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Outdoor Dining Area Ideas for Your Fairfax County Backyard

What could be better than dining al fresco on a summer evening? Whether you’re sitting down for a family dinner, celebrating a holiday with a barbecue, or having an intimate date night with your partner, it’s always better in the great outdoors.

No matter what your style or who’s dining with you, your outdoor eating area should be an extension of home and your kitchen. Here are an assortment of ways to bring the indoors out, and turn outdoor dining into the event it was always meant to be.

Outdoor Dining Areas: The Logistics



Think about where you want to dine. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the backyard, on the front porch, or even on a corner of the deck. Anywhere that you have room can become a dining area. It’s just a matter of utilizing the space and resources that you have available to you. 

If you have limited square footage, you don’t want to just plunk down a few tables and chairs without first considering if they fit the shape and size of the space. Even if you have a lot of room to work with, you will still want to make sure that the setup feels thoughtful and proportional.

Things to consider when choosing a dining set:

  • How many diners will there be, both regular and occasional?
  • What is your aesthetic preference? This includes shape, size, and style. How formal do you want it to look, and should it be cohesive with the rest of the home?
  • Is it proportional to the size of your space?
  • Will it be your main sitting area as well as your dining area?

Wants vs. Needs



You don’t have to resign yourself to a space that doesn’t accommodate your needs. Make your space work for you. Formulate a design and choose décor that enhances your lifestyle. There’s no need to try and mold yourself to someone else’s idea of cool. You want to be sure you end up with a space you’re going to love.

First, consider what you need from an outdoor dining area. Maybe you need a table that seats three or four immediate family members, a barbecue, and perhaps something to give you a bit of shade.

Then, think about what you want. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming about a table that can accommodate up to a dozen diners, a fancy outdoor grill, and a pergola. What you need and what you want are not incompatible! It’s all about exploring a design that will allow you to incorporate both while staying within the limits of your budget.

Start With The Basics



First, pick out the table that you want. Keep in mind the abovementioned considerations. These will help you find a table that suits your space and style. You can get a dining set with chairs that match, but they may not be the style, size, or number that you’re after. 

If you have only a few people dining with you regularly but plan to have more on special occasions, consider getting benches. Benches make it easy to accommodate any number of guests without having to squeeze extra chairs around the table.

Add Some Accessories

Photo Courtesy of Grand Patio

Photo Courtesy of Grand Patio

Once you have the fundamentals, it’s time to dress your dining area for success.

For shade, a sun-sail, standing deck umbrella, or a hanging cantilever umbrella are affordable alternatives to a custom-built pergola or gazebo.

If you plan to dine outdoors regularly, you may want to invest in outdoor dishware. It can be quite challenging to clean broken glass off a patio, so it might be worthwhile to make the purchase. Melamine table settings are much more durable than glass and ceramic.

If a tablecloth isn’t quite your style, placemats are an easy swap. They keep utensils off the surface, but they’re also a quick and stylish way of setting the table.

To ward off bugs during the dog days of summer, try gauzy mosquito netting – it can be quite appealing! Citronella torches are another alternative.

And speaking of torches, don’t forget about lights and other decorative items. Strings of lights are a beautiful way to illuminate any outdoor space, and they come in tons of styles, from delicate fairy lights to industrial Edison bulbs, and yards of wire strung with tiny LEDs. Add a liberal sprinkling of candles and lanterns, and you’re ready to rock the summer!

No matter your taste and no matter your space, Foley Companies can help you create the perfect atmosphere for outdoor dining. Connect with us today, and let us show you how.

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