Wide Open Spaces

The joys of entertaining outside

 

If there is a better setting than the outdoors for gathering around a table, I’ve yet to find it. Especially in this time, entertaining in small groups in the open air is especially apropos.

An intimate dinner, easy luncheon or even brunch are all great excuses to move a table to your backyard or courtyard or deck. Somewhere shady will be key this time of year, or consider an outdoor umbrella for a cooler affair.

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Place potted flowers or herbs down the center of the table for an easy centerpiece. Choose outdoor wares such as melamine plates or your everyday dishes, and then add a little special detail to dress it up. One of my go-to options is a small piece of fruit atop the napkin in the center of the plate; a couple of fresh cherries, a small kumquat, a cluster of key limes or, like here, miniature apricots.

Clipping a small branch to lay next to the fruit also adds a special touch. White plates and white napkins are the perfect palette for a sprig of English ivy placed beside the fruit of your choice. Try to keep the menu to something simple, as well, so you can enjoy your company and the fresh summer air.

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We all need a change of scenery. Nature provides the best backdrop for being together, and the great thing about it is it’s always waiting for you to join in.

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