With longer days and warmer weather, springtime brings a lot of opportunities for entertaining al fresco. Courtney of French Country Cottage shares her spring outdoor decorating ideas for easy-breezy entertaining from day to night. From cozy get-togethers to relaxed brunches that extend to dinners, here are tips for your long overdue catch-ups with family and friends.


What You’ll Need for These Spring Decorating Ideas

1. Flowers

Courtney loves to use seasonal blooms and faux flowers as table centerpieces and accents. Balsam Hill’s outdoor-safe artificial flowers are ideal for al fresco gatherings since they are UV-protected to keep colors fresh for years of use.  

2. Plates, glasses, flatware, and napkins

Keep place settings simple for casual brunches or dinners. For celebrations, choose more formal tableware and elevate the look with layers.

3. Lighting

Bring warmth and ambience to evening gatherings with lanterns, candles, and string lights. Flameless LED candles are a safe alternative that brings you the flicker of real candlelight without the mess of wax drippings.

4. Soft Furnishings

For outdoor parties, Courtney suggests to bring out a basket full of blankets for guests to use if there’s a chill in the air. She also recommends using pillows for comfortable seating in your al fresco dining and lounging spaces.

5. Nibbles for guests

Apart from serving the main meal, have some treats ready so guests can help themselves any time. This could be a platter of cheese, fruits, and bread, or simple canapés topped with deli meat or seafood.

6. Thoughtful accents

There’s nothing like personal touches to make your guests feel extra special. Think customized wreaths, handwritten place cards, or even mini bouquets for them to take home afterwards.


How to Decorate Your Al Fresco Dining and Lounging Spaces

1. Start with flowers and greenery

Create a festive ambience by dressing up your outdoor areas with spring flowers and greenery. Balsam Hill’s outdoor-safe artificial florals are offered as wreaths, garlands, window boxes, hanging baskets, and potted foliage, allowing you to decorate different areas effortlessly.

2. Use the same type of flowers as dining table centerpieces

Complement your outdoor setting with equally beautiful flowers for your table decorating. Courtney suggests to use a floral garland down the middle of the table for an elegant centerpiece. For a more stately look, choose table flower arrangements set in a basket or container and place it just slightly off center to allow for conversation.

3. Bring in your place settings

Next, arrange your plates, napkins, flatware, and glassware. Choose tableware that suits the meals and drinks that you’ll serve, and layer as necessary.

4. Add candles for ambience

Lend a warm glow to your tablescape by arranging candles across the length of the table. Depending on the look you’re going for, it could be several taper candles or plenty of votives in clear glass jars. If you’d like one less thing to think about, Balsam Hill Miracle Flame LED candles have built-in timers so they automatically switch on at sunset and switch off at sunrise.

5. Create cozy spaces with pillows

Let your guests sit back comfortably with cushioned seats. You can also layer pillows on the ground for a low table where everyone can lounge.

Low outdoor table with pillow seats on the floor

6. Add thoughtful finishing touches

Handmade wreaths with ribbon tied on the back of a chair

Celebrating a special occasion? Tie small handmade wreaths to the back of chairs with a bit of ribbon. DIY centerpieces and table ornaments are great ways to bring your personal flair to any gathering.


How to Transition Your Gatherings from Day to Night

1. Provide ample lighting

Low outdoor table decorated with votives, fresh flowers, and pillows as seats

When entertaining outdoors at night, ensure that the entire place is well-lit. Café style light bulbs work best to illuminate wider spaces, while candles, lanterns, and pre-lit foliage can brighten up dining areas and food stations.

2. Keep your guests warm and cozy

A basket of throws and blankets for guests when entertaining outdoors

Be ready for unpredictable weather and prepare a basket of cozy throws and wraps. As the evening gets cooler, guests can grab one and keep the party going late into the evening.

3. Set up a fire pit

Outdoor fire pit with cushioned lounge chairs

Courtney points out that a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace is a popular evening entertaining spot any time of the year. Get your fire pit area ready for some cozy lounging and stories.

4. Prepare fireplace treats for your guests

Marshmallows on roasting forks and hot cocoa with marshmallows by an outdoor fire pit

Bring out your roasting forks with a platter full of s’mores makings, and complement them with warm beverages like hot cocoa or apple cider. If you’re having cocktail hour instead, pair it with a charcuterie board filled with cheese, crackers, and cured meats.


More Spring Decorating Ideas to Delight Your Guests

1. Create a fun welcome

Greet guests as they arrive with a creative display. Courtney likes to use a beach cruiser decorated with colorful accents like balloons, a faux floral window box, or a banner for the occasion.

2. Define a space for each activity

Create a visual separation between the different outdoor areas to spark interest among your guests. For instance, dress your brunch space with pastel florals and use darker flowers for your dinner setting. Then, jazz up the cocktail area with lighted twig trees and hang lanterns around the fire pit.


We hope these ideas inspire you to create wonderful moments while entertaining outdoors. For outdoor spring décor and style inspiration, visit Balsam Hill.

Want to learn more about our artificial flowers and get decorating inspiration? Check out the articles below:

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