Entertaining > Dining Al Fresco

Dining Al Fresco

Outdoor Patio Set with Dining Chairs and Umbrella

Outdoor Dining || Entertain with grilling & mocktail recipes

Spring is in full swing, which makes it prime season for dining al fresco with friends and family. Set up your backyard retreat and get your grill ready for entertaining! Because the season can seem short, it’s key to make your patio or deck as comfortable and inviting as possible. Organize your space much as you would inside, with a designated seating area, complete with a table, chairs, and an indoor/outdoor area rug.

Start with the coziest seating you can find. Depending on the size of your space, you can include a sofa, loveseat, chairs, or even a sectional. If dining al fresco is number one, invest in a table that accommodates an umbrella, and chairs that include cushions. If frequent naps and reading time are on the agenda, a chaise, swivel chair or glider will feel especially welcoming.

Add small side tables for holding beverages, snacks, and a book. Or, if space allows, set up a bar with cozy bar stools. When choosing fabrics for seat cushions, toss pillows and umbrella canopies, decide if they will receive full or partial sun exposure. Generally, acrylic fabrics such as Sunbrella are the most durable, resist fading, and are easy to clean.

Patio chairs and side table

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A memorable backyard barbecue includes many elements. In addition to a fun mix of family and friends, and great food and beverages, certain extras will really stand out. For example, if it gets chilly, a fire pit can provide just the amount of warmth and ambiance to keep the party going. A fire pit that also functions as a dining table gives you the best of both worlds.

For the finishing touches, include a large tray to hold napkins, cups, and plates. Set up lawn games for both kids and adults to enjoy. If you’re making s’mores come nightfall, hang string lights or place citronella candles around to make the scene magical.

One of the ingredients that people remember most from a successful outdoor celebration is the food and drinks. Sometimes a simple grilled appetizer sets the pace. And, for guests who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, there are plenty of mocktails you can serve that are brimming with flavor.

Patio dining chairs and table with umbrella

Here are a couple of fruit-infused recipes to get your outdoor party started…

Berries drawing

Summer Berry Fizz
This refreshing and colorful mocktail will keep your guests happy through the summer and beyond.

Ingredients: (Makes 1 individual mocktail)

4 raspberries, plus extra for garnish

4 blackberries, plus extra for garnish

2 strawberries, plus extra for garnish

1 and 1/2 ounces of simple syrup

1 and 1/2 ounces of fresh lemon juice

1 and 1/2 ounces of chilled 7-Up (substitute ginger ale if you prefer)


Muddle the raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and simple syrup in your favorite cocktail shaker. Add ice and the lemon juice and shake well. Double strain the mixture into an ice-filled highball glass. Stir in the 7-Up and garnish with the extra berries.

Corn drawing

Grilled Corn with Chipotle-Lime Butter
A simple, buttery-delicious appetizer or side dish.

Ingredients: (Serves 8)

8 large ears of corn in husks

1/2 cup of softened butter

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of grated lime zest

1 teaspoon of minced fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

Coarse sea salt, optional


Place corn in a large stockpot with enough cold water to cover all pieces. Let these soak for 30 minutes then drain. Grill the corn, covered, over medium heat until tender, turning occasionally for 25-30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Carefully peel back the husks, discarding the silk. Spread butter mixture over corn and enjoy!

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