MARTIN's WORKSHOP

Dining Al Fresco

BY MARTIN AMADO ON MARCH 1ST, 2017

There’s something special about entertaining outdoors.  We can appreciate nature and are able to admire its beauty to the fullest.  At night, the scenery becomes even more magical as the stars, moonlight and soft glow of candles create a romantic setting.  With winter behind us, we can now begin dining al fresco as we take advantage of beautiful flowers in bloom and the green scenery all around us.

I love the idea of creating a Tuscan-inspired setting in the backyard for this very reason.   And nothing evokes this feeling more than a pergola.  It’s a great project if you have the carpentry skills, but I also recommend the pergola kits you can readily find in home improvement stores. Quick assembly for instant enjoyment!  Gazebos are other kits you can consider that are made from wood or aluminum with a fabric shade and curtains.  These structures are not only beautiful to look at, but they help to define the area as if you were standing inside an actual room under the stars.

Consider planting growing vines such as bougainvillea, clematis, or wisteria in each of the corners to create living walls of greenery, while perfuming the air at the same time.  Another idea is to choose pots and containers with lots of color to brighten the space and group them in clusters for more impact around the corners. Container gardening is especially important to soften the look of hard surfaces such as a wood deck, paver or concrete flooring.

The finishing touches include placing a weather resistant dining set underneath the pergola, stringing globe or twinkle lights around the gazebo structure and hanging hurricane lanterns with candles from rope or hooks throughout the ceiling at different levels.  This adds to the rustic charm of the outdoor setting.  

Finally, when it comes time to set the table, use melamine dinnerware that is both durable and stylish.  They come in wide selection of colors and styles.   Happy spring! 

BEFORE

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AFTER

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