Everybody’s doing it. Whether drinking and dining on a terrace, patio, backyard or poolside, it’s the time of year to bask in sun and fresh air while we can. Eschewing the most casual barbecues and picnics, many choose to entertain with finesse. This doesn’t necessarily require fine china and linens but rather originality and taste manifested by attractive details. Some of what we found:
Tents - Not the enormous rentable event kind but something more modest yet appealingly distinctive
Left: A great looking Garden Party Gazebo for fashionable entertaining. Imagine the surprise and pleasure of select guests who find themselves dining here. Makes any meal gala. Heavy galvanized steel frame, weather resistant, scotch guarded fabric, screen sides for bug protection (gathered in the image). Sides adjust to 6’6” high for roomy comfort. 9’3” at peak. 10’ x 10’ interior. Includes foot pads. No tools required for assembly. On sale $257.99 ($10.00 shipping)
Right: Umbrella Mosquito Net-Yes, it was produced to be practical, but really, for not a lot of money one might have a canopy and create an illusion. You do need a 7’ or 9’ umbrella over which to drape this, but look what happens! Tight, woven polyester is fashioned with a plastic tube at the bottom that can be filled with water to keep it anchored in place. Zippered opening. 102” diameter x 84” high. For intimate meals. Just dress up the interior. $29.95
Two Do-It-Yourself Ideas for Clever Table Decor
Left- a rectangular tin container often used for plants and easily acquired at the likes of Home Depot (or use something fancier) can be decoratively utilized by filling it with rows of colorful vegetables. Just make sure the veggies are kept in the frig until just before your guests arrive or they’ll start to turn. A little lemon juice will help.
Right: Make your own napkin rings with a piece of good ribbon-double-faced satin or grosgrain works well-and a flower, or in this case, a tuber at its center. Your choices are innumerable, colors are easily coordinated. Tubers last without fading and provide a particularly natural appearance.
Lighting can add nuance to your evening. Among the torches and lanterns, I found:
Left: Paper Lanterns. A very pretty 11’ cord strung with 10 mini lights (12 V bulb) covered by 3.75” multi color paper shades comprising 6’ of illumination (with 5’ of lead cord). Lights are spaced 7.5” apart. Includes extra fuse and 2 replacement bulbs. Lights are smartly designed for end to end connection- you can connect up to 3 strands continuously. Shades are not weatherproof. Minimal assembly-shades come flat, just expand and attach to lights. Buy at least 3 and string among the trees or through your tent posts to make dining fairylike. $29.95
Right: Solar Lanterns- Black and White Rope-themed Round, Balinese inspired Brown Hive and Yellow Rhombus- Each 12”- Lanterns need NO ELECTRICAL CORD. The sun provides solar energy needed to recharge LEDs inside. As soon as the sun goes down the lanterns automatically light! Watch your guest’s faces as this occurs. Each is sold separately at $29.95 but observe how handsome they look together. Other colors available. Brown and Yellow.
Wonderful Tabletop Touches
Left: “Paper Boat” Tabletop Servers by Form Us With Love- Whimsical and handsome, these stoneware “bowls” and teak serving oars will create a theme around which any seasonal table will immediately perk up. Main server- 14.5” x 8.5” x 5.25” $58.00. Small Bowl – 11.75” x 6.25” x 2.5” $25.00
Right: Drop Bowl by Neils Romer - A splash of water (or paint) fixed in photographic freeze. Perfect for a season where water is paramount and ever present, these silicone bowls will make wonderful servers on your warm weather table. Subtle and artful they speak in stage whispers. 10.5” x 4”. 6” at base. Dishwasher safe. 5 different colors. $50.00@
More Do-It-Yourself Table Décor
Left: The same long, tin or steel metal container used above for vegetables and acquired at any Home Depot or the like can be filled with simple moss for an attractive au natural look. Put a little water in the bottom or dampen roots if there are any. Spray before guests arrive (away from the table, please) Let the moss extend over edges.
Right: This very pretty floral centerpiece is achieved by putting simple jars inside bright white paper bags and tying with string or ribbon. Who knew something so simple could be so stylish? Whites and pales look especially well though color is suggested for, say, a Mexican meal.
More Innovative Lighting
Left: Pineapple Hurricane Lamp sheds a soft glow and adds tropical flavor to any setting. You’re unlikely to encounter this singular piece anywhere else. Brass caging covers blown-glass orb. Finished with open, leaf pineapple cast-aluminum top. Gold highlights. All weather finish. Bottom detaches for easy candle replacement. Holds 3” x 6” candle sold separately. 8 ½” diameter x 17” high. $99.50
Right: Lighted Willow Branches – Create a magical wood with these branches in vases or pots around your dining area. Once lit, they add soft, delicate glow to any event. You will undoubtedly be asked where you found them…being a resource for all that’s a la mode. Set of branches as shown is 20” high and contains 60 Led lights. Battery operated. $25.00