11 ways to dial-up dining al fresco

Get your garden into the groove for outdoor entertaining in style, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

Sam Wylie-Harris
Thursday 22 April 2021 08:45 BST
John Lewis & Partners 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Storage Trolley & 19-Piece Tool Set
John Lewis & Partners 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Storage Trolley & 19-Piece Tool Set

Suffice to say, outdoor entertaining is very of the moment – especially if you want to be outside, without going ‘out out’ just yet. Garden gathering is where it’s at.

And with summer tablescaping coming into full swing, styling up our safe havens, where we can enjoy meals with friends and family in style, is a hot topic.

But if your al fresco dining space is looking a little lacklustre right now, and more takeaway terrace than posh patio, fear not! We’ve rounded up a few key items to help you up your garden grilling game and style up your suntrap in no time…

1. Set of 4 Melamine Side Plates, £12, Next


These monochrome melamine plates will show off skewers of colourful veggies and sizzling sensations to perfection, plus some decorative interest when the plates are laid bare.

2. Cuisinart Entertaining Grill, £175, Cuisinart


Tailor-made for all types of cooking, this teppanyaki style grill boasts a top temperature of 260-degrees-centigrade and will sear your steak to perfection. Along with dual zone temperature controls for fish and stir fries, it’s easy to clean and store in small spaces.

3. Set of 6 Bee 11oz Wine Glasses, £29.50, At Home in the Country

At Home in the Country

Great for water, wine or a spritz, stylish stemware made from polycarbonate is a must for outdoor drinkware that won’t let you down. Recyclable, super strong and we love the bee motif.

4. Maze Rattan Winchester 6 Seat Bar Set with Ice Bucket, £1349, parasol and base sold separately, Cuckooland


This tip-top poseur table will make you the envy of your friends. No need to book the best seat in town when it’s on your own doorstep. With a round glass bar table, built-in ice bucket and six high bar chairs (plus options to add extras, such as a parasol), you can chill out without even having to fetch the drinks.

5. Starfish Shatterproof Chip n Dip Bowl, £14, Next


An essential for crisps, dips, nuts and olives, this dip dish will keep everything just so.

6. John Lewis & Partners 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Storage Trolley & 19-Piece Tool Set, £583, John Lewis

John Lewis

Cookouts may be casual, but you still want function and form. With a warming rack, two side shelves (one converts into a side burner), shelving, built-in thermometer and 19-piece tool set, this 4-burner gas barbecue is one for the BBQ king or queen.

7. John Lewis & Partners Levantine Tableware Range, from £4-£15 each, John Lewis

John Lewis

If you’re missing a parade of geometric prints in your supper club, this ceramic tableware inspired by Middle Eastern designs is just the ticket for a three-course meal with all the trimmings. Along with bowls and plates, the range includes wooden bowls, platters and cotton napkins.

8. Outdoor Solar Lanterns, £36.95 each, available in selection of shapes and colours, Sparkle Lighting

Sparkle Lighting

Sometimes it’s all in the detail, and these Moroccan style solar lanterns channel a sense of escapism. They can be hung from a tree branch, pergola or placed on a table – and for some extra wow factor, more is more. Lightweight and water-resistant too.

9. Outdoor Garden Tablecloth, Welsh Meadow Cream – Optional Centre Hole for Parasol available in five sizes, from £49.99-£74.99, Celina Digby

Celina Digby

When it comes to mopping up those marinades and water droplets from the jug of Pimm’s, an attractive tablecloth with a wipe-clean finish is a godsend. Buy it oversized and it’ll hide any flaws or rusty metal surfaces too.

10. Cook King Bali Fire Bowl, from £115, Cuckooland


Even if you think you won’t mind a bit of chill in the air, this stylish outdoor firepit has you covered. Not only will it keep you warm until the last embers fade, it’s suitable for barbecuing with the addition of a tripod grill, sold separately. Job done.

11. Cottage Collection Green Meadow Flower Deckchair, £149.99, Cushions, from £24.99-£39.99 each, Perkins & Morley

Perkins & Morley

Easy does it… When you’re taking life in the slow lane, a decent deckchair and comfy cushion is a natural wind-down, especially one with an inviting wildflower print.

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