Eating & Living al Fresco

Fresh air, peaceful sounds, a soft breeze and the smells of spring and summer make eating outdoors favourable, especially in climates where these months provide optimal temperatures to spend time outside. Here in the Niagara region, patio dining in the warmer months is offered at many popular restaurants, and home owners are now wanting to bring this experience to their own backyards. ‘Al fresco’ dining has become increasingly popular in contemporary landscaping, and simply a barbecue and patio set seem passé for those wanting to truly enjoy eating a meal outdoors. Give your patio a makeover, and invest in some upgrades to make your backyard a welcoming place to host and entertain guests, or simply just enjoy your meals with family or a peaceful morning coffee solo, al fresco.

Patio set and umbrella

outdoor sectionals It’s like being in a living room, but you’re outside! Outdoor sectionals are trendy patio furniture sets which include a> sofa and coffee table, and sometimes extra seats and an ottoman, to bring the ultimate lounging experience into the sun. Though it’s hard to serve a full traditional meal on a sectional, imagine eating on your laps while watching TV, but under the sun experiencing the magic of spring and summer.

beach house themed outdoor dining rooms Bring a little ocean flare to your outdoor dining space, by selecting a matching set of wicker furniture with colourful cushions. For the table, choose a stone or wood design to provide a natural look. Beach-inspired decor such as seashell wind chimes, and a vase filled with sand and glass beads bring your al-fresco dining space closer to the ocean, no matter if you live in the country or suburbia.

covered pergolas Begin the transformation of your patio into an inviting dining space with the addition of a pergola. These provide shade or cover to a walkway or outdoor eating area and can be made from iron or wood. The structures have a lattice or crossbeam covering which can be adorned with pretty floral displays, vines, or weather-resistant fabric to create curtains.

Patio bar and grill

stone pizza ovens Outdoor “Masonry Ovens” have in recent years become a trendy addition to home patios. Known as brick or stone ovens, they consist of a baking chamber made from fire-proof brick, stone, or clay. Traditionally, these were used in kitchens to perform any sort of baking, yet modern outdoor ovens are usually associated with artisan breads and pizzas. They’re both a conversation starter, and a unique activity to offer guests when you entertain outside in the summer. Instead of a traditional barbecue, why not host a ‘Make Your Own Pizza Patio Party’.

retractable awnings Similar to the idea of a covered pergola, a retractable awning provides the optimal way to transform an open sun-bathing spot to a covered dining spot. These are great for small patios, as you can choose whether or not you need shade when eating outside.

outdoor bars

When lounging in the sun or entertaining in the evenings, what a better way to keep drinks conveniently at hand than with a personal outdoor bar? Imagine hosting a sunset cocktail hour where you can play bartender, or allow your guests to help themselves to a mixed drink with your liquor, mixes, ice, and glasses all in one spot. Outdoor bars are an inexpensive upgrade to your patio and can be purchased with matching bar stools to enjoy beverages and snacks al fresco.

deluxe modern grills with built in cabinets Everyone enjoys a barbecue in the summer. Whether we serve traditional favourites like hot dogs and burgers, grilled veggies, or get fancy and try out cedar-planked salmon, these outdoor appliances are a necessity for enjoying meals al fresco. The latest grills, such as the Broil King Imperial XLS, include features like electronic ignition systems to start the grill by pushing a button, stainless steel dual-tube burners, to prevent flames from grease drips, and even built in lights and illuminated knobs, so you can cook outside at nighttime. In addition to an expansive grilling area, they include additional side burners, a rotisserie kit, and surfaces to keep food warming while you finish barbecuing. Don’t forget, there is also additional storage space inside the stainless steel cabinets.

built in outdoor kitchens These are not an easily affordable option, however, if you’re looking to really give your patio a makeover and not only serve, but prepare an entire meal outdoors, consider installing a built-in outdoor kitchen. You can purchase these at patio furniture stores, or shop online to find something which suits your landscaping. Outdoor kitchens such as the Caribbean BBQ Island Outdoor Kitchen 4-Burner Built-In Convertible Gas Grill by KoKoMo come with expansive countertop space, a mini fridge, and instead of a stove and oven, a luxury 4-burner grill.

You don’t need a full backyard makeover to upgrade your al fresco dining area this season. Choose simple and affordable upgrades as a starting point, and allow the inspiration of the outdoors and the tranquility of the summer bring your ideas to make your alfresco dining space come to life. TM

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