Did you know that today is the well-known and incredibly popular “Eat Outside Day?” Although we don’t typically celebrate this important day, we thought we would this year by sharing our tips for the perfect outdoor dining set for your space.

Here are just three things to keep in mind:

Material Choice

al-fresco-is-the-besto-outdoor-diningAs with any landscaping decision, the material makes all the difference. If you have an outdoor dining area in a sunny spot, consider wood furniture made of teak or cedar which won’t deteriorate as much as materials such as oak or wicker. Wood is also a great material choice because the furniture can be sanded and refinished or oiled to refresh the look.

If you’re thinking durability, metal might seem like a good choice (and it is in many cases) but if you’re in a sunny location, you risk grilling your skin rather than your chicken on hot late summer days. Save metal sets for shady areas or plan to use a big umbrella to keep the rays away. Metal such as wrought iron can also be a good choice because they can be sanded and repainted to look new again.

Tables with glass or plastic tops are a popular choices as well but they’re more susceptible to damage than wood or metal.

In our outdoor space, we chose a metal table with an umbrella not only to help keep it cool but also to provide some intimacy to our space.

Cushions and Accessories

The table and chairs set isn’t the only important thing when thinking about outdoor dining. To keep you and your guests comfortable (and to keep the party going well into the evening), consider adding cushions and pillows to your outdoor dining mix. We suggest opting for those that are resistant to mildew and fading. Many products are available now that have a high UV rating which will help keep colors bright. Cushions and pillows also give you the opportunity to freshen up your look with colors that you can vary by season (or your mood!).


With any outdoor dining set, consider storing it in a garage or shed during the winter months (even during Knoxville’s mild winters). Winter rains and freezing temperatures at night can wreak havoc on your furniture causing cracking in wood sets or bulging in metal or plastic ones. We hide away our dining set during the winter months and opt to keep out some lower-cost chairs so we can still enjoy being outside on those random nice days in January and February.

Storage for your dining isn’t the only consideration. It’s a great choice to include a storage container near your patio or deck so that you can hide away cushions and pillows on a rainy day. By doing so, you’ll extend the life of your purchases and keep them looking bright and cheerful for many seasons to come.

Need help choosing the right outdoor furniture for your landscaping. We not only offer full landscape design plans for patios and other dining areas, but we also offer hourly consultations to help you get just the right décor and look for your existing spaces. Fill out our online contact form or call Carex Design Group owner and designer Bob Graves at 865-765-5550.

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