Outdoor Living 101

Temperatures are rising, days are getting longer, backyard grills are firing up.  Here are some tips to help you host an outdoor gathering for family and friends:

I.      Create the perfect setting:

  • Linens are part of a beautiful tablescape. We suggest the following:
  • Garnier Thiebaut acrylic coated damask tablecloths - this easy care textile features a stain and water resistant coating on the surface and a standard repellent on the reverse side. Available in cloths, runners and placemats.  Choose a coordinating fabric napkin - they are reusable and good for the environment. They are not expensive and a great way to dress up a table.
  • Paper products are available in many fun colors and patterns and can be a real time saver
  • Chilewich woven vinyl textiles are also a great choice - Luxurious, durable, stain resistant and easy to care for.  The textiles contain Microban anti-microbial protection, which works to inhibit the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew. Available in many weaves and colors... be creative... Layer different weaves and colors for a personalized look.

II.      Outdoor dining:

  • Can be just as gracious and comfortable as you would host indoors
  • Set table with sturdy melamine dinnerware and unbreakable acrylic glassware:
  • Melamine dinnerware is versatile, lightweight and looks like quality ceramic. It is sturdier than paper, not to mention reusable.
  • Acrylic drinkware can make dining in the great outdoors easier and more stylish.  The petroleum-based glassware is unbreakable and dishwasher safe.
  • The dinnerware and drinkware are available with many accessory pieces and sizes.
  • The best part... it is kid friendly!

III.      Impress your guests with a beautiful handmade centerpiece:

  • Whether the materials are from your backyard or the garden center... it is easy to incorporate natural elements into the center of alfresco dining:
  • Succulents are easy to care for and live on after the party.
  • Lush Hosta leaves in a vase with hydrangeas creates a dramatic effect.
  • Float flowers in bowls of water.
  • A bowl of herbs adds shape and texture, add colorful edible flowers; use both the herbs and flowers as garnishes for drinks
  • Look into your yard for ideas.

IV.      Every outdoor party needs a well stocked beverage station:

  • Stock the bar with sodas, spirits and liquors.
  • Separating the beverages from the food keeps the flow moving and lets the guests mix and mingle.
  • Beverage dispensers make it easy to serve a large number of guests.
  • Fill with lemonade, or a tangy sangria... a flavored water will keep everyone hydrated
  • A large tub or ceramic pot filled with iced beverages is a welcome addition to your outdoor get-together.
  • Don't be afraid to pick some fresh herbs from your garden to toss into your drink! Learn how at this year's Chalet Summer Swizzle on June 13th... click here for tickets and details. 
Chalet Summer Swizzle (June 13th)

V.      Keep the summer pests away:

  • Don't let them ruin your party.
  • Include decorative citronella-based candles to repel pests and add ambiance while your guests enjoy the outdoors. Providing an all-natural insect repellent will keep bugs at bay.
  • A unique way to control mosquitoes is by planting herbs such as lemon thyme, lemongrass, and lemon verbena - the leaves emit a smell that deters the mosquitoes but is pleasing to people.

VI.      Don't leave your guests in the dark:

  • Lighting is the key when dining alfresco.
  • Create a special atmosphere with lights... Be creative... mix it up...
  • Use candles of different sizes to illuminate your table.
  • LED candles can hang or light a path that needs brightening.
  • String lights between trees or along a fence for added ambiance.
  • Outdoor lighting is an easy and inexpensive way to add a soft glow to the dining area.
  • Lanterns can be placed on a table or in the landscape - unlike candles, they will not blow out.
  • Use battery candles with timers and solar lights that turn on automatically at dusk for alfresco dining under the stars.

Enjoy easy entertaining and decorating for such a fun time of year!