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Garden Style and Al Fresco Dining

As the mercury rises and the prospect of normality resuming in the next few months looks more likely, there's never been a better time to think about your outdoor space. Join us and some industry experts as we share inspiration for how to make the most of outdoor space, how to make your alfresco dining sing, and how to host the best picnic in the park (when we're allowed to).

OUTDOOR LIVING INSPIRATION

Outdoor lifestyle products are a brilliant wedding present. Even if you don't have the outdoor space at the moment, if you choose well, these are presents you will love and use for a lifetime. Good quality outdoor furniture can be quite an investment, so why not consider making it a 'Group Gift', meaning your guests can individually contribute as little or as much as they like. 

We've been servicing wedding lists for over 25 years, and find that guests race to buy fire pits, BBQs, Pizza Ovens and Big Green Eggs from wedding lists. Not only are these seriously fun presents, but they are built to last and your guests know that you will get years of enjoyment out of them. 

For more inspiration head to our Outdoor Living board on Pinterest.

Bistro Set of Table & 4 Chairs, Rive Droite, Clay, Large
Garden Trading
£270.00
Seat Pad, Cotton, Charcoal, 40cm
Garden Trading
£18.00
Armchairs, Colwell, Pair
Garden Trading
£850.00
Cushion, Kalkan, Cornflower, 40 x 60cm
Weaver Green
£45.00
Corner Sofa Set, West Strand, Aluminium, Grey
Garden Trading
£1400.00
Mirror, Fulbrook, Powder Coated Steel, 120cmx80cm
Garden Trading
£150.00
Lantern Set, Chelsea, Medium/Small
Culinary Concepts
£219.95
Bathford Rectangular Planter, Large & Small, 40cm (Clay Fibre)
Garden Trading
£112.50
Big Green Egg Bundle, MiniMax
Big Green Egg
£760.00
Tapered Pot, Affiti, Antique Grey, Large 66 x 46cm
Nkuku
£140.00
Chiminea, Sarsden, Raw Metal, 160cm
Garden Trading
£230.00
Ooni Koda Bundle, Basic
Ooni
£363.97

Whether you have a balcony or a large garden there are lots of ways to maximise your space. Outdoor mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of more space. Arabella St John Parker, House & Garden Editor or Homes and Gardens, swears by using mirrors outside to create a focal point and reflect the favourite corners of your space. These Neptune mirrors are two of Arabella's favourites. 

“Outdoor space - whatever the size - has never been more important. In terms of cushions and seat pads, I love a thick stripe fabric and for furniture, while modern is nice I prefer a more classic rattan finish or black metal legs which gives a chic south of France feel.”

Laura Normanton (née Houldsworth), Executive Editor | House & Garden

PICNICWARE

For picnics, whilst it is good to be practical, that doesn't mean you have to compromise on style. If you would like all the gear in one basket, Willow Direct do great picnic baskets for 2, 4 and 6 people. Or if you would prefer to build your own basket or picnic bag - choose from a selection of melamine plates and bowlswooden boards and large platters. We also recommend adding a picnic blanket with a waterproof lining to your list - you won't regret it.

For more comfort - why not bring your own deckchairs, or floor cushions. We love to pack games to enjoy the sunshine after the food.

And don't forget the corkscrew!

Sandstorm Safari Cooler with Leather Trim, Green
Sandstorm
£195.00
Deckchair, Turquoise & White Stripes, 135 x 60cm
The Stripes Company
£110.00
Footstool, Nomad, Tarifa, 51 x 51 x 33cm
Weaver Green
£189.00
Garden Party Basket with Champagne Glasses
Willow Direct
£93.50
Foot Stool, Event, Dice
The Stripes Company
£48.00
Willow 4-person Picnic Hamper, Blue Tweed
Willow Direct
£159.50
Floor Cushion/Dog Bed, Juno, Gooseberry, 75 x 100cm
Weaver Green
£185.00
Dinner Plate, Shagreen Print, Jade, Set of 4
Oka
£40.00
Chunni Chopping Board, Medium, 50x16cm
Nkuku
£29.95
Wine Glasses, Broadwell, Recycled Glass, Set of 4
Garden Trading
£20.00

"I recommend using a comfortable blanket – I love using a Wicklewood hand-block printed quilt I have. It feels very cosy and perfect when it’s too hot for a wool throw. You can layer a tablecloth or some colourful placemats on top.

Trays are always really handy when it comes to picnics especially if the surfaces you are setting the meal on are not very stable.

Set the mood with candles – but again you need to be careful with the surfaces- the last thing you want is to cause a fire! I would opt for hurricanes to keep things stylish and safe. A nice bottle of wine, some tapas and a good Spotify list will do the rest!"

Gloria Gonzalez, Directorio Deco.

For more picnic inspiration browse our Online Showroom or head to our Pinterest board

AL FRESCO DINING

Eating al fresco is such a treat. We love making the most of it whenever the weather is good enough (and even sometimes when it's not. We're British afterall). When it comes to laying your table outside, don't think you need to play it safe! Have some fun with colour and prints that you might not put together on your indoor dining table. We love to start with a colourful tablecloth and some of our go-to brands are Penny Morrison, Wicklewood, SARAH K, Ashoka Designs and Sophie Conran. Then build up with placemats, bistro glasses, and coloured cutlery

Thinking practically, once you are outside you don't want to have to keep going inside. So trays are important for carrying lots in and out. As are ice bucketswine coolers and jugs.

We always like to put fresh flowers on the table, we love using lots of different shapes and sizes of bud vases, as you can just pop a couple of stems picked from the garden in each. So simple, yet it fills the table with colour. We love bud vases from The Vintage List, Nina Cambell and Garden Trading.

Tablecloth, Simla, Pink/Green, 215x400cm
Penny Morrison
£226.00
Placemat, Woven, Seagrass, Set Of 2
The White Company
£16.00
Dinner Plate, Rainbow, Jungle Green, 26cm
Alice Peto
£18.00
Tumbler, Gio, Line, 7.5cm, Set of 4
LSA
£18.00
Table Knife, Byblos, Buis, Bamboo Style
Capdeco
£22.50
Wine Goblet, Ferns, Set of 6
The Vintage List
£75.00
Ice Bucket, Champagne Hammering Leather Handled
Culinary Concepts
£84.95
Tumbler, Tiger Lily, 13.5cm
Bell Hutley
£35.00
Jug, Portmore, Glass, Clear and Green, 24.5cm
Garden Trading
£22.00
Serving Bowl, Beja, White with Blue Rim, 30cm
Costa Nova
£29.25
Tray, Fiskardo, Lemon, 35.5cm
Garden Trading
£26.00
Jug, Hobnail, Light Green, Large, 2000ml
KLIMCHI
£95.00

WHAT TO COOK

"For an Al Fresco lunch or dinner, I would suggest Charred Beef with Chimichurri and four different yummy salads:

- New Potatoes finished off on the BBQ with Garlic and Rosemary

- A lovely Green salad

- Green beans with Mustard Zesty dressing

- Halloumi, Courgette and Red Pepper with Pomegranate Molasses, Za'atar, Lemon and Mint!"

Clare, Co-Founder of Doggart & Squash