19 Things That Will Make Your Outdoor Space Feel More Like a Dining “Destination”

Eat al fresco in style.

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June 17, 2021

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Photo by: Eternity in an Instant/Getty

Eternity in an Instant/Getty

Dining al fresco in our own outdoor spaces feels especially like a blessing this year. With warmer weather finally upon us, and hopefully a greater sense of ease, enjoying a meal in open, fresh air should be celebrated, no matter how small.

Whether you have a patio, backyard or balcony, weve rounded up a few items that will make your outdoor space feel like a special destination you’ll want to dine at again and again.


While large heat lamps may feel reserved for restaurants, you’ll thank yourself later when you realize how much you love dining in your own backyard. Don’t underestimate how chilly some summer nights can be. Plus, this heater will help keep the fun going as the leaves change.

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We all know how brutal direct sunlight can be. Get a patio umbrella to make dining comfortable no matter the time of day. Solar-powered LED lights inside this umbrella make eating outdoors seamless from day to night.

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Expand the area of comfortable outdoor space with a shade sail. Putting up this canopy means you won’t have to be glued under your patio umbrella when it’s still bright out.

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Anxious about investing in a nice rug when it’s just going to get dirty outside? Us, too. But with a rug from Ruggable, you won’t have to worry about that. The company boasts a patented 2-piece rug system comprised of a Rug Cover and Rug Pad. The decorated top – the Rug Cover – is machine washable, so you can clean it as much as you need to.

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Lightweight and durable, reusable melamine dinnerware is ideal for outdoor dining. You won’t have to lug – or fear breaking – the nice ceramic plates, and you’ll still be able to dine in style. This set from West Elm is ultra-minimal, and blank enough of a canvas that you can dress up your tablescape in any number of ways. Choose from more neutral tones, or bright pops of color.

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Keep hungry guests happy with this six-section serving platter, adorned with bold Marrakesh-inspired patterns. Fill each of the small dishes with appetizers and dip, or remove them completely and use the large platter base as a single serving tray.

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Get a set of glassware that’s kid-proof but chic enough for cocktails. These timeless, fluted glasses come in four colors – Clear, Pink Grapefruit, Light Gray and Silver Pine – to match whatever vibe you’re feeling.

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Keep the heavy, marble wine chiller inside. Like the water bottles S’well is known for, this chiller features the same steel, insulated layers that keep this product lightweight but effective at keeping that bottle of rosé cold. Feel fancy with its gold marble design.

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Save trips back and forth from the patio to the kitchen with this three-gallon dispenser. The clear design makes it easy to dress this dispenser up or down – fill it with drinks as they are, or drop in a few slices of summertime fruit for some easy pizzazz. The built-in handle makes transport seamless.

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Pluck finger sandwiches and petit fours off this simple tiered stand. It makes for the perfect excuse to spend any afternoon sipping tea in the garden.

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Fit with handles, this woven sweetgrass tray will turn bringing out utensils, napkins, toppings and seasonings into one trip, instead of four. Serve cocktails or coffee on it, too.

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Get a cart you can feel good about taking outdoors, but then inside as the seasons change. This lightweight one from Target, with a bright yet minimal design, will bring joy anywhere it goes while offering extra serving space.

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The one major downside to eating outside? Bugs. Keep mosquitos away with this chic candle from Target. Get something wide and low to avoid the danger of tipping over something taller as you pass the salt.

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Light up your space with a modern tropical vibe with these rattan lanterns. Put them on the tabletop, bring them poolside or illuminate a walkway. Skip the hassle of lighting real candles, and opt for flameless pillars.

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When it comes to outdoor string lights, don’t bother with anything “prettier” but dainty. These commercial-grade string lights are the type often used by restaurants. The bulbs are made of shatter-resistant plastic and can withstand wet weather.

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Nothing screams summer like a bonfire. But it takes time (and skill) to get a log fire going and you can’t just have one anywhere. However, thanks to Solo Stove’s Insta-famous smokeless, portable fire pit, you kind of can. The smart, sleek design makes it easier to focus on making memories and roasting marshmallows. It comes with a hefty price tag, but reviewers say it’s well worth it.

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Between dinner and dessert, don’t forget to have some extra fun. Found at outdoor beer gardens, and anywhere that offers drinks and a little something more, a giant set of Jenga can instantly make a space feel ten times more fun.

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Is any outdoor gathering complete without cornhole? Order these boards, straight from the American Cornhole Association, outfitted in rainbow retro stripes.

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Make practicing good hygiene easy with a bottle of hand sanitizer around. If you’re tired of seeing those large, unsightly jugs, opt for these cute but simple bottles from Lather.

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