Enhancing Your Restaurant’s Outdoor Dining Area Using Landscaping

With summer approaching quickly after an unusually warm spring, business owners in New England were sure to see a rapid increase in patrons looking to dine outdoors. As local restaurants fight for the title of trendiest spot to eat this summer, we have a few recommendations to create a unique space for customers to enjoy.

Greenery & Plants

Studies show that incorporating live plants into your business can increase your customer’s and staff’s overall mood. With fewer call outs and higher bookings, you’re sure to have success when going greener.

  • Potted Plants and Planters Incorporate a variety of pots and planters filled with seasonal flowers, shrubs, and small trees. This adds vibrant colors and textures to your outdoor space and allows for easy changes throughout the year.
  • Vertical Gardens Install green walls or vertical gardens to maximize space and introduce a lush, natural feel. These can serve as beautiful backdrops and enhance the ambiance. How trendy as well!
  • Hanging Baskets Hang baskets with trailing plants to create a vibrant and dynamic overhead display, adding depth and interest to your space.
  • Hedges and Borders Use hedges or decorative borders to define the dining area and create a sense of privacy, making your guests feel more comfortable and secluded.

Hardscaping Ideas

Whether you are looking for more natural stone inspiration or a modern, sleek design using pavers, hardscaping adds a level of bold elegance that is hard to achieve through other facets. Here are some recommendations from our experts.

  • Stone or Brick Patios Create durable and attractive outdoor dining spaces with stone or brick patios, offering a timeless appeal.
  • Wooden Decks Build wooden decks to elevate the dining area, giving it a rustic charm and making it a standout feature.
  • Paved Walkways Construct clear and aesthetically pleasing paths leading to the dining area using pavers, stones, or bricks.
  • Decorative Gravel Paths Create casual and relaxed pathways with decorative gravel or crushed stone, adding character to your space.


Lighting is a huge part of the atmosphere for any space and can even make or break some guest’s experience. Making sure your lighting is bright enough for guests to read menus in the evening but still warm enough to create a romantic or relaxing setting is key. Its important to think about what you want your lighting to convey about your space and how it will interact with your guest’s experience. Here are a few options.

  • String Lights Hang string lights or fairy lights to create a warm, inviting glow in the evening, making the space more enchanting.
  • Lanterns Place lanterns on tables or around the perimeter for a soft, intimate lighting effect that enhances the dining experience.
  • Pathway Lighting Use solar or LED lights along pathways and borders for both safety and aesthetic purposes, guiding guests through your space.

Enhancing the Ambiance

Ambience is what we are all searching for when deciding on where we will spend one of the best parts of our day, dinner! Setting the tone for your customers to enjoy your tasteful creations is a big part of repeat guests who rave about their new favorite spot to eat. Here are some ways you can take it to the next level for your outdoor dining space.

  • Fire Pits and Heaters Add fire pits for warmth and a focal point that encourages guests to linger. Outdoor heaters can extend the usability of the space into cooler months.
  • Music and Sound Install discreet outdoor speakers to play background music, enhancing the dining experience. Wind chimes can also add a gentle, natural sound that complements the environment.
  • Privacy and Shelter Use decorative screens or dividers to create private sections within the outdoor dining area. Awnings, large umbrellas, or retractable canopies can provide shelter from sun and rain, ensuring guests are comfortable in various weather conditions.

How Design Works Can Help

By combining these landscaping and landscape construction ideas, restaurant owners can create an attractive, comfortable, and functional outdoor dining space. This not only enhances the restaurant’s appeal but also provides an unforgettable dining experience that draws in more customers.

Need help designing your space? We’ve got you covered. Our landscape architects are masters at creating atmospheric and rich experiences for homeowners and business owners alike. We specialize in utilizing our natural environments best features in combination with functional planning to create a one of a kind experience.

Contact us today for help designing your outdoor dining experience!

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