How to host the perfect outdoor dinner party in your new home

There’s so much more to eating outside than simply eating outside. There’s the menu, the table, the décor, the lighting, and the plants that are growing around you. Successful outdoor dining is all about comfort and ambience, and if you get it right it’s like having a whole extra room in your house.

Here’s our guide to entertaining friends at your new home this summer.

The Menu

Barbeques are an obvious choice for outdoor dinner parties, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to sausages and burgers. Steak is a great option if you only have a small number of guests coming over, and offers a gourmet restaurant feel. If you go for this menu option, then opt for tender cuts like ribeye or sirloin and be sure to season and oil both sides before you put it on the grill. Be sure to prepare some vegetarian BBQ options too; halloumi grills really nicely on the BBQ, and there is a great recipe for lemon and garlic glazed corn on the cob too. If you want to really impress your guests, you also could try barbequing some flatbreads. Make up the dough beforehand and roll it thin enough so that it cooks quickly (before it has time to burn!).

The Seating

There are a few options when it comes to garden seating and your choice can make a big difference to the tone and style of any outdoor gathering. Picnic benches are fun and informal. Plus, you can squeeze in extra guests and sit very closely to your favourite people. Then there’s built-in seating. When you are planning your new home garden ideas, you might choose a whole dining area – perhaps with spacious corner sofas under a pergola. You might also want to add some additional cosy seating options such as beanbags or stools for when dinner is finished.

The Table Décor

You can easily soften the look of an outdoor table with a table cloth, a runner, some place mats and some jars of wild flowers. This can all help to make a garden table into something fresh, welcoming and luxurious. There is something distinctly Mediterranean about eating outside, so go for warm colours like terracotta and pink to give your guests a holiday vibe. When it comes to serving dishes, we love big wooden sharing plates for a party, as it encourages everyone to get involved together.

The Lighting

Candles always look lovely on an outdoor dinner table. It’s best to have a few different types if you are using them for light rather than just ambience. Choose a candelabra (or two) with classic white candles, or to tie in with a rustic theme you could use some empty wine bottles as candle stick holders and see how many wax drippings you can cover them with over the course of the summer. Fairy lights are also a great asset when it comes to any dinner party, inside or out. Hang some around the table, around a tree or on top of a pergola to bring some sparkle to the evening.

The Music

Wireless speakers are great for playing music outside, and as they are portable enough to have next to your dining table. If you are collating your own playlist make sure it fits with the tone of the evening, or let your streaming service do the choosing for you. It’s best to start the evening off with some chilled atmospheric music, and then liven things up later in the evening if anyone fancies a dance! Just remember to be thoughtful when it comes to your neighbours – play your music at a sociable level and turn it down after 10pm!

For more advice and inspiration for your new Peter Ward Home, take a look at some of our other blog articles here.