How to set your garden table

If you’re planning on hosting friends and family at your Lazy Susan garden table this summer, then setting the table is a great way to enhance the outdoor dining experience...

Setting your garden table creates a positive atmosphere in your garden and expresses consideration for those who are sharing a BBQ, al-fresco meal, garden party or just a few social summer drinks with you.

In fact, in many cultures, setting the table according to certain etiquette is considered a social norm. It reflects manners and respect for your guests, and it can set the tone for a special occasion.

For some, setting the table is also a traditional or ritualistic act. It can be part of cultural practice, religious ceremony, or simply a family tradition passed down through generations.

For us, setting the garden table is more practical than symbolic. It is a gesture of hospitality, showing that you have taken the time and effort to make your guests feel comfortable and cared for.

Plus, it makes your outdoor space and our classically styled garden tables look great. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the patio dining experience, making it more enjoyable for everyone.

Our Catherine garden table set for a party 

A properly set table helps to organise the garden dining space, making it easier for everyone to navigate and enjoy the meal. Each element is placed in a specific location for a reason, contributing to a smoother meal or party.

It is a garden though, so we are not too concerned with correct etiquette, however, having the necessary utensils, plates, and glassware readily available makes it convenient for guests to enjoy their meal without searching for items or feeling awkward about not having the right tableware, etc. 

Setting a garden table involves arranging it in a way that is visually appealing to you and functional for those you are entertaining. Here is Lazy Susan’s simple 14-step guide on how to set your garden table for a summer get-together: 

1. Clean your garden table

Before setting your garden table, make sure the surface is clean. Wipe away any dirt, debris, or dust with a little warm water and a splash of car shampoo. Give it a rinse, dry it, and apply a light coat of car wax to give the painted finish a nice lustre. 

2. Add a tablecloth or placemats 

If you have a tablecloth, spread it evenly over the table. Make sure it hangs evenly on all sides. Alternatively, and our preference so as not to hide our beautiful tabletops, you can use placemats for each setting (as shown above) or just keep it as is (as we have done below).

3. Place your dinnerware

Place dinner plates in the centre of each setting. If you are using salad plates, position them on top of the dinner plates.

4. Set the tableware

Arrange the tableware (fork, knife, and spoon) based on the meal you are serving. Keep it casual (as shown above) or if you want to follow correct etiquette, then place forks to the left of the plate, knives to the right (blade facing the plate), and spoons to the right of the knife. Consider any other helpful utensils, like bottle opener, corkscrew, salad forks or dessert spoons, and position them accordingly. 

5. Add the glassware

Set water glasses above the dinner knife, slightly to the right. If serving wine, place wine glasses to the right of the water glass. Make sure you have the right types of glassware for the drinks you plan to serve

6. Don't forget the napkins (especially if it is a BBQ)

Fold or place napkins either on top of the dinner plate or beside the forks. You can get creative with napkin folding or use napkin rings for an extra touch of sophistication.

7. A garden table centrepiece is essential

Think of the garden table centrepiece as your cherry on the cake. It could be a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of fruit, scented candles, or any decorative item that complements the outdoor setting and the theme you’re going for. 

8. Put the condiments on your Lazy Susan

If serving condiments, place them in the centre of a Lazy Susan or strategically around the table. Set salt and pepper shakers within easy reach of all guests.

9. Use suitable outdoor lighting

If your outdoor meal extends into the evening, consider adding ambient lighting, such as string lights, lanterns, or candles. 

10. Have outdoor heating for the evening

If the temperature dips when the sun sets, fire up a patio heater or drape outdoor blankets over the backs of your garden chairs so you and your guests can wrap up. 

11. Make your guests comfortable

Add our cushions or seat pads to your garden chairs for extra comfort and position a parasol over your garden table to provide shade if the sun is shining. Our range can be tilted so you can keep it out of your eyes. 

12. Consider traffic flow

Think about how guests will move around your outdoor space. Arrange items in a way that allows for comfortable movement around the table. Ensure guests can easily reach all items and easily access facilities.

13. Add some personal touches

If the party is a special occasion, consider adding personal touches, like name cards or small favours, to make the table setting feel more special.

14. Always expect the unexpected

Be mindful of the weather. If the wind picks up, consider using heavy napkin weights or other items to keep lightweight items from blowing away. If it looks like rain, be prepared to move indoors or under cover. Sunshine, then make sure there's shade for you all to keep cool.

Remember, the key is to create a setting that looks good and is functional for the type of outdoor meal or gathering you are hosting. Customise the setup based on your preferences, your outdoor space and the occasion.

Most important, is just to make your guests feel comfortable and welcome in your home and garden!

If you have any photos of your Lazy Susan garden table set for a party this summer, then we would love to see a few snaps for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or Upload Here.

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