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Dining Al Fresco

As I was laboring in the heat last summer rebuilding our backyard deck, I kept wanting to figure out a way for us to better utilize this lower portion of the deck.  When our oldest son, a professional landscape architect, originally drew up the plans for this deck for us, he designed four different seating areas to allow intimate conversations to occur in several locations…

…and the furniture we ultimately purchased, was consistent with these design purposes.

But over the years, it seemed we rarely used this lower deck portion.  More often, we found ourselves sitting in the sections to the left or right of the stairs or lounging in the chaise lounges enjoying a view of the pool.

The lower deck, with its broad leafy canopy above, did offer a nice seating area whenever an unexpected rain shower arrived affording us a reasonably dry experience in all but the heaviest of downpours.

Whenever the weather was nice enough for us to eat dinner outside, we would usually sit around the coffee table under the pergola, but this was always a little dissatisfying as it gave the feel of a large dinner party with an inadequate number of seats at the dining table.

On special occasion, we did take a table out onto the deck for a nice dinner al fresco.

So, it was really this idea that kept rolling around in my head as I secured the new deck boards in place on the lower deck.

I finished rebuilding the deck in July of last year and shared my idea with my wife.  At first, she was a little hesitant that putting a table there might seem to crowd the space but after laying out some measurements of what square footage a small table would occupy, I was able to convince her it was a wise reuse of that space.

Of course, finding a table and chairs in the middle of a pandemic proved to be quite a challenge.  I looked first at my favorite big box hardware store but found very little was in stock and nothing small enough for the space.  Looking for options online were no more successful.  At least, not until sometime in September when I looked at the website of my favorite flat-box furniture store.

It seemed they had an outdoor table and chairs just the right size but when I went there, it was sold out.  No surprise actually.  As I was wandering around the big self-service warehouse area pondering what to do next, I came across a display of outdoor furniture I had not seen while walking through the vast showroom.  I quickly texted a picture to my wife and she agreed that would work.  Fortunately, they still had one table and four chairs left in stock.

The assembly process was quite simple and in no time, we had our dedicated outdoor dining area.

A few days later, we formally broke it in when my wife’s out-of-town sister came for a visit.

Knowing we had the cold, and wet winter months ahead, I decided to cover it over the winter to protect it from the elements.  Only problem was when I removed the covering one day, I found evidence that an outdoor animal of some kind had become a squatter seeking shelter under its inviting protection.  So, no more covering, I would just have to see how it weathered over the winter.

Turns out, it made it through the winter quite well.

Once the snow had melted and the weather began to warm, I simply washed it off with a hose and it looked just as good as the day I first put it out there.

On warm sunny days, it offers a nice location for a lunch outdoors and when it is warm enough in the early morning, I even eat my breakfast out there.  Our granddaughter has on occasion, also enjoying eating her dinner at the table.  And whenever the evening weather is nice enough, my wife and I dine there taking in the nice view of our outdoor restaurant.

This has even become our spot at the end of the day when we share an adult beverage and talk about our day, replacing our cozy indoor club spot.

Throughout the spring, we have become regulars at this outdoor dining table.  Since adding the table to this part of the deck, we have absolutely used the lower deck much more frequently than in the years past.  And with warmer weather on the way and warmer pool water temperatures to follow, we will be enjoying even more outdoor fun and dining al fresco!

2 thoughts on “Dining Al Fresco Leave a comment

  1. We are Scrabble players. We would sit at the table and play a game of Scrabble. Looks like a wonderful spot to relax. I like the idea of rethinking the status quo – especially when it seems things could be improved. Great job!

    • Thanks. I actually wrote this post about a month ago and ever since then, the weather has been nice enough for my wife and I to have dinner there almost every night. I often comment I can’t think of a local restaurant with a better view that I would rather be at than our own private one.

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