When dining al fresco, creating the right ambiance in your backyard is essential. Follow these steps to make your next under-the-stars celebration shine

Today is my future mother-in-law’s birthday, and because she is sharing her birthday week with us for our wedding, we want to do something extra special.


We are surprising her tonight with a small party of our family and close friends.We will have a roast pig and plenty of sides from one of our favorite restaurants, and we will host it outside where we can enjoy the beautiful weather Hawaii is known for.

Backyard dinner parties are among my favorite things about living in Hawaii. There is something about sharing a meal and talking story, while enjoying the cool breezes and lush greenery our Island has to offer. Plus, we are lucky enough that we can do it year-round.


That’s why, when we finally got a yard of our own, we decided to be strategic. We wanted to create a place that was comfortable for us to enjoy, whether we were by ourselves or hosting a large party. If you’re decking out your space, consider some of these must-haves:



Not only will shade allow you to enjoy your outdoor space day or night, but it will also keep you covered for when the occasional sprinkles blow in. Keep in mind that draped fabric over a pergola, while relatively inexpensive, will not keep you as dry — or as shaded — as a solid roof will.


When we were on the hunt for the perfect outdoor dining table and chairs, I have to admit that style was on the top of my list. Then, my fiance said armrests were a necessity. I had never thought about it before, but I couldn’t be happier that we made it a requirement. Having armrests allows your guests to settle in for more than a meal. A footrest under the table also doesn’t hurt.

Extra seating

Most dining sets come with seating for up to six people. Keep folding chairs and tables at the ready, for when you host larger parties.



Layered lighting works well. If you can hang a light fixture above the table, keep the bulb inside a soft one. We chose a yellow-tinted version, because it’s easy on the eyes and doesn’t attract insects. We also have an extra outdoor lamp within reach of the table, in case we need more light for a board game.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.