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Summer Outdoor Dining - Considerations when designing your space

Sydney’s summers are made for outdoor entertaining and dining. An awareness of several factors can help when designing that perfect space. Our landscape designers have listed some for your consideration which will help you to plan your outdoor space and make it that much more inviting.

Outdoor Dining Tables

Tables come in a range of shapes, sizes, materials and styles to suite your personal space. From compact tables ideal for a balcony to large extendable dining tables that can accommodate the family gathering.

When selecting your furniture think about how many people you would like to seat; your material preference and any ongoing maintenance relating to it. Consider the style you prefer – be it contemporary or something more classic or traditional. If you have little ones in the family, could bench seating be a better option.

Lastly, something quite often overlooked is the space one needs to move within while everyone else is seated.


The harshness of the Australian sun means shade is essential for most outdoor dining areas, ensuring they’re comfortable and usable. In addition to providing relief from the heat during Sydney’s hot summer months, the right shade structure may also protect against the wind and rain or could provide privacy if needed. The aspect of the outdoor dining area will play a large part in deciding what is right for your space, as well as budget and the overall style of the design.

Umbrellas are a lower cost option which are moveable, whereas a pergola can add year-round shade and protection whilst creating an enclosed ‘outdoor living room’ feel. Natural shade from strategically positioned trees and shrubs can also add an element of privacy.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular and for those who have the square meterage, this can be a wonderful way to bring the indoors, outdoors.

Outdoor kitchens can take the form of a large space complete with cooking facilities, sink and fridge, or be a simple built-in barbecue and bench space. Factors to consider here could be the location of your outdoor dining area in relation to your household kitchen, space and of course budget.

Ground Surfaces

The ground surface should be level and smooth to accommodate your outdoor dining furniture. To achieve this, you and your landscape designer will need to select ground surfaces which will be appropriate to the space and reflect the style of your garden.

Materials such as timber decking, pavers, pebbles, decomposed granite and poured concrete are all popular choices and each hold their own unique properties. Materials such as diamond sawn sandstone and bluestone pavers provide a more contemporary and refined finish, while decomposed granite or pebbles give a relaxed feel to a space. Keep in mind how these materials will age and any maintenance that may be required.

Outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is an important detail and can make your area that much more special.

Step and path lights ensure that you can safely use your outdoor dining area into the balmy summer evenings, while accent lights can highlight select garden features. Overhead and wall lights can be added to the space to create ambience within the dining area.


The flow of movement from a dining space to the rest of the garden is important and this is where a landscape designer can refine and connect the multiple spaces to make them functional and beautiful.

Consider the uses for your space: Do you need a pet and family friendly lawn? Do you have an adjoining swimming pool which needs to be accessed? Is the outdoor dining area easily connected to the house?

Of course, there are many more factors which go into designing and creating a landscape. These points, ideas and inspiration are a starting point to get you thinking about your space.

If you are interested in finding out more about how we could help you transform your outdoor area, click here to contact our Landscape Designer, Rory.


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