Outdoor Dining Trends for 2021

outdoor patio dining area under pergola with grill

Outdoor dining is in vogue now more than ever. It's a great way to get out of your house, enjoy some fresh air, and catch a glimpse of the natural world, weather permitting.


Another great way to get out of your house, which has the potential to be a social outing as well, is a picnic. Some grocery stores actually sell picnic-esque meals but you could also make a picnic basket yourself as well. Cheeses, crackers, fruits like grapes and strawberries, and dips like hummus are great options for a picnic. Make sure you grab a blanket to lay your feast on.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to safely meet up with others for a picnic. Different households can set up their own blankets and food outdoors. This way you can talk and share a meal, while remaining spaced out.

picnic blanket with food on green grass with flowers

Outdoor Heaters

If you are hoping to eat outside in your yard all year round, an outdoor heater is your best bet. These heaters provide warmth. That's not to say if it's below freezing out they will allow you to eat outside, but if it is in the 50s or 60s degrees Fahrenheit, they will allow you to sit outside for long enough to enjoy your meal.

outdoor heater with flame


If you live in a sunny area of the country, you may want to consider adding a pergola to your backyard. This will offer some shade and is also a great decor option for your yard. You could hire someone to build a pergola or have a ready-made one installed, but building one yourself can actually be a fairly easy DIY project. Make sure to check with local authorities that there aren't any building codes affecting the project, or get the proper permits if there are.

pergola outdoor area

Start by gathering wood and woodworking tools. Make sure the posts that you plan to have horizontal are at least nine feet and gather 10 foot 4x4 cedar posts. Lay out the posts and measure where the pieces of wood will meet or be connected to each other. Create a 4x4 hole in the larger post that the smaller post can be fit into.

This is really a two-person job. Have a friend or family member hold the post at one end while you put the 4x4 into the hole you have cut. Use nails or screws to secure the wood. Do this will all the posts. Once everything is put together, you will dig into the ground places to put the pergola end. Fill it and make sure the pergola is secure before sitting under it.

Picnic Benches

wood picnic table on brick patio

Picnic benches aren't just for kids. Benches are actually a cheap option for outdoor dining in your backyard. Premade ones can be bought fairly cheaply at furniture, home improvement, outdoor stores, and even online. You can also build one yourself fairly easily.

Picnic benches can be used as an outdoor craft table for kids. Their rustic look makes it okay to get a little dirty. But you can also make your picnic bench look more upscale if you are looking to use it while entertaining guests. You could try painting it white and adding some mason jar lights to create a nice ambiance.

Another benefit of picnic benches is they come in all sizes. There are small ones made specifically for children, ones that fit four adults, and oversized, long ones that are great if you entertain big groups regularly.

Screened In Porch

screened porch with furniture

If you want to enjoy outdoor dining all year round, a screened-in porch is a great option. If you already have a porch, screening it in is actually fairly simple. If you don't, you will have to build a porch before adding the screen.

Paring a screen porch with heat lamps is a great idea in cold climates. And in areas with lots of bugs, the screened-in porch will allow you to dine in peace. And in warm months, these porches offer some shade. In areas with lots of wildlife, screened porches ensure you don't have competition for your meal.