June is always a joyous month. The 21st marks the official first day of British summer, and even in years where the weather seems to have not realised that fact, June still fills the atmosphere with feelings of elation.
At Opun, we think that one of the highlights of this time of year, is weather permitting, being able to eat your meals in the garden. Whether it’s a candlelit dinner party as twilight gives way to evening, a hearty Sunday lunch with all the family around, or just a simple midweek supper trying to catch the rays after work.
Eating alfresco is one of those simple pleasures which we all relish. And while it can be as simple as taking a plate (and a glass of wine with any luck) outside. To get the absolute most of it, we think creating a dedicated dining space is a wise investment. Here’s our top tips to create your own perfect outdoor dining area.
Patio or decking
If you’re blessed with a particularly level, firm grounded, lawn you may be able to get away with putting your garden furniture straight onto the lawn. However, in addition to providing a level platform, installing some decking or a patio, serves to centre a dining area. It also allows you to use the area more rapidly after rain. If you’re umming and ahhing about whether to go for a patio or decking, check out our guide to picking what’s right for you here.
Heat things up
While we’d all like to think that by June the weather will be pleasantly warm 24/7. The reality with British weather is that the sun hiding behind some passing clouds can rapidly cause a chill. It’s therefore a good idea to invest in some kind of heat source, to keep guests who’ve stayed from lunch to dinner, who may not have come fully prepared with warmer clothing, nice and toasty.
There’s a few options to go for, infrared electric heaters the kinds of which you commonly find in pub gardens and restaurant terraces are a good choice, with many of the better models having different setting allowing you to tailor the heat output so no-one gets scorched.
Chimneas are another popular and inexpensive option, and can be easily bought from most garden and hardware outlets and even larger supermarkets at this time of the year. The advantage of these two types of garden heater is that they also keep away moths, midges and other annoying evening insects.
Keep it lit
June, July and August are the three months with the most daylight hours. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fit some garden lighting. Some illumination means that you enjoy your new outdoor space long into the wee hours of the morning, if you so desire, having those deep intimate talks over perhaps a little too much wine, if there’s such a thing.
There’s a near inexhaustible range of options when it comes to outdoor lighting, outdoor safe fairy lights can give a space a fairytale atmosphere. To guide your way back into the house at night go for some solar-powered garden lamps, for the actual table some candles and lanterns are the perfect thing to create an intimate atmosphere.
Think about your tables and chairs
Undoubtedly one of the most critical considerations for designing the space are the actual table and chairs you’ll be dining at. Garden furniture is available at a vast array of price points with simple plastic options being sold for next to nothing to the hardwood, wicker and rattan varieties that can be sold for considerable sums.
It’s therefore worth shopping around before making any purchase. Cushioned options are more luxurious and comfortable, however be sure to remember to take them inside at night and when it rains.
Finally, as this is the UK it may be prudent to consider some kind of shelter from the elements for your new garden space. Let’s not be pessimistic any kind of shelter could also serve to provide shade in the mazing midday sun, as well as to buy you time bringing the plates inside during an out-of-the-blue sudden downpour.
Table parasols are a simple and economical solution and some wooden varieties are extremely hardy. If you’re dining area is on a patio immediately outside your house an awning could be the best solution. If you’re looking for a more permanent type of garden shelter check out our guide to pergolas here.