Use a brightly colored garden as an excuse to brighten up your tablescape. The picnic table takes its cue from the lavender plants, and the chartreuse glasses are a great contrast.
Create a Space. Even the most boring of carports can be turned into dinner party central with a few paper lanterns and the right furniture.
Decorate that Table! Extra room outside means more freedom to go bananas with centerpieces and lanterns - not the way these are hung from the pergola.
Use portable card tables for an outdoor buffet or bar, and cover it up with tablecloths or even a simple white sheet.
Consider taking a can of rustoleum in a bright color to your metal outdoor furniture! Turquoise is the perfect bright summer color.
Look for Inspiration. Search "Dining Al Fresco" in the Ideabooks section of houzz. No houzz "dining al fresco"-themed ideabook would be complete without this shot. I think every single one of us uses it every time we compile one!
Be prepared for chillier nights. You can get the same heat as this fancy outdoor fireplace from a fire pit or even a little chiminera (chiminea? What the heck are those things called?)
Make the entire area inviting. I'm guessing from the thriving cactus here that July is not the best month to eat at this table, but it's so darn cute on this patio, I might just do it anyway!
Make sure you have ample lighting (you won't need much, but people will be able need to see their plates!). Remember that you will likely need protective hurricanes or lanterns for candles when you are outdoors.
Make a community roofdeck fabulous so that you can get to know your neighbors. This one was a group effort.
Consider small spaces. A cozy balcony with a simple set of cafe chairs and a table is a great spot for that third date you've been looking forward to.
Not in the mood to entertain? It's perfectly acceptable to relax with a cocktail table, complete with a cheery flower, nearby!