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Our Ultimate Guide For Outdoor Dining
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Our Ultimate Guide For Outdoor Dining

Spring is finally here, the weather is warming up and we're ready to enjoy a spot of al fresco dining! If, like us, you jump at the opportunity to dine outdoors, this guide is for you. We're here to help you make the most of your outside space; whether that's a patio, a lush green garden, an urban jungle or even a modest balcony, we think that no matter what you're working with, you shouldn't have to miss out on a spot of outdoor dining. There's a plethora of ways to get your outside space feeling cosy and looking good, all whilst choosing ethical and sustainable options...

 

Pick the Perfect Furniture

Having the perfect dining set up has to start with the tables and chairs. Think about the way in which you like to host and pick a timeless set that will work with your lifestyle. Need lots of seating? Opt for a sofa or bench style dining set. Looking for something compact? Choose stackable chairs or a folding table. Garden furniture can be expensive, but buying a set that will stand the test of time is worth the investment. 

It's important to know what to look out for, what materials are sustainable and how to know if a set is built to last. It is generally best to avoid plastic and metal garden furniture as plastic is bad for the environment and metal can rust easily, meaning you will have to replace your furniture more frequently. Wood is generally considered to be the best, most sustainable option for garden furniture. Look for the FSC logo to ensure that the wood is responsibly sourced and try to shop locally-made. Oak garden furniture is generally a good choice, just be sure to check it's source as oak imports from Poland, Russia and Ukraine can be linked with the destruction of ancient forests and illegal logging. 

But before you commit to any big purchases, be sure to take a look on websites such as PrelovedFreecycle and Gumtree to see if anyone nearby is selling (or even giving away) what you’re looking for. This is the most sustainable way of furnishing your garden and is also a great way to get your hands on good quality, long-lasting items that you might not be able to afford otherwise. 

Looking after your garden furniture is also an integral part to choosing the right set. It’s important you choose garden furniture that can withstand the stresses of the UK weather (or the weather wherever you live). Some of the factors to consider are rain, moisture, sun, heat, wind, cleaning and care. Be mindful of these factors when you’re sourcing your new furniture. Remember, if you can’t look after your furniture properly then it won’t last as long as it could.

 

Add Sustainable Tablewares

Now that you have your garden furniture set up, it's time to add your tablewares. This is a great chance to add some colour and some personality to your outdoor dining set up. We recommend utilising what you already have such at cutlery, plates and glasses. In fact, hosting an outdoor dinner party doesn't have to involve a whole new set of homewares, you can just bring your existing tablewares outside to create a dining space that is comfortable and chic. 

For dressing your table, we recommend a cotton or linen tablecloth in a colour or print that you will love for years to come. A classic stripe, check or grid is an excellent choice that will always be in style. Our Tanzanian cotton tablecloths are woven on traditional wooden looms by talented artisans in Morogoro. Cotton tablecloths are a great option for absorbing spillages and protecting your furniture during meals. This makes them the perfect environmentally friendly alternative to disposable paper or plastic table cloths. 

If you want your outdoor dining experience to feel more luxe, setting the table with placemats is a great way to go. Not only does this add some formality to your dining set up, it is also a great way to introduce colour and texture. Placemats come in a wide range of materials and designs, allowing you to really curate a look that is unique to you. We love woven placemats for their durability and versatility. Ideal for using indoors or outdoors, you can mix and match different colours or choose a simple and sleek colour palette. 

Serve up your delicious meal in style with the right utensils. We think the right serving utensils will always make your food look and taste that little bit better. Some of our essentials for your al fresco dinner parties include a good sized set of salad servers, a salt and pepper pot (with matching spoons, of course), a grazing dish for nibbles, a pickle fork and an olive spoon

 

Get Cosy With Textiles

If, like us, you live in the UK, you know that the weather isn't always perfect. But that doesn't have to stop you from dining outside! Picking the right blankets, throws and cushions is essential for keeping you cosy and comfortable. It is best to avoid synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic and nylon as these are made using plastics, causing damage to the environment and shedding microplastics into your garden.  Always choose natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool, or recycled fibres. You can bring any of your indoor blankets outside, meaning you can invest in high quality pieces rather than having to buy multiples of the same item.

100% cotton throws are the easiest to wash, making them an excellent option for outdoors. Our Tanzanian cotton throws are handmade from 100% cotton and natural dyes. Woven on traditional wooden looms by talented artisans in Morogoro, these throws can be machine washed on your coolest cycle (30 degrees and below). We have a large range of colours available, making it easy to find the perfect match for your personal style. 

We also have a large range of colourful cushion covers that are ideal for using indoors or out. Our large indigo cushion covers make the perfect floor cushions due to their bigger size and durable material. Handwoven with a traditional loom, these cushion covers are block printed using indigenous indigo dye. These are also machine washable, making them perfect for using in the garden. 

 

Serve up a Seasonal Feast

Now it's time for the main event - the food! Make your outdoor dining experience perfect by serving up fresh, seasonal food. Choosing to eat locally grown, seasonal produce is much kinder to the environment and will produce far tastier meals. Sticking to a plant-based menu is the most sustainable option and means everyone can enjoy the feast you've whipped up. If you're looking for some food inspiration, click here to read our interview with the wonderful Zoe Arevalo of Satio Food

Why not plant some fruits, vegetables or herbs in your garden so that you can serve up something homegrown? Many herbs can easily be grown on a windowsill and require little maintenance. You can also see if you already have something growing in your garden that you could forage, such as edible flowers, to garnish your homemade meal with. 

 

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