Al Fresco Dining Poolside Style

Is there anything better than al fresco dining poolside? I don’t think so. I love this casual summer dining idea!

I created an al fresco poolside dinner setting. I love that I could reuse things around the house to make this wonderful summer entertaining area. You can do this too!

Dinner Poolside

Poolside Dining

Al Fresco Dining by the Pool

We don’t dine poolside often enough. Why is that?

I have no idea!

I am so happy I set this table poolside because we are going to do it a lot more this summer! Al fresco dining poolside, here we come!

Al Fresco Dining Poolside Style

How to Set an Al Fresco Dining Table

Al Fresco Dining Poolside

Al fresco dining refers to a meal that is taken outdoors or in the open air. It’s by far my favorite way to dine!

So why not set a table in a fun area of your backyard? I like challenging myself to do something different when setting a table in our backyard. I always look for a different location, and sometimes I even try something entirely different.

This time, I set a table on the ground next to our pool!

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Setting a Low Table for Dining

Cushions for Al Fresco Dining

I really wanted to set a different table so I opted to put a low table on the brick surrounding our pool. Isn’t it perfect for al fresco dining?

We carried our coffee table from the back porch and set it up next to the pool. I love that we can sit here on these comfy cushions and enjoy the water view.

Of course, comfort is also essential. I don’t own any cushions specifically for sitting on the ground, but I do have cushions on my outdoor furniture.

So, I borrowed the cushions from my outdoor seating area and used them for cushions on the ground. Kinda smart, right?

Table for Al Fresco Dining

Easy Table Setting Tips

Once the table was set with comfy cushions, it was time to actually set the table. I decided to use a color palette that captured the colors surrounding the table.

  • one – I made some placemats that highlighted the colors of our pool and love how they came out. The DIY is below and these are very easy to make! The green Linen/Cotton Napkins are ones I have had for years.
  • two – I used some plain white 11″ Dinner Plates (everybody needs a set or two of plain white dishes, right?) and topped them with some blue and white salad plates that I picked up years ago. The green water glasses are the ones I use all the time!
  • three – I added some of my mixed silver and silverplate utensils and vintage blue and white side dishes. I planned to grill French bread tonight, so these are for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For my flower arrangement, I borrowed the flowers. I already had some grocery store flowers arranged in our home earlier in the week. Most of the flowers still looked perfect, so I reused them, with a few flowers from my garden, for the centerpieces.

Dinner Al Fresco

I love that the flowers technically were reused and didn’t cost me anything to make. Isn’t it great that you can create this dining experience without the setup costing anything extra?

Always shop your home first and use things you already have. Use a table that you have never used for dining. Grab some cushions or pillows for seating if you want to use a low table. Just be thrifty and creative, and you will love the result.

How to Make the DIY Reversible Placemats

Table for Al Fresco Dining

I made these placemats because I wanted some extra color on my table. I love how easy they are to make, and I have also made round ones. Next, I will make some rectangular placemats for the summer.

What You Need to Make Six Reversible Placemats

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Draw around the outside of the cardboard template on the fabric to make six squares of each fabric. Add an extra 1″ (approximate) allowance, and cut out twelve total squares of fabric.
indigo blue placemats and chargers diy

2. This is what the cutouts should look like.

indigo blue placemats and chargers diy 2

3. Fold along the line and iron the seam allowances on all 12 squares.

indigo blue placemats and chargers diy 3

4. Pin one square of one fabric and one square of the other; right sides out, together. Repeat for all six placemats.

indigo blue placemats and chargers diy 5

5. Sew around the outside edges of each placemat. Iron flat.

indigo blue placemats and chargers diy 6

Aren’t they awesome? I love the way they add color to this table.

DIY Placemats

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of al fresco dining?

One interesting aspect of al fresco dining is its historical significance. The term “al fresco” originates from the Italian language and means “in the cool air.” It originated in the 18th century when it became famous for wealthy Europeans to dine outside in gardens and open-air spaces, particularly during the warmer months. This trend was influenced by the desire to enjoy nature, socialize, and escape the formalities of indoor dining.
Al fresco dining gained prominence in various cultures over time. In France, for example, it became an essential part of the café culture, with sidewalk cafés becoming iconic gathering places for locals and tourists alike. In many Mediterranean countries, dining outdoors is deeply ingrained in their culinary traditions, where people enjoy leisurely meals under shady trees or by the seaside.

Dinner Poolside

My Favorite Outdoor Decor


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A low table set in the back yard next to the pool with hanging lights and cushions on the patio for comfort.

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  1. So fun Leslie! You could take a little dip between each course!! 🙂 It’s been a long time since I’ve done much sewing, so I really appreciate the photos with your placemat tutorial. It’s great to be able make your own – so much more variety in fabric than in pre-made table linens! Thanks as always for so many fabulous ideas!

  2. Hi Leslie, Everything you do is impeccable, beautiful, inviting and perfection. I can’t wait to see what your daily post has in store because it’s always wonderful! Thanks for so many inspiring ideas.

    1. I think I will have to make a 15” square template—I can’t eyeball as well as you and have the two different fabrics match up. Did you have a reason as to why you made the 14” template and added the 1” seam allowance later and not a 15” one? Did you use just a cotton fabric for washing ease? Do you think interfacing would help with shape and stiffness? Or is it just an unnecessary step? Thanks for being creative so I can get inspiration from you!

  3. You never stop to amaze me with your creativity and giving the instructions and pictures of the project you are making. I look forward to each day to see what you have to share with all of us. Love ya girl, Heidi

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