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Turn your patio into the ultimate al fresco dining experience

With the summer now upon us the thoughts of many are turning to barbecues and al fresco dining, but of course outdoor dining does not have to rely upon having a barbecue, those are often best reserved for afternoons with the children and a few friends.

With the summer months come warmer evenings and with it the season of al fresco eating comes into its own. With this in mind we offer five tips that will turn your patio into a wonderful dining area, just a table, some chairs and you can make the most of the warmer summer evenings.

Lighting really does create a feeling of ambience and nothing provides it better that real flame, candles can work put they do have a habit of blowing out which is why we suggest faux candles that can withstand a breeze, lights that we used at Christmas can also add visual comfort and give a feeling of warmth.

If you are overlooked by neighbours, curtains will give added privacy and also they have the added advantage of shielding the wind and help keep the dining table warmer. Curtains will also act as a sunshade as the sun gets lower. Choose curtains made from outdoor fabric, they will withstand the weather.

Don’t spoil the outdoor eating experience by using paper cloth and plates, fine for the beach when we take a picnic, but not a classy outdoor dining area. Go for a linen tablecloth and all your fine dining ware, much more refined than the plastic knives and forks.

Make the outdoor experience feel like an outdoor setting by adding some greenery to your patio, vines are perfect and they are not confined to a Mediterranean climate either, you are outdoors after all.

Nothing relaxes more than the sound of running water; the stream bubbling along over rocks and pebbles is guaranteed to totally relax anyone. Fountains are now a garden feature that does not need a supply of water, the modern ones simply have a pump and the water in the collecting bowl just has to be kept topped up on a few occasions, a perfect addition to your al fresco dining experience.

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