11 steps to al fresco dining success

Get your garden ready for stylish outdoor entertaining with this John Lewis barbecue set.

Get your garden ready for stylish outdoor entertaining with this John Lewis barbecue set. - Credit: PA Photo/John Lewis

If you want to be outside, without going ‘out out’, garden gathering is where it’s at.

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

But if your al fresco dining space is looking 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

Set of 4 Melamine Side Plates, Next. 

Set of 4 Melamine Side Plates, Next. - Credit: PA Photo/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.


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2. Cuisinart Entertaining Grill, £175, Cuisinart

Cuisinart Entertaining Grill, Cuisinart. 

Cuisinart Entertaining Grill, Cuisinart. - Credit: PA Photo/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.

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

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

Set of 6 Bee 11oz Wine Glasses, At Home in the Country. - Credit: PA Photo/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

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

Maze Rattan Winchester 6 Seat Bar Set with Ice Bucket, parasol and base sold separately, Cuckooland. - Credit: PA Photo/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

Starfish Shatterproof Chip n Dip Bowl, Next. 

Starfish Shatterproof Chip n Dip Bowl, Next. - Credit: PA Photo/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 and Partners 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Storage Trolley and 19-Piece Tool Set, John Lewis. 

John Lewis and Partners 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Storage Trolley and 19-Piece Tool Set, John Lewis. - Credit: PA Photo/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 and Partners Levantine Tableware Range, John Lewis. 

John Lewis and Partners Levantine Tableware Range, John Lewis. - Credit: PA Photo/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

Outdoor Solar Lanterns, available in selection of shapes and colours, Sparkle Lighting. 

Outdoor Solar Lanterns, available in selection of shapes and colours, Sparkle Lighting. - Credit: PA Photo/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

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

Cook King Bali Fire Bowl, Cuckooland. 

Cook King Bali Fire Bowl, Cuckooland. - Credit: PA Photo/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

Cottage Collection Green Meadow Flower Deckchair, Blue Meadow Flowers Cushion, Perkins & Morley. 

Cottage Collection Green Meadow Flower Deckchair, Blue Meadow Flowers Cushion, Perkins & Morley. - Credit: PA Photo/Perkins and 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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