Dinner Al Fresco: How to Dress your Table for a Summer Feast


With summer nights at their longest, it’s time to seize the opportunity for languid dinners al fresco. Gathering around a dining table with friends should be a pleasure; so, we’ve rounded up our top tips for creating a beautiful scene, while keeping set-up simple. Without further ado…

Less is more

Best to save yourself the trouble of laying out runners and table ornaments – a simple, clean scene lets the food do the talking. Take advantage of the bounty of colourful summer produce to create a showstopping, family-style feast for all the senses.

Sally Clarke inspired salad, photographed by Annabel Colterjohn


Photo by Annie Spratt


Make it green!

Swap the traditional bouquet for greenery to give your summer table a fresh, unfussy feel. Try springy sprigs of myrtle or a bushel of dill flowers for a change. And for good measure, put the money saved on florals towards an extra special bottle of wine!



Linen – but casual

Don’t worry about using perfectly pressed linens – a little crinkle can add charm and softness to the occasion. Raw, natural linen gives off a laid-back feel and keeps it coming for years with surprisingly little upkeep.



Candles, candles, candles

Candles are the name of the game when it comes to lighting. Those long, blue summer nights mean there’s no great need for anything beyond a few flickering flames. Keep the lights low and simply pepper some candles haphazardly along the table for a lowkey yet atmospheric mood. For a bit of added drama, look no further than Tom’s range of candlestick holders.



 Groovy glassware

Add a little intrigue to your table with some creative carafes. For inspiration, have a look at Michael Ruh’s work. Keep the rest of the glassware simple with clean-cut drinking glasses and refined, minimalist wineglasses. Save the hefty scotch tumblers for dusky winter evenings. Instead, serve cocktails in crisp, light drinking glasses. To start, you can’t go wrong with a Campari and soda, which is as simple as…


1 part Campari

2 parts soda water

Swath of lemon peel for garnish

…all poured over a healthy serving of ice cubes






Text by Annabel Colterjohn