When you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a garden paradise, an outdoor dining area is the icing on the cake. Whether it’s a simple breakfast bistro table with a couple of chairs, or a courtyard area designed purely for entertaining, take the next step towards indoor/outdoor living with a beautiful alfresco dining space.
1. Victorian veranda for outdoor dining
What Victorian covered veranda would be complete without an ornate, wrought iron breakfast table with matching chairs? Enjoy a relaxing start to your day, and admire your garden in the freshness of morning, breakfasting at an outdoor dining table. It also makes the perfect little perch where a gardener can pull up a seat for a lunch break, or enjoy a coffee and survey their hard work.
2. Alfresco dining in the Essex countryside
The owners of this Essex country hall wanted a garden in which their children could grow to appreciate the countryside around them. They have created a pergola covered outdoor dining area where they can can enjoy the surrounding garden. Vines creep across the pergola and shade the dining table, while rustic terracotta pots, filled with champagne roses, create a border from the rest of the garden.
3. An American style veranda in Sweden
When Katti Gröndstedt bought a smallholding down a winding rural road in Österlen, known as Sweden’s Provence, it was high on her list to create an area where she could sit and enjoy the countryside. What used to be a tractor shed has been half demolished to create an American style covered veranda, where in summer Katti dines alfresco with her friends and family, making the most of the wonderful setting.
If you’d like to grow your own produce for your outdoor dining area,
4. Outdoor dining in a vintage courtyard
A courtyard is often the perfect place for an outdoor dining area, sheltered from the weather, but open to bright sunny evenings and fresh weekend mornings. Sandwiched between a lovely stone cottage and a rustic summerhouse, this alfresco dining area is perfect for a meal on a balmy summer’s evening, or a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal on a dewy morning.
5. Cotswold stone retreat
The garden of this renovated Cotswold stone house was expertly designed by LSV Gardens and Associates with dry stone walling, and perfectly reflects the rustic charm of the house. The beautiful patina of the reclaimed wrought iron breakfast table and ornate chairs complements the honey coloured Cotswold stone. The sunken outdoor dining space, surrounded by raised beds, has a private, secluded and timeless feel.
6. Alfresco dining in an organic garden
There’s no better way for avid gardeners to admire their own work than from a raised vantage point. If you’ve got the space, and the budget, a raised dining area is the perfect place to eat outdoors and take in the surroundings. A sheltered garden structure will ensure that you can use the space all year round, and make dining in your own outdoor space feel more like a holiday.
7. Outdoor dining on the Suffolk coast
Perched at the top of this long, wild, cottage garden is a perfectly placed dining table and chairs. Surrounded on three sides by the garden and countryside, it is a beautiful place to watch the sun set, and enjoy a glass of wine after a meal. Set on the Sandlings peninsula, a stone’s throw from the sea, it is also a brilliant place for breakfast in the garden — a refreshing start to any day.
8. Lunch beneath the loggia
A covered space offers the perfect place to take lunch whatever the weather. This loggia was added to this 18th-century farmhouse, along with a garden room, in 2010. The partially enclosed space also features a fireplace for chilly evenings, and comfy sofas and hammocks to retire to after dinner.
9. Afternoon tea on the cottage patio
A patch of patio is the perfect place for an alfresco dining area. All you need is a table, a couple of benches and a sun-shading parasol, just like in the garden of this 1930s traditional style cottage. The dining area provides a quaint little evening retreat for owner Tina Atkins, where she and her family can enjoy outdoor living.
10. Dining in the grounds of a French château
The vast, long and stately gravel path of this French château, makes the perfect spot for informal dining outdoors at a simple and rustic wooden table and chairs. The garden is bordered by the cooling and calming waters of the Erdre river, making it a tranquil entertaining space. Not many people will have the experience of taking tea on the lawns of a grand estate, but at this house, there is more than enough room to spare.
11. Simple suppers in a country garden
Sometimes, when you’re looking to create a relaxing outside dining space, simplicity is the key. This metal bistro table puts an emphasis on the setting, a gravel corner that makes a perfect little space to enjoy a sunny day. This style of portable furniture means that as the sun moves across the garden, you can move with it – so the spot for a summer evening meal might not be the same as breakfast on a spring morning.
Looking to turn your garden into a quaint, English retreat?
12. Vintage style outdoor table setting
When you’ve spent the time creating a relaxed garden, you’ll want a relaxing space from where you can sit and enjoy it. This vintage metal dining set, accessorised with pretty floral cushions and tablecloth, is shaded by a beautiful, arching Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ tree. This outdoor dining area is surrounded by expansive lawns and densely planted borders, a lovely space to enjoy dinner on a summer’s evening, or lunch with friends.
13. Lunch at a lakeside summerhouse
If you’re lucky enough to have a lake, or any water feature in your garden, take the opportunity to watch the wildlife it attracts, by creating a wonderful outdoor dining area at the water’s edge. A wall of bi-fold doors in this summerhouse open out on to a covered veranda, where a rattan outdoor dining set presents a wonderfully secluded spot.
14. Dinner with dramatic views
When William James bought his house in the Dordogne region of France, he invested in the land opposite the house, too, where he has created a terraced garden. To make the most of the dramatic views over the French countryside, he included a private but spectacular alfresco dining area, surrounding which are David Austin roses that William planted himself, and among which he often has tea on a summer afternoon.
15. Traditional outdoor dining
Room for more than one outdoor dining space? If you’ve got a garden with a few areas, each of which can be enjoyed individually, you might want to have a choice of seating when you’re eating outside. This converted village bakery has a lovely breakfast area next to the pond, where pet ducks paddle. There is also a dining area on the gravel path close to the house and kitchen, where dinner or lunch can be served in spring and summer.