Outdoor Entertaining Essentials

Whether it's a leisurely breakfast, an impromptu lunch, or a formal dinner party, summer makes dining al fresco infinitely enjoyable. Spruce up your backyard or patio with these 12 picks for perfect outdoor dining.

Metal Utensil Caddy

Ditching the elaborate place settings means more time in the kitchen and a more organic dinner party. Let company pick and choose by tossing utensils in this metallic caddy, a sleek and durable variation on standard plastic caddies. InterDesign Cutlery Caddy, $17.99 at Amazon.com

Mesh Food Cover

To protect your bounty from insects, cover up with this chrome mesh cover. It's great for round plates, and lets you use the time you would've spent shooing bugs enjoying your guests instead. Fox Run Brands Mesh Food Cover, $12.61 at Amazon.com

Greendale Square Floor Pillow

These waterproof, stain resistant floor pillows are perfect for outdoors--you can transform uncomfortable outdoor furniture or create an impromptu gathering on the ground. Greendale Home Fashions Square Floor Pillow, $40.78 at Amazon.com

Windowsill Kitchen Herbs

Used as a centerpiece, this herb kit becomes a source of flavor for guests around the table. Buzzy Garden Kitchen Herbs, $16.69 at Amazon.com

LED Globe Lights

Soft string lights add a warm glow to outdoor entertaining. Because these lights are LED, bugs aren't attracted to the bulbs and you can enjoy your meal in a peaceful atmosphere. Martha Stewart delivers a how-to to display your lights outside. Neo LED Warm White Globe Lights, $9.59 at Amazon.com

Organic Cotton Napkins

Cotton napkins dress-up an outdoor table and cut down on waste. These napkins are made from soft, pre-washed organic fabric and get softer with each washing. Amenity Organic Cotton Napkins, $50 at Amazon.com

Le Cadeaux Drinkware

Don't worry about breaking these cups--the light-weight, polycarbonate material is nearly unbreakable, yet maintains a fun, glossy finish. Le Cadeaux Break Resistant Serving Set, $85.99 at Amazon.com

Thomas Paul Dishes

Nautical yet modern, these melamine plates feature white marine images on a deep blue background--great for outdoor decor. Thomas Paul Scrimshaw Dinner Plates, $44 at Amazon.com

Spillproof Tablecloth

Add the perfect touch of elegance to your tabletop with this spill-proof, stain resistant tablecloth. Matching placemats top off the stylish design. Benson Mills Print Tablecloth, $11.99 at Amazon.com

notNeutral Trays

These melamine trays turn two hands into eight as numerous glasses or several dishes can easily be transported from indoors out. notNeutral Melamine Trays, $18 at Design Public

Bronzed Beverage Tub

Keep the party outside while making sure your guests are well refreshed with this beverage tub. Don't let the bronzed finish fool you--it's made of steel so it won't rust. HomeWetBar Bronzed Vine Beverage Tub, $39.95 at Amazon.com

Bamboo Utensils

These bamboo utensils are reusable like your traditional metal set but lack the bulk. Slender and lightweight, these delicate utensils are perfect for summer feasting. ThinkBamboo Narrow Handle Flatware Set, $17.88 at Amazon.com