A Holiday Wish List for Outdoor Entertainers

Whether it’s a clever labor saving gadget, a beautiful lighting option or elegant and durable seating and serveware, there are an overwhelming array of new products available to outdoor entertainers.  The country is moving away from expansive interiors and into comfortable, effortless outdoor dining and living rooms, solariums and even gazebo guest cottages.  Finding a perfect gift for the outdoor host can be daunting if one doesn’t know the broad range of products out there.  This page will go through a few essential items everyone transitioning toward outdoor living will enjoy and utilise for years to come.

1. Seating:  Gone are the days of white plastic pool chairs or cold scrollwork iron table sets, modern versions of patio sets are comfortable, easy to clean and have become truly beautiful in both material and architecture.  Not only can you find full dining sets, but with the advent of the poolside lounge and outdoor living spaces, you can also find durable, gorgeous comfort collections including all the pieces you will find in an indoor space.  We have a favorite of each kind.

Unlike most patio sets that can only accommodate four people, the Harvest Dining Set seats up to six.   Both the glass topped table and synthetic wicker chairs are quick and easy to clean.  More durable than many older wicker sets, this set will last for years with little need for maintenance.  It’s rich color and supportive high backed chairs are what drew us to this set though.  Striking in any light, this set is never bleached by lengthy use in the sun and its design is formal enough for any occasion without being stuffy.

The Stoneham Lounge Collection features a full size coffee table, soft, luxuriant (and easily cleaned) sunbrella cushions and deep, wide seating.  Again constructed of durable, richly hued synthetic wicker,  the Stoneham set will be enjoyed in your outdoor lounge or living room for years to come.  The cushions are available in three different muted colors to make it easy to match your space’s natural surroundings.  Both of these furniture sets are available from The Patio Furniture Shopper .

2.  Serving Carts:  The excellent host makes entertaining look effortless.  The trend in building outdoor kitchens helps to cut down on trips back and forth from interior kitchens, but serving a party farther down the garden path or on the opposite end of a pool area can prove challenging.  Utilising a lightweight, attractive serving cart can help you keep your poise and grace while efficiently attending your guests.  We’ve fallen in love with Chef Depot’s butcher block tables for their beautiful finish, the extra storage and their ease of movement. 

If you enjoy hosting cocktail parties or wine and cheese tasting, the Damico Wine Center is perfect.  It easily stores 20 pieces of stemware with room for serving food or garnishes on top and a shelf for ice, mixers, wine bottles or spirits below.  The heavy duty stainless steel handle and large wheels make this cart easy to move around any terrain.

If you enjoy dinner parties ranging from backyard barbecues all the way to formal reception, the Elegante may be more your speed.  Two generous stainless steel shelves can hold an array of items, while the gorgeous drop leaf block can be extendend into a small buffet and features a small drawer for utensils, napkins or extra servingware.  Both of these beautiful outdoor serving carts can be found at John Boos & Co. Chef Depot .

3.  Servingware:  Many hosts choose to utilise indoor servingware and dining sets for outdoor living.  But a transition to outdoor entertaining should be fresh and different, its an opportunity to present another side of yourself and your home.  Unique servingware for your outdoor living spaces is not only memorable, it also lessens the work load for you as a host.   Rather than trucking servingware to your outdoor dining set and then bringing it all back inside to wash and put away, an outdoor set can be stored in outdoor cabinets and washed in outdoor sinks to be available where and when you need them at a moment’s notice.  Investing in a good set of servingware designed for the outdoors will also get you years of beautiful use without fear of breakage or damage that may occur with indoor china pieces. 

Outdoor servingware and dining sets come in a dizzying array of materials and styles, you are really only limited by your imagination.  Here are just a few of our favorites:

Brazillian Agate Plates from Viva Terra .  Not only are these plates stunningly beautiful and unique, they are easy to clean and maintain and their generous thickness makes them hard to damage.

The Recessed Platter from The Outdoor Decor Store .  This simple, modern platter is large enough to hold a main course such as turkey, fish or lamb.  Clean lines and shining stainless steel make it perfect for simplified outdoor living.  Easy to clean and maintain, enjoy undiminished elegance for years with this platter.

The Pedestal Serving Bowl is ideal for fresh fruits and vegetables.  Show off the trophies of your hard gardening labour in this stunning leaf and vine serving bowl.  The bowl and pedestal are seperable so you can choose the height and impact of this serving bowl centerpiece.   The pedestal serving bowl is available at The Shopper’s Link .

5. Lighting:  While the trends in solar powered garden lighting and the advantages of electric options are not lost on us, nothing will ever replace the warm, intimate flicker of candlelight for outdoor parties.  It invites your guests to move closer, to mingle longer and enjoy each others’ company.  So here are a few of our favourite candle lanterns, stanchions and oil lamps all available from Garden Torches Only.

The Apple Blossom Chandelier and its companion, the Calla Lily Chandelier are simple, elegant tableside lighting for gazebos and covered patios.  Simple enough for casual get togethers and romantic enough for formal affairs, these chandeliers are perfect for all seasons. 

Stylish modern curves in all black or silver, what’s not to love?  The Fluted Patio Torches look great alone, but standing in rows they are simply stunning.  These easily maintained oil lamps can make your garden’s pathway feel like the entrance to an island getaway. 

Lastly, the Strewn Petal Lantern is a unique, warm centerpiece for any table.  Casting beautiful flower shaped shadows, this lantern will bring movement as well as light to your space.

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