1. Take a seat
One of the first decisions you have to make is what material to choose for your outdoor seating. There are many metal options on the market now to lighten things up and add a pop of colour or, if you're looking to timber, teak is worth the price tag - it requires little to no maintenance, ages to a gorgeous silvery grey and can withstand the elements for decades.
Stylish folding or stacking chairs are a great choice for small spaces
2. Shady characters
Most quality furnishings will hold up well in full sun, but you and your guests might not. Position your dining setting under a structure such as a pergola, retractable awning, shade sail or large umbrella to help keep you cool.
3. Dining out
Chunky, comfy chairs - ideally with armrests - are the ultimate seating option for long lunches, but if space is tight or if you regularly host both small and large parties, a more flexible option may be best.
4. Size it up
When choosing a dining setting, consider how many people you routinely cater for and pick a size and shape that suits the space. Bench seats are ideal for squeezing in unexpected guests and are space savers, too.
Plan a setting for a solo siesta or a glass of wine with friends
5. Lounge lizards
Modular pieces are ideal if you need your outdoor furniture to serve multiple functions. With several components, you can cater for a crowd one day and then push the modules into one long lounge for lying back and reading the next.
When selecting soft furnishings to leave outside, buy the best quality you can so they will withstand the worst of the weather, resist fading and maintain their laze appeal.
For more outdoor ideas and inspiration click here.