Dine outside in style: nine ways to dress the garden table

Best in class: Outdoor dining

This muslin cloth Matisse print, which comes in a range of shapes to suit round, rectangular and square set-ups, is designed by Lisa Corti.

This muslin cloth Matisse print, which comes in a range of shapes to suit round, rectangular and square set-ups, is designed by Lisa Corti.

 

1. COLOURFUL TABLECLOTHS

A colourful tablecloth can turn a tired old table into a work of art. Lisa Corti is an Italian homewares brand whose laidback lines are designed in Italy and manufactured by artisans in India. Pictured is a muslin cloth Matisse print, which comes in a range of shapes to suit round, rectangular and square set-ups. Prices start from €51 for a 110cm sq and you could mix and match two different colourways, as has been done here, to add further visual impact. A larger square, 180cm sq in width, will cost €118. The rectangular sizes start from 180cm by 270cm and cost from €158. If you’re invited to any summer weddings, these will make a lovely gift to give. lisacorti.com

2. DUST OFF YOUR CROCKERY

These Gibside Grasses serving bowls and matching jug can be bought online from the UK’s National Trust.
These Gibside Grasses serving bowls and matching jug can be bought online from the UK’s National Trust.

Break out the good crockery to help set the right tone. We all have gorgeous homewares that spend most of their time in dark cupboards so dust off any beautiful bowls and tableware that you have or have inherited to help dress the table. These Gibside Grasses serving bowls, about €22.50, and matching jug, 22cm high, about €28, inspired by the grasses and wildflowers that grow in the ancient hay meadows at Gibside Hall, Tyne and Wear, can be bought online from the UK’s National Trust. Nationaltrust.org.uk

3. ADD A LITTLE PERSONALITY

You can hire these gilded Chiavari chairs for €8.24 each, from Caterhire, and crisp linen tablecloths and napkins from Elegant Linens.
You can hire these gilded Chiavari chairs for €8.24 each, from Caterhire, and crisp linen tablecloths and napkins from Elegant Linens.

Keep things simple is the motto of Rosanna Orlandi, one of Milan’s leading design lights. Her eponymous gallery, housed in a former tie factory, showcases some of the most interesting ideas in design from household names to nascent talent. Her dinner during the annual furniture fair was effortlessly chic because she got help. You can hire the gilded Chiavari chairs, pictured, at a cost of €8.24 each, from Caterhire, and crisp linen tablecloths, from about €12 each, and matching, flat folded napkins, in panna cotta pink, €1.85 each, from Elegant Linens. Tea lights and loads of fresh flowers in mismatched vases add personality. So too do the marble-like paper place names. rossanaorlandi.com; caterhire.ie; elegantlinens.ie

4. HIGH-END OPTIONS

Tribu’s Tosca, an aria-worthy dining chair and cushion set, designed by Monica Armani, costs from €1,405 to order at Formality at the Cow Shed.
Tribu’s Tosca, an aria-worthy dining chair and cushion set, designed by Monica Armani, costs from €1,405 to order at Formality at the Cow Shed.

If you really want to make an alfresco meal memorable, seat guests in the deepest cushioned upholstered seats you can afford. A high-end option is Tribu’s Tosca, an aria-worthy dining chair and cushion set, designed by Monica Armani, with its frame and woven elements available in two colours; linen or wenge. It costs from €1,405 to order at Formality at the Cow Shed, There is also a matching club chair, from €3,645, and the 240cm long aluminium frame table, also pictured, comes with a cool ceramic top, €4,500. formalityonline.com

5. PRETTY PARASOLS

British brand Sunbeam Jackie makes some of the prettiest parasols on the market.
British brand Sunbeam Jackie makes some of the prettiest parasols on the market.

It’s cool in the shade. British brand Sunbeam Jackie, run by husband and wife Charlie and Katy Napier, makes some of the prettiest parasols on the market. The six-panel parasols are handmade in Cornwall using antique and vintage fabrics, everything from William Morris to Marimekko is used, making each design different. The finished article is then coated in a waterproof and UV-resistant silicone spray. Former model and actor Liv Tyler is a fan and the chic shades can also be seen on the terraces of local hip hotel The Pig as well as some Soho House establishments. Ready-made designs start from about €2,417. sunbeamjackie.com

6. PIZZAS IN A MINUTE

The Roccbox, a highly engineered and insulated pizza oven that can deliver thin, crispy based pizzas in 60 seconds.
The Roccbox, a highly engineered and insulated pizza oven that can deliver thin, crispy based pizzas in 60 seconds.

Serve food that cooks quickly and that everyone will love. Situated east of Bournemouth, Gozney manufactures commercial grade ovens, and it recently installed its Black Edition range at Rathmullen House in Co Donegal. It has taken the technology and shrunk it into Roccbox, a very highly engineered and insulated pizza oven that can deliver thin, crispy based pizzas in 60 seconds – far, far faster than any of the chains. It has an inbuilt thermometer and wears a silicone outer jacket, which comes in lime green or grey, is safe to touch, so unlike some metal-cased pizza ovens, you won’t burn your hands. You can choose a wood-burning or gas-fuelled device and its retractable legs and burners can be screwed on and off to make it even more portable. It costs €569, ex delivery. gozney.com

7. SET THE MOOD

The Madeira Blue dinnerware range, available to order from The Wedding Shop, Dublin, costs from €30.
The Madeira Blue dinnerware range, available to order from The Wedding Shop, Dublin, costs from €30.

Colourful crockery and tableware really help to set the mood. Add pieces you picked up at flea markets, while on holidays or that you might have inherited from your grandmother or aunt. Costa Nova is a Portuguese brand of tableware whose fashionable serveware and dinner services will inject your meal with colour and texture. This Madeira Blue dinnerware range, available to order from The Wedding Shop, Dublin, costs from €30. The setting includes Aroma water glasses, €100 for a set of six. weddingshop.ie; costanova.pt

8. COVETABLE TABLE LINENS

Add a little sunshine to your menu with some yellow lightweight linen napkins, €13 each, from Once Milano.
Add a little sunshine to your menu with some yellow lightweight linen napkins, €13 each, from Once Milano.

Even if the day is cloudy add a little sunshine to your menu with some yellow lightweight linen napkins, €13 each from Once Milano, a textile firm set up by two friends who met at law school in Strasbourg over two decades ago. The firm sells covetable bed and table linens, as well as kitchen and bathroom accessories and loungewear. Each piece is hand-cut, sewn and dyed to create a far more tactile experience in the hand. The matching runner costs €55 and the square tablecloth €240. oncemilano.com

9. LET YOUR GLASSWARE SHINE

Coloured glass is a really simple way to bring a table to life. Bring out any antique Victorian ruby glass you might have gathering dust in the back of cupboards. Give the Waterford or Tipperary Crystal a chance to shine or invest in some very modern shapes that feel really good in the hand. LSA International’s Hint range, for example, has stem glasses, about €31.50 for a set of two; tumblers, about €27 for a set of two, and carafes start from €36. The range is available in four colours – violet, turquoise, slate and lime green – and can be bought at Brown Thomas or online. lsa-international.com