Summer dining must haves

Phantom Screens / July 15, 2016

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Is there anything more perfect on a summer evening than dining al fresco? There are things you can do to make the evening even better, so here’s a list of great ways to make the best of your patio party.

Think summer, think outside!

The first step for creating a wonderful dinner outside is to make the best of your outdoor space. Take note of where the sun shines the strongest and where it sets so you can plan your table placement accordingly. If you need to create a shaded area for guests who don’t like the direct sun, then it’s better to plan ahead than having to shuffle things around to make it work! If you’re planning on eating on the porch, deck or patio, then check that you have plenty of room for everyone.

Relaxed or formal? Both are good.

You don’t have to go all out like a Downton Abbey dinner party to make a great formal dinner, but you can use your best dinnerware to make it feel special. If you’re going for the formal look, it’s tough to beat a white linen table cloth and matching napkins to really set the tone. And to make it perfect, make sure everything matches and you lay each table setting the same. This way it’ll look spectacular.

If formal isn’t your thing, you can use brightly colored china or picnic plates, vibrant table settings and relaxed table centers to create a wonderful al fresco experience. You could even pick a theme, like French bistro or Tuscan summer, to really give your guests a dinner to remember!

When the sun goes down

This may seem obvious but make sure you have a plan in place for when the sun goes down. Think about lighting and warmth. Maybe if it’s going to get chilly you could provide blankets for everyone to wrap themselves in. They look great if you fold them neatly over the back of each chair before your guests arrive. Or if you’re planning on sitting around a fire pit after dinner, then make sure you’ve got enough fuel to last the evening.

Another option is to screen in your porch with our motorized retractable vinyl walls. The vinyl provides a climate-controlled room when in use, protecting you and your guests from insects and the evening chill.

And remember that as it gets dark, you can light your yard to really bring it alive. There are so many lighting options – from candles in mason jars to strings of lights in your trees – that you don’t have to just stick to plain old deck lighting. Get creative and really let your evening sparkle!

Music, music, music

Of course you don’t want to upset your neighbors by playing loud and disruptive music, but a soundtrack for your evening can really help set the tone. Plan ahead and build a suitable playlist that you can press play and not have to think about it during dinner. Choosing a theme for the list can help you pick songs or consider an online radio station, something like Pandora, Spotify or Songza.

Keep the bugs out!

Now you won’t be surprised to know that we recommend retractable screens as the best form of protection from bugs when the lights go down. You can use motorized screens on your home’s large openings and even screen in a porch or patio. And for French doors there are options too!

If screens are not an option, then there are a myriad of products out there to keep the bugs at bay. Just plan ahead and have options for your guests so no one has to be bothered by insects.