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Summer dining: 4 ways to keep your picnic on point

Love the outdoors and dining alfresco? Then July is the month for you! National Picnic Month (until 31 July) is the perfect excuse to get out after work, grab a blanket and your basket, and enjoy a relaxed feast long into the balmy summer nights. If you’re celebrating summer with events from tennis and cricket to festivals and community fetes, there’s never been a better time for planning a picnic.

Today, this national tradition has been elevated to a whole new level. “We’ve all heard of tablescaping – beautifully laid dinner tables, perfect for setting the scene when entertaining,” says Rosie Stagg at House Beautiful. “But what do you call it when you take it outside? Picnicscaping, of course… Think luxurious picnic blankets and oh-so-comfy cushions, plus floral arrangements and food arranged in a way that’s almost too pretty to eat.”

Tempted but not sure how to do it yourself? Follow our four top tips to ensure your picnicscape looks as good IRL as it does for the ’gram:

Transporting your picnic
First up is how we carry our picnic. Find a basket for all your dining essentials. As much as we love the traditionality of a wicker basket, think outside the box and try something different such as a wire basket with handles or a rigid jute box – a piece that is sturdy, practical and big enough to hold everything. You may already have something similar around the house so check what you have and see if you can get creative with it.

Base camp
Set the scene by laying down a gorgeous throw or a lightweight cotton rug; think bright florals and pretty pastels for those quintessential British picnic vibes. A table is handy not only for practical reasons but to provide a focal point. Choose a camping or folding option – it’s nice and compact so you’re not carrying around cumbersome furniture.

Pretty as a picture
When guests come for dinner, it’s custom to adorn the home with seasonal flowers, create a centrepiece and add atmospheric lighting – so why not lend this aesthetic to your alfresco set-up? Pimp up your picnic with freshly cut blooms held in cute vases or carafes, add buckets and trays for cold drinks and zesty fruit displays, and last but not least, provide ambience with a ceramic lantern paired with battery-operated tealights – et voilà, your picnic has just gone up a notch!

Comfort is key
If you’re planning on whittling away the hours with friends and family over sandwiches and cake, remember that comfort is a must. We’re talking an eclectic mix of plump cushions and cosy blankets for when the night draws in, a parasol or sail for sun protection, and food nets for those pesky insects. Needless to say, summertime is the season for chilling so go all out with this nifty deck chair – or even a portable futon – to give yourself an impromptu snooze space under a tree.

So, will you be taking part in National Picnic Month and revelling in the splendid sunshine? Even if you ain’t a pro, picnicscaping can be as easy as our four simple steps. Shop our outdoor ranges in-store or online now.