Inspiration for your outdoor dining setting

As the summer starts to heat up and uncertainty remains around the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, more and more diners are keen to enjoy dining outside. Many restaurants, pubs and cafes have extended their outdoor seating this summer, with shrewd restaurant owners working to create unique and exciting backdrops for their patios, gardens and other outdoor areas.  

 If you’re stuck for ideas as to how to style your outdoor space to create a special ambiance for your outdoor diners to enjoy, look no further than this guide, which should provide you with some inspiration for outdoor decor and more to make your garden or patio the perfect space for al fresco dining.  Choosing the right outdoor furniture for your garden or patio is important, but we have also shared some fun ideas for decor that will help to create an amazing outdoor dining experience.



Here in the UK, one thing that cannot be denied about summer is that it is always going to be unpredictable.  Whichever country or city around the world your venue is based in, you may often experience the same issue!  Even the sunniest of evenings can be ruined by rain showers, and diners love to know that their outfit or up-do won’t be ruined by unexpected rainfall! Venues which can provide a rain covering or canopy above their outdoor seating are often favoured by diners, and can just give that all-so-important sense of security that a meal out is going to go perfectly, no matter what happens with the weather. Think about investing in some retractable awnings if you want to give your guests the benefit of being able to bask in the sunshine while it is still out! A gazebo or pergola can also offer some shade and rain cover, as well as keeping your space bright and airy.

wall with plants growing in it


To create privacy for your diners or to separate your outdoor area from neighbouring gardens or patios, consider a beautiful plant wall to act as a separator. You could instal some light fencing, perhaps with frosted glass to keep the space light whilst also maintaining privacy. Bamboo poles are also a popular option for keeping a light and airy feeling whilst defining the outer boundaries of an outdoor dining space.

ivy plant against a blurry background

Plants and floral displays

To create the ultimate experience of dining outdoors and amongst nature, fill your outdoor space with plants and flowers. Diners love photographing themselves amongst flowers and leaves, and extravagant floral displays can be a big draw for guests wanting to share their afternoon or evening out on social media. Plants can also create a wonderful feeling of atmosphere, and have the added bonus of naturally cleaning the air in your outdoor space, making it feel fresh and bright.  

Think about adding some colour to walls or trellises with climbing plants such as English ivy or beautiful floral clematis. For a tropical feel, a Chinese fountain palm or Chinese fan palm can give a holiday feel to your outdoor space. These small palm trees are hardy and can withstand the colder weather, making them perfect plants for outdoor spaces in the UK. Potted plants like succulents and ferns can provide a beautiful place setting for dining tables and can add to the natural feel of your al fresco experience.

close up photo of heater

Outdoor heaters

Even the warmest evening in the UK (and elsewhere) will usually become chilly as it draws to a close, and outdoor diners like to know that they will be able to experience their meal to its full without worrying about the cold weather.  Patio heaters or other kinds of outdoor heaters can give diners reassurance that they will be able to stay warm in your garden or patio.  Providing outdoor heaters for your diners can be a really amazing way of keeping outdoor dining viable for your restaurant from the spring and into the autumn. There are a variety of free standing or hanging heaters on the market, all of which can help to warm up your outdoor dining space.

light bulbs on a string


Lighting your outdoor space creatively can be one of the best possible ways of creating ambiance for your diners. Fill your space with lanterns or candles in outdoor candle holders to stop the breeze from blowing them out. Fairy lights can create a magical atmosphere, whilst there are also all kinds of fun and original lamps and lights on the market that can add to your space to make it unique. Draw on the style and mood of your dining space or menu to inform the type of lighting you choose to make sure that your outdoor lights really add to the full experience of the night.

pile of blankets and cushions

Blankets and cushions

Providing warm blankets in your outdoor space can really give your outdoor diners the feeling that they are being cared for if there is a chill in the air. As well as adding warmth and atmosphere to your seating area, many diners love to snuggle up in a blanket as the evening draws on, and many love the picnic-like, bohemian feel this can add to the al fresco experience.  

You can choose outdoor decor to complement your outdoor furniture, including heavy duty cushions that are easily cleaned and can withstand any bad weather. These can add a cosy feel to your outdoor space and can give al fresco diners a feeling of comfort and home-away-from-home. Cushions can also be a great way of adding colour to your space, and depending on the style can add sleek comfort or bohemian chic to your garden or patio.  

woman sitting at table with wine glass


For those wanting to go all out with their outdoor dining area and create an experience that will last into the winter, outdoor ‘pods’ and ‘igloos’ have become hugely popular. These allow groups of people to have their own private dining experience within an enclosed space whilst still technically being outdoors. Pods and igloos may not be appropriate for all dining venues and spaces, but can create a really individual and exciting dining experience that will bring customers back again and again.


We hope that we have provided you with some inspiration for sprucing up the decor of your outdoor dining area for the summer, and creating a really special experience for your customers that will lead them to come back to you time and time again. If you are looking for some new outdoor furniture for your outdoor dining area, take a look at the outdoor dining sets on our website for further ideas and inspiration!

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