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Turn your garden into an outdoor dining room with carefully chosen accessories

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Francesca Brown
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For most city dwellers, the best moments of summer tend to take place after 7pm: that point in the day when the dusty commute gives way to a cool drink and shared plate on a warm evening. And, understandably, given our love of post-work alfresco eating, it’s influencing how we utilise every bit of outdoor space. From the smallest of balconies to shared courtyards, outside spaces are becoming extensions of our homes and – specifically – dining rooms.

“We’ve definitely seen a growing trend,” explains Frieda Gormley, co-founder of interiors brand House of Hackney. “There’s a new generation whose love of interiors has spilled into the garden, plus the sharing of inspirational outdoor entertaining images on Pinterest and Instagram has raised the bar and shown us what can be achieved with a little imagination.”

Isabelle Palmer, founder of small-space design service The Balcony Gardener, says that the key to creating an elegant outdoor dining space is to take inspiration from your own home: “Look at the colours you use or what your own style is – by following that you’ll nail the cohesion between indoors and outdoors. The other thing to remember is lighting. There’s nothing nicer than surrounding yourself with beautiful lamps as the sun goes down.”

And, of course, it’s always worth taking a lead from those Mediterranean folk who have been working the trend for centuries: “The French always do it so well,” explains Gormley. “A wooden table, some linen napkins, wild flowers and drinking glasses for wine.”

Bon appétit indeed. Scroll through the gallery below for our pick of the best outdoor accessories…

Main image: Applaro table with six chairs in brown, £365, Solvinden solar powered pendant lamps, from £10 each, and Sommar 2016 tablecloth, £12, all Ikea (ikea.com)

  • Bug bear

    Add a dollop of syrup to this glass holder then place away from the table to keep your space chicly wasp free (£8.99, chelseagardener.com).

  • Eat up

    Garnish with herbs plucked from this Edible Window Box featuring chives, mint, thyme and more (£69.95, thebalconygardener.com).

  • It’s a wrap

    As the sun goes down, stay cosy with this Coastal Strip cotton throw, also available in red and white (£49, johnlewis.com).

  • Service please

    Keep your presentation fuss-free with Zara’s useful rustic bread basket in blue, yellow or fuchsia (£9.99, zarahome.com).

  • Bright ideas

    With shades of red, pink and yellow, Habitat’s Bridget outdoor fairy lights are all the sunset you need (£35 for 60, habitat.co.uk).

  • Stay cosy

    The Helios Firebowl by Skagerak Denmark is both a portable fireplace and – with the added grill – a barbecue (£225, skandium.com).

  • Pimm’s o’clock

    Serve your guests water or something stronger in this beautiful Barber and Osgerby Olio Duck Egg Jug (£25, royaldoulton.co.uk).

  • Store away

    This outdoor side table by Eric Degenhardt for Richard Lampert comes with a hook to fold away and hang up (£198, twentytwentyone.com).

  • Hang time

    Make your outside space an oasis of green with plants at all levels; Urban Outfitters’ hanging pot is ideal (£40, urbanoutfitters.com).

  • And relax…

    Bring the luxe of inside out by using House Of Hackney’s Palmeral large cushion to accessorise (£148, houseofhackney.com).

  • Sit tight

    Rockett St George’s bistro chair in navy and ecru is all you need for lazy evenings under the stars (£99, rockettstgeorge.co.uk).

  • Winging it

    Dot a few of these LED night lights around the edges of your outdoor space for some gentle bird spotting (£7.95, shop.balticmill.com).

  • Flat out

    Made from recycled bottles, the waterproof Maui outdoor rug is the perfect way to expand that indoor feeling (£199, made.com).

  • Protection

    Keep your tea lights aflame with a scattering of Pomax’s Cordoue ribbed glass jars in navy, lime, coral and pale coral (£6, amara.com).

  • Mirror image

    At 75cm x 39cm, Lily Manor’s Louvre Mirror will add the impression of space and light to your outdoor area (£29.99, wayfair.co.uk).

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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Emerald Street; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown

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