If you read my article yesterday, you know I’m looking forward to summer dining on my back porch. It’s easy to clean up when you can just spray everything down with a hose. Also, since I have to write the check for the electric bill each month, I am glad to give the air conditioner a break instead of making it go to war with the oven.
You can probably skip this for your informal family dinner, but if you’re hosting a party you might want to add a splash of color. Also, the wooden picnic table at the park is a splinter minefield. Check out these sturdy, yet inexpensive tablecloths at Amazon that come in a variety of colors.
Tablecloth Clips and Weights
Remember when I mentioned the wind being an outdoor dining downside? You don’t want the wind to pick up that pretty tablecloth and carry it away. Luckily you have a few different options.
You can use these handy Tablecloth Clips that secure your tablecloth to the table. Or, you can use tablecloth weights. Here are some fun ones that play on the BBQ theme. If you prefer something pretty, you might like these Dragonfly Charms or these Star Charms.
Whether you are moving your family dinner to the back porch or to the local park, caddies make it easier to get all of your supplies to their destination. I use this Picnic Caddy to transport our paper plates, napkins, and utensils to and from our back porch table. And I love this Condiment Caddy for easily moving our ketchup, mustard, steak sauce and seasonings.
If you’re having a party, it’s nice to provide some stability for flimsy paper plates since guests will be moving around and probably standing and eating part of the time. I have these Paper Plate Holders. Since they’re not expensive and are reusable, you can stock up for parties.
Additionally, if you are having guests or just want to create ambiance, consider purchasing some solar Chinese lanterns for decoration or just string white lights around your porch or yard.
Now that you’ve made your table pretty and secure, you need to start worrying about the other outdoor dining downside–insects. First, let’s talk about the easiest ways to keep the bugs off of the food while you’re gathering everyone together.
My favorite solution is using tent-like food covers. They are decorative and keep the bugs off of your food. You obviously can’t eat your food with them on, but they will keep the flies from landing on your yummies while you are getting all of your supplies together or greeting your guests.
In my article “Natural Ways to Repel Insects” I covered a number of plants and scents you can use to keep bugs away. Those tips were intended to keep bugs from biting you or invading your garden. To protect a large area like your back porch or backyard, you will need to take some additional precautions. Here are some options:
Surround your dining area with Citronella Mosquito Plants. These naturally repel mosquitoes and have a pleasant scent.
You can also invest in tiki torches but I don’t like constantly refilling the citronella oil. Instead, I prefer these All-Natural Insect Repellent Incense Sticks that you can stick directly in the ground or in a potted plant.