Outdoor Dining Areas That Rock

Tara Dickinson
5 minute read

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How To Create Awesome Outdoor Entertaining Areas At Home


What makes for an outdoor dining area that completely ‘rocks’? That would be style, ingenuity, and the perfect setting with all the accoutrements. Moving from basic lawn chairs and a gas grill to over-the-top outdoor open air dining means taking things to another level. Here are some guidelines to make your alfresco outdoor kitchen the hottest venue in the neighborhood (and without breaking the bank!).



Only have room on your apartment balcony? That's ok, we’ll make it work. Back porch, patio, deck, or large back yard- take note so you can also determine if you’d like to (or need to) set up a prep or kitchen area in addition to your cooking and eating sections.



Begin the outdoor dining odyssey by determining the space you have available. Is it small, medium, or large? To designate a specific area there are many options to get creative with:

  • Planters of all sizes can be placed strategically in designated areas.
  • Lighting placed at the right intervals, marking a path, strung up in trees, or specifically placing spotlights in high points directed towards a chosen area can demarcate a perfect local.
  • Pergolas are instant romantic and functional outdoor dining areas. Cover in climbing vines and flower bushes for an additional wow factor.
  • Large stones, pavers, and other outdoor tiles will allow you some creativity and flexibility to place a dining area in any location you choose.
  • Decking is the most permanent of options, also lasting the longest, and adding increased value to your home.


Grill- If a moderate sized space, you can set up a good sized propane grill, some counter space, and storage cabinets underneath. For the dining area that ‘rocks’, you’ll want to go all out with a multi-fuel, multi-function smoker grill, added a rotisserie accessory, and electric burners.


Plumbing- now you can have a sink for prep and cleanup; drinking and cooking water at the ready, and an instant water dispenser, for all your cooking needs right on the spot.

Appliances- small refrigerator, ice machine, cooler for drinks, mini oven and warming drawer. All-in-one units are perfect for this rock-star outdoor kitchen.


Countertop Bar & Bar Stools- great place to hang out with the cook, get served cocktails, and munch on grill fare.

Big Screen TV- the ultimate for vacation time relaxation and watching all the extreme summer sports. Include an outdoor TV cover to keep your investment safe from extreme weather conditions.


Don’t forget these additions to make your outdoor dining space stand apart from the rest.



Keep your entertaining going all-year round, even with the time change and shorter hours of daylight by installing a few lighting options outdoors. This can include path lights, mounted overhead lights, or standing lamps made for the outdoors.


All-Weather Coverage

Sunny climates and outdoor areas that are unshaded need protection from direct sunlight.  Shade sails are colorful, flexible, and affordable ways to protect your party from the heat. 

For tropical climates or others that see a lot of rainfall, consider erecting a solid roof over parts of the cooking and eating outside areas. These can be made from a myriad of optional materials; made to be retractable or permanent; covered in foliage and live growing greenery is another look that makes a statement in your outdoor high-end entertaining area.

For homes that are located in climates with prevailing winds, you’ll have the most enjoyment when placing your outdoor dining/cooking area in a position where a wall, the home, or another large feature will block most of the wind.

Cold climates call for heated pavers (prevents ice build-up), heat lamps, and a large fireplace to do the trick.

Furniture Necessities

The spaciousness of the outdoors allows you to socialize in comfort, taking advantage of fresh air and distancing requirements. Utilizing the outside space absolutely allows you to accommodate more guests than would a gathering indoors.


Patio furniture:

  • Couches
  • Chairs
  • Sofas
  • Side tables
  • Ottomans
  • Pillows
  • Main dining tables/tables
  • Outdoor rugs


In chilly weather, offer each guest a lap blanket; line sitting chairs with extra padding.

Covered candles, hurricane lanterns, antique style lanterns - any candles that are placed in protected or covered containers instantly bring a level of coziness, romance, and initiate ambiance to your dining area. Hosting a special event? Don’t use paper plates and throwaway utensils. Outdoor dining that rocks goes the extra mile with china, glassware, and real cutlery.

Optional Furniture

If you don’t necessarily have enough (or any) furniture to host all your guests at the outdoor dining area, it is 100% acceptable to use your regular dining tables and chairs temporarily. Or if you have saw-horses and long wood planks in the garage, set-up your instant dining table and cover it with festive cloth. Get creative and be bold in your decorations, using what you have on hand to avoid unnecessary expenses.


Resource Guide

Pinterest has designated entire categories of looks, styles, DIY projects, upcycling, ideas, and how-tos for the most outrageous home outdoor dining areas.

Affordable Outdoor Furniture In San Francisco




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