Dining Al Fresco with POLYWOOD

Get tips for dining al fresco, and see how our new POLYWOOD dining set transformed our simple backyard patio. Includes easy table setting ideas, a fresh flower centerpiece, and tips for bringing the indoors out.

polywood braxton dining set on patio1

*This post is sponsored by POLYWOOD. I have loved their furniture for years, and all selections and opinions are my own.

Eating outside in the summer is one of my favorite things to do. It’s relaxing, the fresh air feels wonderful, and the food tastes better. Al fresco is an Italian phrase that literally means “in the open air.” Dining al fresco at home can seem like extra work, but there are ways to simplify the process so it’s enjoyable for everyone…including the hosts! Today I’m honored to partner with POLYWOOD to bring you tips for easy outdoor entertaining. Our POLYWOOD dining set is part of the Braxton Furniture Collection, and is the latest addition to our simple backyard patio. It has completely transformed the space!

patio with polywood dining set


I have wanted a dining set that would hold up to the elements for several years. POLYWOOD furniture is made from genuine POLYWOOD lumber, and is backed by a 20-year warranty. POLYWOOD was the first to create furniture from recycled plastic materials, and to this day, their mission remains to recover and transform landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastic into durable outdoor furniture that will last for generations. I love that each and every piece is made in the USA, and is built to be enjoyed season after season. For more information on the POLYWOOD story, click {HERE.}

braxton dining chair on patio

Not only is POLYWOOD furniture durable and maintenance-free, it’s also stunningly beautiful. It is built to withstand a range of climates including hot sun, snowy winters, and strong coastal winds. There are several collections to choose from, so no matter what your decor style is, there’s a POLYWOOD set for you. I fell in love with the Braxton set as soon as I saw it. There is just something about that X-back chair that makes me happy!

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to put our new dining set to use. For easy access, we placed it right outside our French doors. My best tip for easily transporting items from the kitchen to your outdoor space is to use a large, but easy-to-carry tray. I’ve had this wooden tray for years, and it’s perfect for so many things. It’s very light-weight, and the sides guarantee that nothing will tumble to the ground.

Easy Table Setting Ideas for Dining Al Fresco

The most important thing to remember when setting an outdoor table is to keep it simple…but simple definitely doesn’t mean boring!

The Tablescape

  • Set your outdoor dining table with layers. Begin with a table runner or placemats, then add plates and napkins. If you use regular china or stoneware dishes, make sure it won’t break your heart if something falls and shatters. Unbreakable plates & bowls have come a long way in the past few years. They come in beautiful patterns, and it’s hard to tell that they are melamine!
dining al fresco with flowers in mason jars

Placemats & Linens

  • I chose outdoor plastic placemats that look just like fabric. They can be wiped off easily, and they never need laundered! I went with white cloth napkins, but pretty paper napkins would be perfectly fine as well.

The Centerpiece

  • After the place settings are finished, it’s time to add fresh flowers. Again, I believe it’s best to keep it simple. Use your own garden flowers, or flowers from the grocery or farm stand, or a combination of both. Vintage mason jars or small pitchers make the arrangements easy to transport from the house to your outdoor space. The final touches are a pitcher for drink refills, flatware, and if desired, candles for lighting.
garden flowers in blue mason jar

POLYWOOD Traditional Garden Planters

In addition to our POLYWOOD dining set, we received beautiful traditional garden planters. The design of these planters is brilliant. The bottom is slats, so all you do is set a smaller pot inside. A 12-inch round pot is a perfect fit. I actually used galvanized buckets I already had, and simply dropped them in the planters.

polywood dining set on patio 1600

One more thing I like about the POLYWOOD planters is that they don’t sit directly on the ground. There are little feet that raise the planters up, so there is less chance that dirt and water will stain the surface of our patio.

white polywood planter with sweet potato vine and ivy

Like most rooms in our home, the patio is a work in progress. Our new dining set has taken this simple outdoor space from uninspired and plain, to coordinated and functional. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to walk outside and be greeted with a welcoming spot to relax.

polywood dining set on patio

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

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Thank you so much for stopping by…and for your friendship. If you have any questions about our POLYWOOD furniture, don’t hesitate to email me at ann@onsuttonplace.com.

Until next time…