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Our Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Article written in partnership with Oasis Landscapes & Irrigation.

There’s nothing like dining in the great outdoors–or at the very least in this tumultuous year, the great backyard! Here are our top tips and tricks to make any dinner party both delicious and a candle-lit dream. 

Outdoor Tablescape | Photo:
Outdoor Example Tablescape | Photo:

Create an inviting tablescape

Make dining outside feel like a special experience and not just–well–eating out back with a creative tablescape. The foundations of a beautiful tablescape include a tablecloth, dishes and silverware, serving pieces, candles, a centerpiece, and any other decorative embellishments. A linen tablecloth is elegant and can be easy to throw in the wash afterward, or add in some burlap for a rustic touch. Fresh flowers make for a beautiful centerpiece and you could even pick them from your garden. 

Outdoor LIghting | Photo:
Outdoor Lighting | Photo:

Invest in dreamy lighting

There’s a magic to dining outdoors under twinkly string lights, so don’t forget about lighting as daylight turns into twilight.  Candles are a must for adding an extra dreamy element, and inexpensive hanging paper lanterns can also make a night outside feel even more magical. Although not super “dreamy,” having a few  Citronella candles is probably also a great idea in these Georgia summers. 


Add patio heaters, blankets, or a firepit for heat on chilly nights

Dining outside can mean unpredictable weather, so while portable propane patio heaters for guests might be a bit of an investment, it can be worth it to extend dining into the cooler months. Setting out a couple of extra blankets will also lead to a more cozy experience. Or for a more seamless design, a custom integrated firepit from the experts at Oasis Landscapes & Irrigation would be both functional and chic. 

Don’t forget about lawn maintenance

Making sure all the hedges are trimmed, the lawn is cut, the weeds are pulled and the flowers are watered will make your outdoor dining experience even more beautiful. And if you’re not a DIY kinda person, Oasis Landscapes and Irrigation can handle all that stuff for you so you can focus on the decor. 

Iberian Pig - Pork Cheek Tacos
Iberian Pig – Pork Cheek Tacos

Go for catering to make dining a breeze 

We’re a bit biased here at Atlanta Eats–and yes, you could slave away all day at the stove to get everything prepped for your outdoor party, but why not just order a meal to go from one of Atlanta’s many fabulous restaurants? Especially in 2020, when most of them have now introduced amazing family to-go packs. The Iberian Pig has a “Paella Party” that serves 4-6 and a game day party pack with crispy wings, pork cheek tacos, Iberico mac n cheese, and patatas bravas. Here’s a list of more great places with family style meals–just order them for pick-up, then plate and you’re all set! 

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