A place to dine

Table set for meal with wooden chairs, decoration with Calendula officinalis and Borago officinalis - © Manuela Goehner/GAP Photos

Table set for meal with wooden chairs, decoration with Calendula officinalis and Borago officinalis – © Manuela Goehner/GAP Photos

Now that summer has reached its peak there is nothing better than catching up with friends and family over a relaxing meal in the garden – eating alfresco is one of life’s greatest pleasures, whether the food has been cooked on a barbecue, outdoor oven or has been prepared indoors and served at the table.

If you’re planning an outdoor dining area, give careful thought to its design; nobody likes to be engulfed by the fumes from the barbecue as they eat, so keep seating and cooking areas separate – it’s easy to do this in a large garden, but when you’re strapped for space, consider dividing the garden using different levels. As it can be uncomfortable eating in the glare of the sun, make use of the shade provided by nearby trees or put up a canopy, parasol or shade sail.

It’s best to choose furniture that suits the style and size of your garden. A rectangular table is ideal for most, but if you have a tiny patio, go for a bistro-style set. Dressing the table will add the perfect finishing touch. Here, calendula, borage and love-in-a-mist makes an effective display, while storm lanterns add a romantic mood when the sun goes down.