It's the first day of Spring here in Sydney; the windows and doors are open and you can smell that summer is on the way. I love this time of the year when you can start to think about living outdoors again and in particular dining outdoors. Food really does taste better outside and I can't wait to start entertaining again through the warmer months.
Part of the fun for me is getting the setting right, laying the table and enjoying a long afternoon ahead of relaxed eating and drinking. My first post this year about outdoor dining is how to create the perfect cottage garden dining setting – I hope you enjoy!
My 5 top tips for the perfect cottage garden setting
1) Pretty China – Lovers of country style always have collections of pretty china that has often been passed down through the family. Pieces that have history and are cherished possessions and these are perfect to create a country style table setting for outdoors. Pretty pieces that go with the garden and conjure up relaxed summer days work well rather than making a fashion statement with the latest outdoor trend. This type of setting can put visitors at their ease and evokes summer parties of days gone by. If you go to garage sales and markets you will often find beautiful pieces of china, serving plates and tea sets to create a cottage dining setting and the best part is that they don't have to match!
2) Beautiful table linen – A cottage garden setting is the place to use beautiful tablecloths and napery. These can be accented with comfortable seat and scatter cushions in a riot of pretty fabrics. If you are creative and like to sew you are only limited by your imagination. You will find that accent pieces that are fun work naturally in a more relaxed outdoor setting than an interior space that is used all year round. This is your chance to be creative and whimsical.
3) Fresh flowers – A setting in the garden amongst overflowing pots of herbs, greenery and trailing flowers really sets the scene but the finishing touch is a centrepiece of flowers for the table. Remember though that for a cottage garden setting you need to keep it simple though so that the look is pretty and relaxed. An old jam jar or a favourite colourful jug makes a great receptacle for some garden flowers.
4) Rustic charm – Remember the Art of Shabby when creating a cottage garden setting and keep things simple. Chairs can be hand painted with pretty seat cushions whilst stools and benches work well too for an informal approach. A table that has seen better days is perfect when covered with a pretty tablecloth.
5) Odds and ends – The beauty of this scheme is that nothing should match. Don’t make it too contrived but rather use pieces that you really love – fabric that you have wondered what to do with and china that usually sits in a display cupboard. Mix and match chairs, stools and tables for a relaxed informal approach. Your guests will really enjoy such a setting – we all love to be surrounded by beauty and things that are pretty and an outdoor setting is the place to get away with it!
I would love to hear your plans for your table settings and outdoor dining ideas. Do you love a laid-back cottage garden setting? Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest for lots of inspiration for outdoor dining.
Related: The Art of Shabby
Related: My Guide to Country Style
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