SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and take a meal along with you! Outdoor dining can be white tablecloth and chandeliers fancy and formal or hot dogs and paper plates casual! Either one works great! It just has to work for you. I like somewhere in the middle. Since I’ve been seeing tons of amazing plasticware the last couple year or so I have been collecting plates and bowls and drinking glasses and fun accents for the table! Let’s talk about setting an easy and charming summer alfresco table!



SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

Take very opportunity to take your meals out of doors! There is something really special about communing with nature while eating! 

We have a large picnic table that we use when the family or company comes but I also have a little bistro table for Bobby and me on the side porch. Even a card table would be fine to dine on… as long as it is outside!

Don’t squander one good evening having dinner indoors! Get outside!


SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

I think many of us forgo an evening outside because setting a table seems like a lot of work. Keep summer dishes in a crate (I use a vintage 7 up crate without the wooden dividers ) ready to be grabbed up and taken outside!  

SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

I have been collection great plasticware, also known as melamine, for a few years so I have a nice diverse collection. I have white square plates, red star bowls, and heavy duty plastic drinking glasses and wine goblets I keep in my crate ready to go outside! It’s my everyday go-to outdoor set of dishes.

I also have a caddy for the red and white handled flatware as well as some red or navy blue bandannas. 

SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

Then when dinner’s over I stack everything back in my crate and take them inside to be washed. Once washed and dried I put my plasticware back into the crate and stash it in my pantry.

Don’t make setting a summer table complicated because you are not apt to eat outside. And make sure everything is coralled in easy to tote containers.


SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

Do not and I repeat DO NOT use a tablecloth for an every night meal when you venture outdoors! Save the tablecloth for a fancy meal. Use great placemats! 

I tend to like woven placemats outside. They add tons of texture to any table indoors and out! And I can squirt any food off with the hose and hang them to dry! Easy, just like summer should be!


SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

Flowers are always a pretty addition to a table. But again, let’s not get fussy. Easy to create centerpieces are the right answer for summer dining! And how about dotting your summer table with little centerpieces of garden-fresh blooms?

I use small white milk bottles or clear glass bottles and I fill them with what I find in my garden. I use both flowers and herbs. Then I scatter them across the table. Simple is best when it comes to al fresco dining!


SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

We tend to eat dinner a little later in the summer, here at StoneGable. So a candle or lantern is a must! Even if it’s not dusk when we sit down, it’s nice to have a candle lit so it gives off a welcoming glow as the evening wears on.

We are blessed to enjoy the best summer light show every evening from mid-June well into July when the lightening bugs come out to play. I have been enthralled by their glittering nightly performance for much of my life and it still brings cheers from me!


SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!

I know this may not be part of a tablescape, but keeping those pesky bugs off your dining area and you is so important when dining al fresco!

If you suffer from gnats and mosquitoes and other pests, the villains of outdoor dining, add citronella buckets around the table on the ground. Just make sure no one knocks them over and they are not put anywhere near where someone or something could catch fire! I really don’t like the smell of citronella while I am eating so they stay on our patio and not on our table.  

Another option is to use citronella oil in Tiki torches around your porch and patios. Again, it’s a flame so be careful to place them out of the way of anything flammable.

I know there are a few very good essential oil concoctions for keeping bugs away. I’ll be looking into them this summer! 

I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for setting a pretty and easy summer table outside!!!! I’d love to hear your great tips for setting an easy and oh, so pretty al fresco table!

You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see what I’m finding to pin every day HERE.

SETTING A SUMMER TABLE- let's get outside and have a fabulous meal. And here are a few tips for setting an al fresco table!



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  1. I love the idea. The table looks wonderful. I will have to start looking for the dishes.

  2. Good morning Yvonne,

    Thank you for your lovely blog! It is one I look forward to each day!

    Your lovely outdoor table reminded me of a few questions about outdoor furniture cushions. Most people I know seem to either collect their cushions after every use, to store away, or have large furniture covers that they spend the summer taking off and putting back on after every use. These methods both seem tedious and a nuisance. Do you use cushions on your outdoor furniture? Do you have a particular method for their care and maintenance?

