I admit it. I hate how summer is slipping away like sand through my fingers. The last “official” weekend of summer (Labor Day weekend, August 31 to Sept. 2) may be right around the corner, but I’ve still got a lot of backyard entertaining to do!

My favorite type of entertaining is hosting dinner for close friends or family out on the deck, nothing too grand. Sure, I try new recipes, like Moroccan couscous or Tangy Thai coleslaw but I mostly rely on old favorites like grilled steak  and sangria.

Normally, I set the table with fresh flowers from the yard and put most of my effort into the food, not the presentation on the plate. Last night, though, I was watching an episode of Chopped when the judges actually axed one of the contestants for poor presentation. That got me thinking that I should pay a bit more attention and make my food prettier for my next backyard get-together.

The table decoration ideas below all share two common elements: They’re pretty to look at and seem easy to implement. For the busy and uncrafty (like me), those two features are essential.

Pretty Presentation

Forget plopping veggies on a tray with a bowl of dip! Instead hollow out a cabbage and arrange the vegetables around it.

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Eddie Ross, Cabbage, Crudité

Eddie Ross’s Crudité Image: © Eddie Ross

This is another way to offer a crudité, just fill tall glasses and jars with vegetables and put the dip in a martini glass. Brilliant!

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Crudité, Glasses, Jars, Martini Glasses, Dip

Table Decoration Ideas: Crudité Image: Viva Bella

This fruit display would be a lot for just a small party, but you can take elements, like coring and then filling pineapple or melon rinds, and placing them in a sea of grapes, for smaller parties.


Tablescapes: Edible Centerpieces

There’s something about lemon yellow that just seems cheerful. Here are three ideas that utilize citrus in a “sweet” way.

The first is so simple, just cut lemons and white flowers…

I never even considered using a grapefruit as a centerpiece before!

This last of these table decoration ideas uses lemons, limes, and oranges, and flowers of similar hues in separate containers. But if you have a small gathering, why not use one big vase and mix them up?

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Citrus, Lemons, Flowers

Table Decoration Ideas: Citrus Image: Cliff Brunk


Other Table Decoration Ideas

I love the contrast of the soft pinks and greens, which give this centerpiece a romantic quality…

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Flowers, Romantic, Pinks, Greens, Soft, Centerpiece

Table Decoration Ideas: Centerpiece by Rusty Hinge

Although this centerpiece features turquoise and golden globes, you could use any type of collectible, and then choose colorful accents just like those below.

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Outdoors, Globes, Centerpieces

Table Decoration Ideas: Globes by Oh Happy Day

Talk about color! I love everything about this centerpiece, from the pretty batik table runner to interesting vases and contrasting, colorful roses and other greens.

Table Decoration Ideas: Table Decorations, Table Decorating, Outdoors, Roses, Centerpieces, Wedding, Table Runner

Table Decoration Ideas: Love and Splendor

Again, I find all the tablescapes above not only beautiful but seemingly easy to make, clear winners for outdoor entertaining.

What do you think? Send us your ideas and upload pictures to our Bombay Outdoors Facebook page.

Patio Eye Candy: Outdoor Tablescapes
Sangria Recipes for Backyard Sipping
Watermelon Recipes for a Fun BBQ!