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Patio Tables

Patio Tables

Five Ideas

When the temperatures rise, taking your dinner outside to your patio table is an ideal way to soak up some extra sunshine. From small bistro sets to tables large enough to fit a small army, it's easy to incorporate a table and chair set into your backyard. Whether you're throwing a large party and feeding all your friends or serving a simple family dinner, your patio table probably sees a lot of use each summer.

We know that creating menus and finding constant inspiration for an outdoor dining experience can be difficult, so we worked with a few of our favorite bloggers to help you out! From patio table décor inspiration to a full menu, we have five amazing dinners ready for you to try out.

Coastal Cuisine with Jen from Migonis Home

For the first time since we were married, we have a full summer with a backyard that is wonderfully private... and perfect for hosting a quintessential New England dinner party. In our last home, our backyard was visible to neighbors on all sides of us and here we are surrounded by trees so we decided to make the most out of our new space. We've set it up with a fantastic dining set, a bar car I found on the side of the road and topped with a leftover marble slab from our previous home's kitchen and a new conversation area set.

Photo: Jen Migonis

About once a week we try to welcome people into our home for dinner, and I've worked out an easy and affordable menu that I generally work from each week. I tweaked the recipe for this event by adding in clam chowder and lobster to make it a little more special.

Photo: Jen Migonis

Because I've had mixed success cooking my own lobster I had the store where I purchased it cook it for me, free of charge, and then I just drop the lobster into the corn's boiling water for about a minute to warm it up before dinner. It ensures a stress-free meal!

Photo: Jen Migonis

The easiest centerpiece for summer is right here: gorgeous and simple white flowers (I love the coastal vibe of hydrangeas), driftwood garland and something a little shiny like these hobnail votive holders. The centerpiece lasts all summer if you do a few changes of the flowers.

Potato Salad
Photo: Jen Migonis

My potato salad recipe is fairly fluid. I always add peas, celery and red onion to the potatoes (I prefer red bliss) and will add hard-boiled eggs if I have time. The secret seasoning is Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. It's so good... you don't need much, just a dusting over the whole salad after you dress it with a little mayo and sea salt. This can be made a day ahead!

Simple Summer Salad
Photo: Jen Migonis

My go to salad can be prepared in 5-7 minutes. Throw some baby spinach in a bowl, add some cut strawberries, avocado and goat cheese, and then toss with sun flower seeds. It's delicious and can even be made into a summer meal with grilled chicken on top of it! Poppy seed dressing is delicious with it.

Drink Bar
Photo: Jen Migonis
Drink Bar 2
Photo: Jen Migonis

I keep our drinks simple with water, lemonade (which I sometimes add mint we grow in our garden to) and wine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Photo: Jen Migonis

Our strawberry rhubarb pie was from a farm stand in Essex, a neighboring town. Their pies are so good... and what made me like it more was that it's self service. I had to put my money in a kid's plastic cash register to pay!

Outdoor Patio Set
Photo: Jen Migonis

We recently purchased this outdoor sitting area from Wayfair and it's been an amazing addition to our backyard. I've napped here, we've read stories to the kids, ate our breakfast out here and roasted s'mores at night. It's been so fun to have an outdoor sitting area in addition to our dining table.

My favorite part of this dinner is how easy it is. When dinners are this simple I find that I'm much more present with my guests and able to enjoy hosting.

Photo: Jen Migonis

Hope you can easily replicate a dinner party like this! More entertaining and home decorating and renovation ideas can be found at my blog Migonis Home.

Summer in Style with Jillian from I Am a Homemaker

Summertime is a great time for getting together and late nights around a fire pit enjoying the weather, family, and friends.

Paper plates may make clean up easy, and I don't suggest writing them off completely. But every once in a while, grab the silverware and some cute plates and fancy things up a bit.

Place Setting
Photo: Jillian Grennon

Simple twine and a clipping from a boxwood or other greenery from your yard, can step up your table setting.

Table Runner
Photo: Jillian Grennon

Start with a runner or tablecloth to give you something to ground your tablescape.

Flower Centerpiece
Photo: Jillian Grennon

An antique drawer with some ever useful mason jars, turns into a beautiful centerpiece when you add some flowers and greenery from your garden.

Photo: Jillian Grennon

Using a cake pedestal is a great way to give height to your table and add space. Vintage strawberry containers make a fun presentation for individual s'mores containers atop the pedestal.

Now that the outdoor table is set, all you need is a menu. Cooking outside allows you to continue to entertain your guests while you prepare the food.

Photo: Jillian Grennon

Every great menu starts with an appetizer. A grilled Vidalia onion and popped tomato salad is light and fresh. That's the perfect way to dine in the summer.

Fire Pit Pizza
Photo: Jillian Grennon

For the main course, you will have to don some heavy duty over mitts but it will be well worth it. This fire pit pizza is something worthy of a restaurant.

Photo: Jillian Grennon

Drink dispensers are so convenient for outdoor entertaining. You can make sun tea by filling the dispenser with tea bags, water and some lemon and letting it sit in the sun for at least 5 hours. You will have an amazingly refreshing drink by the time your guests arrive and the container will keep flies from doing the backstroke in your tea.

Don't let that fire go out just yet. Did you forget about dessert? Everyone can grab their s'mores fixings and start roasting marshmallows.

