When the barometer rises and rays of glorious sunshine hit our gardens, it makes us all want to savour every second of warmth, with eating and drinking outdoors becoming a necessity. Why sit inside when you can soak up the rays and enjoy all that barbecue season has to offer? To inspire your own outdoor scenes, here are some of the best alfresco dining rooms from our archive.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The terrace of a coastal Cornish house by Marion Lichtig is furnished with woven willow chairs from Gloster Furniture.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The young designer Octavia Dickinson's Battersea flat captures the essence of an English cottage, no more so than in the narrow slice of garden that she's decorated with potted trees and plants and a white iron bench, table ( from Anne Fowler in Tetbury) and chairs (from Potting Up).

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    An extension at Adam Sykes' California-inspired house in south London is clad in Siberian larch. The kitchen in the extension leads out to a paved seating area in the garden, designed by Town & Country Gardens.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The owner of this garden in Marrakech loves the simple generosity and glowing fowers of the Plumbago family. Here, Plumbago Auriculata has been trained over an arch in the riad to frame a view of the beautifully painted niche, which makes the perfect hideout on hot afternoons. Inticately patterned tiling decorates the interior of the alcove seating area.

    Extract taken from 'Gardens of Marrakesh' by Angelica Gray, Photographs by Alessio Mei, Published by Frances Lincoln at £14.99 in paperback

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    In this glorious communal city garden designed by Cameron Landscapes & Gardens, the clever use of space, with a table and benches encircled by trees and flowers, has created a relaxed and natural atmosphere.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    London Garden Two Levels Dining Space - City Gardens

    The back garden of this London home, reconfigured by interior designer Penny Morrison, is split into different levels, with a terrace for dining and a raised seating area. Several small rooms that made up the basement of the house were taken out to create this new outdoor space.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    This stylish all-weather area created by Ebba Thott for her client's London home uses matchboard planks, which flow up the wall to create a bench for the table, and a planting area for the living wall.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The tiny, enclosed garden of this Chelsea house acts as a second dining room for its lucky owners. Festoons of climbing plants and a combination of small trees work beautifully with the limestone paving and Italianate sculpture (note the mirror wall behind, which enhances the feeling of light and space). Delicate outdoor furniture like this is the perfect choice for a small garden as it doesn't block the space visually. You can practically see straight through the pretty table and chairs used here; anything more chunky runs the risk of feeling too solid and oppressive, giving the illusion that the garden is smaller than it actually is.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The kitchen extension at this Oxfordshire country cottage has a traditional thatched roof above large sliding French windows framed with rough-hewn planks. The paved seating area is edged with ferns, nepeta and rosemary, and dotted with erigeron.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    A trestle table makes for a simple, rustic dining area in the threshing barn of this Herefordshire farmhouse. On the other side of the parterre is the farm's old milking house.

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Modern Bronze Pavilion

    Designed by the architect Jamie Fobert for a Tom Stuart-Smith walled garden in Cheshire, this bronze pavilion adds a sculptural element. Various views of the garden are framed through the openings and the multi-angled ceiling refracts light.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    metal dining table

    A large metal dining table sits at the back of the house, perfect for larger gatherings and outdoor dinner parties. Designer Bunny Guinness' garden is a mix of formal areas and functional productive spaces.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Moroccan Courtyard Dining

    The light-filled house ripples round a whitewashed courtyard containing a dining table, on another side is a traditionally tiled cloistered walkway from which bedrooms lead off, each with its own terrace and access to the garden beyond.

    Situated between Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains, [this elegant house], with its airy rooms, is decorated in a combination of English country-house style and traditional Moroccan elements.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Mews Courtyard

    In the evenings the Riddells have the cobbled mews all to themselves. This [west London industrial mews house] is owned by designer Caroline Riddell. Open-plan living is made cosy with warm touches to this family home and office.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Split Level Dining

    This city garden is split into different levels, including a terrace for dining and a raised seating area.

    The challenge for interior designer Penny Morrison at this Victorian terrace was to create a home for a bachelor - without the stereotypical furnishings.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Balcony with wrought iron furniture

    In this French hotel by interior designer Jocelyne Sibuet, dark green French windows open onto a balcony which doubles as an intimate alfresco dining area. The wrought iron outdoor furniture - also green - is in keeping with both internal and external environment. As a bonus, this balcony offers incredible views over the gardens.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Reclaimed wood with floral decorations

    The US-based styling team at Yeti and the Beast created this relaxed, alfresco scheme. They have used reclaimed wooden planks to create a low picnic table. Upon this they've placed stylish and disposable bamboo plates in two neat rows and hung a garland of festoon lights to pull the look together. An informal selection of rugs and cushions on the ground gives a bohemian and picnic-like atmosphere.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Buffet Table with Ivy and Festoon Lights

    Try treating draping foliage like theatre curtains by it back with string. Properly installed outdoor lighting creates atmosphere - take the festoon lighting used here above the iron and wood buffet table - as well as providing much needed illumination. Finally, the table is dressed with French linen which is both durable and chic.

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    City Gardens

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    DIY Table Canopy

    A gorgeous outdoor eating area needn't cost the earth: take inspiration from this inviting garden table and do it yourself! Select a grassy area in your garden and make simple canopies by tying the corners of pieces of fabric to the ends of long poles. Place the poles on either side of the table or tables and press them firmly into the ground to ensure that they are secure. They will provide shade and look pretty - the ideal combination for your next alfresco soiree.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    White canvas canopy

    Awnings can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish, and they will always have a use in the garden, come rain or shine. Interior designer Nina Campbell says, 'My electric awning in my little garden at home creates an exterior room, extending the drawing room. It is perfect for when space is limited in cities such as in London.'

