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How to Create an Outdoor Dining Area

Published December 2, 2011 | Updated August 11, 2015

During the summer months, the weather is just right for moving your dining from the indoors out. Creating a dining room in your backyard makes everything from family dinners to neighborhood parties more fun, but it takes a bit of planning. Follow these tips and you'll be able to create the perfect dining area in your own backyard.

Creating an Outdoor Dining Area:

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  • The Right Space

    You want your backyard dining area to be quiet, comfortable, and private. Find an area of your yard that is sheltered from street noise and screened from view. Dining spaces feel especially comfortable when they're located next to at least one wall, making decks and patios particularly popular. You'll also want to make sure the ground is level, so you won't have to deal with wobbly chairs or tilted tables.

  • Table and Chairs

    A table and a set of chairs form the basis of a good outdoor dining room, but there are several varieties available. If you have a large family or frequently have guests over, look for dining sets with a large table and four to six chairs. A bistro set is perfect for two, and a picnic table is a great choice for families with younger children. You may also want to consider adding some outdoor buffet tables if you're throwing a party.

  • Home Comforts

    A good way to make outdoor areas more comfortable and usable is to incorporate some elements from the indoors. For example, an outdoor rug is beautiful under your outdoor dining set and protects your patio or deck from food spills. You can add candles, vases, and other decorations to your backyard dining room as well to make it more attractive and comfortable. Just make sure that whatever decorations you use can withstand sun and rain.

  • Lighting and Shade

    Make your dining space comfortable day and night with lighting and shade. During the day, you want to keep the area cool and shaded, and patio umbrellas and sun shades can do just that. In the evening, a little bit of lighting will add to your dining experience. You can choose to wire in lights around your dining area or use candles to light your meals. If it gets chilly at night, you may also want to add an outdoor heater or portable fire pit to keep the area warm while you eat.

  • Cooking and Serving

    Grilling is always an easy and tasty option for outdoor eating, and a barbecue grill can be placed on the patio alongside your dining area. If you're cooking indoors, make sure your outdoor dining room is set up near a door leading to the kitchen for convenience. Using plastic dishes and flatware reduces the risk of something getting broken, and beverage dispensers keep bugs, leaves, and dirt from getting in the drinks. Learn more with our outdoor cooking guides.