Alfresco Entertaining

By Kate Riley May 11, 2011

G’day friends!  I’m so happy to be back home in Cali, catching up with my family.   Today I welcome contributing writer Michelle from Ten June to share her insights on making the most of your outdoor spaces with ideas for stylish entertaining.  ‘Tis the season! 

This article is like a breath of fresh air for me, filled with images of beautiful spaces that are sure to inspire you for your own summer soiree, so take it away, Michelle! 

“It’s almost that time of year again. Time to bring out your grill tools, pull out your picnic baskets and grab the bug spray.  As our days grow longer and there’s more daylight to enjoy, the best place to spend your spring and summer is none other than the great outdoors.  One of my favorite aspects of spending time outdoors is hosting a great outdoor party.


Lonny Mag

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Better Homes & Gardens, 100 Ideas

The key ingredient in outdoor entertaining is fun.  Whether laid-back or slightly formal, there should be nothing stuffy about an outdoor party!





House Beautiful

Whether you have the luxury of living in the country with twenty acres at your disposal, in the city with a ten foot by ten foot balcony, or something in between, hosting a dinner party outdoors can be fun, easy and done with incredible style.


Design Sponge


Lonny Mag


House Beautiful


House Beautiful

celerie kemble lonny

Celerie Kemble, Lonny

When it comes to decorating when you are entertaining outdoors, it’s always best to keep your decor whimsical and easy.  Some of the key ingredients for decorating an outdoor space are color, comfort, and soft lighting. 

Don’t forget that you will likely have to work with the elements that Mother Nature has given you. Is it too windy?  Lose the tablecloth.  Lots of bugs? Flip colanders over to cover your food. Too warm? Create some shade.


Elle Decor


Real Simple


Apartment Therapy

When you’re setting your outdoor table, keep things simple.  Use bright, colorful foods or other natural elements to set the stage as your centerpieces.   Hanging globe lights, lanterns or stringing twinkle lights is always enchanting in summer.


Pottery Barn

the kitcn outdoor dining

The Kitchn

If you decide to use flowers, use inexpensive vessels to hold them, such as recycled mason jars or serving bowls. Don’t be concerned about serving guests in the traditional, sit down fashion.  Set up food and drink stations around the entertaining area so that guests feel comfortable mingling and enjoying your beautiful outdoor space. 

Also, it helps if you stock up a bar cart or beverage station with the essentials- drinks, napkins, silverware, etc. so you don’t find yourself running inside for each and every item needed.


Hip Hip Hoorayrustic bar design sponge

via Libby James



You Are My Fave


The Inspired Bride


Martha Stewart

Above all, remember to have fun. After all, it is a party! And what better a way to spend a beautiful day than by hosting your friends or family outdoors?”

Exactly!  Thank you Michelle for such great tips and gorgeous inspiration!  Be sure to pop over and say hello to Michelle at her blog Ten June

I’ll definitely be bringing out some outdoor place settings and also fluffing the outdoor cushions and pillows this weekend.  Speaking of outdoor inspiration, here’s a friendly reminder that the Home May’d link parties start next week beginning with Sarah, so get your spray paint cans ready!



We hope you’ll join us for the par-tays! 




  1. Hi Sarah. It’s nice that you’re in California now.

    Summer is fast approaching, that’s why I was inspired by the outdoor-themed table setups posted here. I have a nice and big backyard and I was planning to put one of my recently-bought tables there this summer.

    I particularly like the one from Apartment Therapy. It looks intimate and comfy enough for our family.

  2. Thanks for the lovely images. It was perfect timing for me as I spent the day running around checking out possible patios. I just want pea gravel but got some push back about the practicality of having tables and chairs on it. We’re re-building after a fire and have repositioned the house. Plates of money have been spinning in the air for months and I don’t feel up to making another big ticket permanent decision. I wanted to show my husband some pictures tonight and here they are. Thank you.

  3. This is a really good post full of wonderful ispirational images!! Now I am ready to get ready for summer entertaining!!! Kathysue

  4. What a great “partay” ! Love Michelle and those images have me ready for some outdoor fun. The three barrel buffet is my fave!

  5. I move into my new house tomorrow, and these ideas are going to keep me up all night creating in my head!

  6. The outdoor entertaining set ups are so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Beautiful inspiration, Michelle! I am ready for some outdoor dining. I love the use of color and am drawn to the turquoise in the Real Simple photo. Thanks for sharing some wonderful ideas and tips.

  8. YES!! I love them all and can’t wait for the rainy season to end LOL! (I’m along the Washington coast). We are actually building a cover over our deck this year so that we can spend more time doing outdoor dining…can’t wait and these inspirational photos have really got me wanting to entertain right now :O)

  9. This post is so inspiring that I want to have an outdoor dinner party tonight! I have a fantasy about pulling my couch outside for a dinner party. And I’ll do it someday!

  10. I love dining and entertaining outdoors. All of the pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for the creative inspirations.

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