    Thank you!

    1. WE use cushions that are meant for the patio. They drain water super quick so even if they get wet(which between the sprinklers and the occasional summer rain, that happens often!)they do not stay wet and they can be hosed off when they get dirty! I bought ours at Walmart!

  3. Anne Marie says:

    Such great ideas – thanks for the inspiration.

  4. What a lovely table. You have great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lisa Matarazzo says:

    Hi Yvonne – I would love to see your 7up crate in action. Also, can you share where you bought your lanterns? Thanks, Lisa

  6. Thanks for the inspiration! As we speak I am making a tabletop for my fire pit since we tend to sit there more than our table. Have a great summer.

  7. Very pretty! Love the red.

  8. Denise Moraris says:

    Love the look! I want to have a dinner party!

  9. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Can’t agree more about getting outdoors! What a view you enjoy.
    I like the use of the bandannas. Now, WHERE can I buy the star dishes?
    Thank you!

  10. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    PS Please share your 7up crate before, during and after the meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I could get into this tip.

  11. Lorri Rauscher says:

    What a great idea for storing dishes and silverware. . A crate…hitting my head ..why didnt I think of that? I use a tray but then it get so heavy and tipsy when Im bringing it outside. Love the placements…u have such a cool collection of placemats.Thanks again for the idea…another reason why I love your blogs.?

  12. Great pictures! Question for you…do you put your melamine dishes in the dishwasher or wash by hand? I’ve heard that you shouldn’t use the dishwasher for them so I wondered what you do?

  13. Your tablescapes are always so pretty!

  14. LOVE the red and white! I have always been drawn to it, especially outside on the deck.

  15. love the pops of red!

  16. Love dinning outdoors…so easy. Your table looks fabulous! Thanks for the mosquito tips. That can be a major problem in Louisiana!

  17. Tables are one of my favorite things from your blog. That’s what brought me here to begin with! Love the red and white!!!

  18. Our summers are so short, so we have to take every opportunity to eat outside. Your tablescape looks great and I love the pops of red.

  19. Love the red accents! So festive.

  20. Gail Young says:

    Wonderful post, Yvonne! Several great ideas to help us get outside and enjoy the evening meal! Your tablescapes are always so pretty, they inspire me!

  21. Love this post Yvonne! Everything looks gorgeous as usual. Nowadays they make beautiful plastic dinnerware but I shy away from it because I have not been able to find any that are dishwasher safe and I really don’t want to have to wash them by hand especially in the summer. Have you found any that can be put in the dishwasher? If so, please share!

    Enjoy your outdoor meals this summer!

  22. Beautiful outdoor table and great ideas for making everything easy. Thanks.

  23. Yvonne I love your post this morning. Your outdoor dining space looks so inviting,you definitely have the knack for making entertaining look so easy. Have a great day!

  24. A beautiful table, Yvonne! Here in Southern California we are blessed with being able to eat outdoors nearly 1/2 of the year. I set my tables with everything from beautiful melamine to antique Limoges, what ever the mood dictates. Often, I don’t even use placemats, just put dishes right on the table. Easy. And so wonderful to be out in the garden.

  25. Marilyn Wojton says:

    I like the idea of dining alfresco, but I don’t have a good space for it…enjoy your pictures. Speaking of which….maybe it’s my monitor or maybe my eyes!…..but your photos seem to have so much white that they aren’t showing up very clearly. I don’t want to cause a controversy, but I just wonder if it’s me or maybe the photographs. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time now, thank you for sharing your home/ideas.

    1. I noticed the same thing Marilyn . But then I discovered if I move the mouse away from the pictures and off to the right side the pictures will get brighter and look as if they are intended to. Try this and see if it works for you.

  26. Yvonne you make life so very easy and simple!! You are an inspiration! Thank you for the great ideas for summer dining!

  27. Beautiful, as always. Great tips & good ideas.
    I am looking for some of those chunky woven placemats; any tips or sources?

  28. Maggie Nelson says:

    I like the touch of red in the settings and I also like your background the fields of corn.

