have an inviting back yard, you can get your fill of this excellent opportunity, for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner – alone, with family, or with friends. Aren’t you glad you switched to artificial grass? Your yard looks gorgeous and party-ready, and you haven’t broken a sweat prepping it.
What’s hot (so to speak) for outdoor summer dining this year?
1. Dining “rooms” are coming into their own
It turns out there is no rule that says you must place your dining table as close to the kitchen (or BBQ) as possible. Sure, it’s easier to set up and serve, but creating a separate space just for dining makes eating outside more special. It’s a getaway. An occasion.
2. The food may not “make the party,” but it can come close
Most of us are eating healthier these days, and when it comes to preparing meals for outdoor summer dining, easy-peasy is the word. You can have both, says Emily at Rainbow Delicious. One suggested menu? “Grilled caprese chicken, sweet potato and black bean tacos, pineapple chicken kebabs, black bean radish and jicama salad, and grape shallot chicken kebobs.”
BonAppetit has a few ideas, too – 80, to be exact. Whether you’re hosting a party or bringing a dish as a guest, surely there is something here that will tickle your palate and impress your friends.
3. Shade is cool now
Much as we love the sun, sometimes it’s just too much, especially when it’s beaming relentlessly down on food and diners. Covered spaces are trendy right now, whether you create a DIY “sail” or use umbrellas to shade tables, or you construct a permanent pergola or dining gazebo. Cover protects furniture, and it can transform your outdoor kitchen into a year-round culinary asset.
Another shady idea? Hang curtains to filter sun or add privacy. Make them a fun color to coordinate with nearby plantings. And speaking of plantings, strategically-planted drought tolerant trees can also provide shade at times of day when you need it most.
4. Accessories make dining an experience
The homier and more inviting your outdoor dining area, the more you’ll want to use it. What’s hot right now? Decorative strings of hanging lights, for sure, but central chandelier-style lighting is coming on strong. Fancy or rustic, a chandelier can give your dining set-up an entirely different ambiance.
5. Action-oriented play spaces
Your artificial grass lawn is ideal for all sorts of pre- and post-meal games and general frolicking. But age-appropriate play structures can do wonders to inspire your kids to put down their phone or video console and get outdoors. Structures are trending this summer. What else is also in style? A nice, grassy space for Fido, to keep him corralled while the humans are eating. (Faux grass is kid- and Fido-approved.)
6. Safety first
7. Faux grass eliminates post-party depression
No matter how many dinner guests you entertain or how energetic your party, your grass will come through with flying colors. Hose it off to remove any lingering crumbs or beverage spills, give it a light fluff with a broom, and you’re back in business. Ready for the next party – or a quiet sit-down, all by yourself. Perhaps in your Zen garden area.