Smores Over Fire
Photo: Jillian Grennon

There are so many ways to kick those s'mores up a notch. Try using coconut marshmallows, or poke a hole in the center of the marshmallow and stuff it with chocolate chips.

Decorating for an outdoor soiree doesn't have to be boring, expensive or overwhelming. A few, well placed decorations, great food and a fire, will keep all your guests happy. They may even ask when the next get together will be, before they even leave your patio.

For more party inspiration, visit I Am a Homemaker.

Mexican Soiree with Michelle from Ten June

Photo: Michelle Rothmeier

Add a little flair to your summer cookout with pops of color and vibrant dishes! Incorporating bright and cheery chairs and interesting fabrics to your patio table can immediately change the mood of your party. Keep a few different tablecloths handy to ensure your tablescpae is always party-perfect.

Photo: Michelle Rothmeier

Since this is a Mexican Soiree, we're obviously going to have a taco bar! Our vegan taco bar features crunchy taco shells, black beans (or refried pinto beans, we love both!), chopped red onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced lime, cilantro, avocado slices, shredded lettuce, and whatever else you like on your tacos. Not vegan? No problem! Just add in your favorite meats and cheeses, like grilled chicken, grilled steak, shredded cheese, and queso cheese. Doing a taco bar means guests can decide exactly what (and how much of everything) winds up on their taco.

Photo: Michelle Rothmeier

On the side, I love this Mexican corn and cheese salad. It's super easy to make and tastes delicious. This could even be made the day before your party and pulled out of the fridge just before serving!

Photo: Michelle Rothmeier

You can keep beverages simple; for our taco nights we love a light beer and sparkling water with lime. Since our patio table gets filled with plates, we made a small bar area on one of our poufs using a wicker serving tray.

Photo: Michelle Rothmeier

For dessert, we had lime popsicles, but if you're looking for an adults-only treat, try homemade margarita popsicles!

For more from Michelle, visit Ten June!

Easy Outdoor Entertaining with Susan from This Makes That

Photo: Susan DuBois

Keeping your outdoor entertaining simple is a great way to keep yourself away from the hot grill and give you more time to mingle with your guests. Our patio table seats four, perfect for a small dinner party.

I love using bright colors and layering my table setting to add depth and interest to my patio table. Mix up your pieces! Not everything has to match perfectly.

Photo: Susan DuBois

For dinner, I like starting with a simple antipasto tray with a variety of meats, cheeses, and olives. This one features salami, prosciutto, brie, blue cheese, and smoked gouda with a sliced baguette, cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto, and a few wine options.

Photo: Susan DuBois

I like to keep the main course light during the summer; a simple pasta salad and some grilled chicken (topped with a balsamic glaze) are just right.

Photo: Susan DuBois

I placed our strawberry cannoli parfait in glasses so you can see all the layers, and served it all on a wicker serving tray topped with a bright dish towel for added depth. I love the layers on the table!

There you have it, an easy and fun dinner for the summer!

For more home decorating, cooking, and DIY projects, visit Susan at This Makes That.

Low-Key Farmhouse Dinner with Becky from The Logbook

Photo: Becky Dempster

Is there anything better than a farmhouse dinner? It's so cozy and a great way to get all your friends together on a warm summer night. We love using our patio table to serve our friends and family a fun meal. I like to keep the decorations simple, using fresh flowers, a table linen with an interesting pattern, and candles to set a low-key atmosphere.

Photo: Becky Dempster

I love keeping my meal simple and enjoyable for both the host and all who attend! It gives everyone much more time together, instead of keeping the host in the kitchen the whole evening. This easy bruschetta recipe is perfect for laid-back party since it can be whipped up in just 10 minutes. It looks beautiful presented on a simple wooden board.

Photo: Becky Dempster

The rest of the meal is equally simple. For the main course, I served a simple Caesar salad and baked ziti cups.

Simple Caesar Salad

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Shredded parmesan
  • Croutons
  • Your favorite Italian or Caesar dressing

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl. Coat lightly with dressing.

Baked Ziti Cups

  • 12 oz ziti, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 lb ground beef, cooked
  • 26 oz marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first three ingredients, and dish into individual ramekins. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Photo: Becky Dempster

For dessert, I like serving simple fruit cups in mason jars, keeping with our farmhouse theme. I simply cut our favorite fruits into spears and placed them into small mason jars for individual servings. These can easily be prepared the night before your dinner party, and kept in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve them on your patio table.

I also brought out a simple cheesecake that I picked up from our local bakery, but you can also grab one from the freezer section of your grocery store. In the mood for something a little more hands on? This 3-step cheesecake recipe is too easy.

Photo: Becky Dempster

I like to serve my dinner with a lovely sparkling lemonade. I use frozen lemonade concentrate, and prepare it according to the directions on the can to create 64 ounces of lemonade. I add 16 ounces of sparkling water to the lemonade, and top it with frozen berries. Then I just let it chill in the refrigerator until I'm ready to serve the meal. The key to keeping the meal low-stress is to prepare as much as possible well in advance!

Farmhouse Soiree 7
Photo: Becky Dempster
Farmhouse Soiree 13
Photo: Becky Dempster

For more décor and dining inspiration, visit Becky at The Logbook.