  29. Lovely alfresco table, Yvonne. We love dining on our patio and that is on schedule for tonight!

  30. I like your idea for woven placemats. Easy to wash off when they get messy is the best part. I’ll definitely use that idea.

  31. Love the bandanas and the placemats. Beautiful space.

  32. 7up crate… stacked in the pantry and ready to go is the perfect solution and a tip I will share with my daughters whom entertain under the stars often. Your tablescape is adorable love it! Bandannas are so much fun just made 2 table runners (red navy & white) as July Hostess gifts. Fun info. Thank You!

  33. Love the tablescape! The bugs keep me indoors sometimes. I’m scared to death of June bugs and Japanese Beetles! Citronella does’nt seem to help.

  34. Your outdoor table is lovely and so is your field of dreams in the background.

  35. I would eat outside more often if it weren’t for the wasps! I’m afraid of bees and wasps. If anyone knows how to keep bees and wasps away, PLEASE share!

    1. kedra sugg says:

      You will laugh at this – but somehow it works! Garden Supply (online ) has an item that supposedly looks like a wasp nest. They are brown or olive color and appear to be paper lanterns. We have used the same ones for several years hanging at the edge of our porch. We no longer have a wasp problem. At 2 for $9.99 it’s worth a try.

  36. Karen VanLoo says:

    That is the cutest and most inviting table setting. Just perfect for summer! I love it!

  37. Dorinda Selke says:

    Love your ideas Yvonne and I agree with your comment about keeping your summer outdoor plates etc handy so that they will be used. I actually switch out my summer plates for my white ceramic plates that I use the rest of the year. We eat outside any night that isn’t stormy. Just love it. Hugs, Dorinda

  38. Minnie mccoy says:

    You set a mighty fine table miss Yvonne! What time should we show up?

  39. Carol White says:

    I like the woven placement idea. They seem heavy enough not to blow of the table with a bit of wind. As another commenter asked, how do you care for your outdoor cushions? I’d also love to know.

    Your table is lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  40. Beautiful décor especially the red and white. Lovely serene setting with the cornfields in the background.

  41. Melamine has certainly come a long way!!! I have to pick up a piece to determine if it is china or plastic…Your red and white color scheme was certainly a hit!

  42. Starbucks Frappacino bottles from the grocery store make great small vases. They could be painted as well.

  43. Crystal Brazil says:

    Good tastes better outside!

  44. Rebecca Neustel says:

    Thanks for all the great tips. They take the fuss out of what should be fun!

  45. Keeping an eye out for blue bandannas.

  46. refreshing and inspiring as always! thx! where to purchase white lanterns?

  47. Marcy Leonard says:

    In love with those lanterns! Do you have the source for them?

  48. Shauna Neuenswander says:

    I just adore red, white and blue – thanks for the beautiful settings!

  49. Lanita Anderson says:

    Your tablescapes are always some of my favorite posts and this one doesn’t disappoint!! I love the red and white, especially using the bandannas for the napkins! Thanks for the great tips and ideas….can’t wait to use them myself!

  50. Like others I would love to see your 7Up crate in action. As usual your tips are fabulous.

  51. Julie Briones says:

    Love these ideas and tricks! I find LOTS of melamine at my local HomeGoods stores! You’re right, it’s amazing how “real” they look! 😉 Also, for placemats, I’ve got rolled cork on order to cut and make into mats. I think I may stencil something in black on them! 🙂

  52. mattsgramma says:

    Bandanas for napkins, what a great idea.

  53. Love the blue and the red out door wearer . My husband and I both love to eat outside but now with this Texas heat it’s almost more than we can stand. Love your style❤️

    1. Cherri, it’s hard to believe, but where we live it get’s scorching hot too and humid. So I understand!

  54. Jane Copple says:

    You always have the prettiest table settings. Thanks for sharing and I look forward others.

  55. Great ideas I can’t wait to try. I love the idea of having something to store them in since I wouldn’t use them everyday. I thought, “how did I not think of that?” ?

  56. Barbara B Loyd says:

    Liked your Al Fresco post as well as the plastic ware one. I must make an inventory of the cute items stashed in garage and house to get ready for guests this summer.