    Some expert advice from Vicky Charles, the design director of Soho House, suggests, 'Use fabrics such as canvas, hessian or sailcloth; they look great suspended on ropes or stretched across poles or trees.' In the garden of Soho Beach House Miami (pictured), as featured in Eat, Drink, Nap (Random House, £30), beautiful shadows are reflected onto sailcloth from the trees above, creating a natural-born party decoration with minimal fuss that's perfect for a daytime party.

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    Chic Conservatories

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Cabana with vintage furniture

    The pool at the Playa Grande is flanked by two lattice-framed cabanas. In this one, locally made tiles, designed by decorator Celerie Kemble, cover the floor. The metal garden furniture has been painted white and finished with pale blue cushions. Interesting and unusual wicker work in the shape of cocao hangs from the ceiling. The overall effect is pure vintage elegance.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Rustic Outdoor Dining Area

    In a hotel by interior designer Jocelyne Sibuet, the outdoor dining area has a pretty rustic feel. Vintage, French-style wrought iron furniture sits on the back patio beneath a pendant light.

    Taken from the House & Garden May 2015 supplement, Hotels by Design.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Wooden Pergola

    If you want to create a space for outdoor entertaining, a strategically placed pergola like this in the Sussex home of the late Helen Green, is perfect for giving a feeling of enclosure, without obstructing the view. Train a climbing plant over it for blousy summer blooms.

    Taken from the May 2012 issue of House & Garden.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Mediterranean Outdoor Dining Area

    After years spent looking for a European holiday home, the Lumb family fell in love with a neglected Fifties house on Ibiza where they set to transforming it into the elegantly cool house it is today. The garden room has a relaxed rustic look that is used for outdoor entertaining. Tolix chairs, with cushions in 'Colonsay' from Ralph Lauren, surround an outdoor dining table made by Jonathan Goode.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Wooden Cane Patio Roof

    Fashion designer Katherine Hooker and her boyfriend, architect Dimitri Konstantidis's, shady terrace on the Greek island of Patmos is a little slice of heaven. Every morning the pair have breakfast at the table - made from reclaimed marble pavement that was rescued from Athens - before going for a swim at a nearby beach.

    From the May 2012 issue of House & Garden

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Veranda with Long Table and Pendant Lights

    The veranda of this holiday home in Cap Ferret was designed by its architect Jonathan Tuckey as the main dining space of the house. 'This was an ideal spot because it leads from the kitchen and has a wonderful view,' he says. The 4.3-metre-long table is set before a built-in bench and below reclaimed pendant lights from Retrouvius. 'Because the table is so long we wanted to avoid the clutter - both visually and physically - of having 12 chairs, which would have left little space. The owners wanted to make sure they could seat large numbers of people, and a bench allows guests to squash up to add extra places.'

    Taken from the August 2011 issue of House & Garden.

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    Chic Garden Sheds

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    French Garden Dining Room

    In the French country home of textiles dealer Susan Deliss, situated in rural Burgundy, this shaded spot in the garden is often used for lunches. The vintage metal table is from 88 Antiques on Golbourne Road, the garden chairs from Italy and the tableware from France.

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    Garden rooms with a view

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    The Outside Seating Area

    The walls that surround this outdoor seating area have been painted a beautiful azure blue.

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    Kids' Rooms

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Pink Blossom over Outdoor Dining Area

    Pink blossom hangs down over the outdoor dining area of a French farmhouse retreat, while gold-coloured ornate candlesticks form the centrepiece of the table.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Rooftop Dining Lights

    This rooftop dining area at Soho House Istanbul is lit by hundreds of exposed bulbs, creating an atmospheric area for dining.

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    Miles of Tiles

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Tree Canopy Outdoor Dining Space

    Paul Lyon-Maris and Robin Muir have closely planted four Tilia henryana trees in their South Downs garden and have pleached them so that so they form a pretty, leafy canopy. Although the trees do not provide cover from rain, they do provide a shady spot for dining.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Loggia Dining Room

    This spectacular loggia at Holker Hall in Cumbria was built in the Twenties to replace a Joseph Paxton-designed conservatory. Simple wooden furniture and lanterns decorate it, with a trompe l'œil design painted in the Eighties by architectural historian and artist Alan Powers.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Wisteria Pergola

    In this London garden, designer Sean Walter of The Plant Specialist has installed a wisteria-clad pergola to create a private, shaded space. Forest Garden's Dining Pergola Without Panels', £406.99, is similar. It measures 280 x 304 x 244cm.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Awning Tent

    An awning tent is a good option if you want something less permanent, and can be ideal for a garden party. This one is in Tom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden in Hertfordshire, and Raj Tent Club can supply something similar, which can be easily dismantled and stored out of the way.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Tea Tent

    The 'Tea Tent' (£1,000 from Raj Tent Club) is made from waterproof cotton canvas, measures 2.4 x 1.8 x 1.2 metres, and takes under an hour to construct. 'You need at least a metre's clearance around the tent to peg it down,' advises Nicky Marks, managing director of Raj Tent Club.

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    Sloe Gin Negroni

  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Rustic Outdoor Dining

    Anne-Marie's father made the table in the outdoor dining area by placing a piece of glass over an old well.

    Anne-Marie Midy inherited this house in the south of France and has since lovingly restored it to refresh the interiors without losing the charm of the space. Anne-Marie Midy and her husband own the Mexican furniture company Casamidy.

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  • Alfres Dining Ideas - Outdoor Dining Rooms

    Courtyard Garden Dining Area

    The courtyard garden is the most intimate part of the space - surrounded on three sides by buildings and a hedge with pillars on the other. Bright borders and a knee-high box hedge completes the interior courtyard. Designer Bunny Guinness' garden is a mix of formal areas and functional productive spaces.

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