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3 interesting outdoor table centerpieces perfect for dinner outdoors

Your al fresco dinner party is shaping up to be stellar. It’ll be filled with all your favorite people and all your favorite foods. You have your dinnerware and glasses, your tablecloth and napkins, and now, the only thing you need to turn an average set up to a truly amazing table is the perfect centerpiece.

When dining outdoors, your centerpiece options are extensive, ranging from a traditional floral arrangement to a dramatic ice sculpture. Check out these unique centerpieces that are sure to get people talking at the table and well after the event has ended. 

Floral outdoor table centerpiece 

For the traditional route, elevate your flower arrangement with a few small upgrades. Make the bouquet more dramatic by placing it in a large, vibrant, uniquely shaped vase. Pay attention to detail and match the style of your flowers to the event itself. For a simple, casual gathering, opt for bouquets of gerbera daisies, sunflowers, or wildflowers. An engagement party? We recommend lush bouquets of roses, peonies, and greenery to up the romance.

For a different take on the common floral centerpiece, consider this rustic one. This piece uses a hollowed-out log as the container and an array of dainty wildflowers and greenery as the bouquet. Fill in sparse areas with clover or other types of ground cover to keep the arrangement lush and full. Add a personal touch and fill the log with flowers picked directly from your own garden. This will create an outdoor table centerpiece that’s integrated with the entire yard.

Fruits take center stage

Summer is a perfect time to incorporate fruit into your table setting. After all, summer offers a bounty of colorful ripe fruits and veggies, all bursting with color and delicate fragrance. Our favorite fruit for outdoor table centerpieces is lemons. With their bright yellow color and tantalizing citrusy smell, lemons enhance any casual backyard event. 

You can create a beautiful centerpiece in just minutes using nothing but your favorite fruit. Create a vertical centerpiece with clear glass cylinders of varying heights, filled from top to bottom with ripe lemons and limes. Otherwise, pick an oversized bowl overflowing with brilliant and fragrant citrus fruits. Integrate farmhouse-style elements using a plain white wooden crate filled with lemons, white blossoms, and sprouting greenery. Simple, easy, and quietly elegant. 

Something Different

Flowers are expected, and fruits are seasonal. So, what if you want to create a DIY centerpiece that doesn’t include either? This is a great opportunity to try something out of the ordinary for your outdoor table centerpiece. Particularly if you’re hosting a ‘themed’ event, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate something that’s neither flora nor fauna. 

Here are a few ideas you might want to try.

  • Clear glass cylinders or ‘goldfish’ bowls can be filled with colorful sea glass, delicate shells, or sand, then topped with a votive candle to create a beach-ready centerpiece that will be sure to impress your guests. 
  • Hosting an evening gathering? Create a centerpiece of candles in varying colors, shapes, and sizes. The trick is to have an array of short, tall, wide, and thin styles, housed inside hurricane holders to protect them against the wind.
  • Create a centerpiece that’s pretty enough to eat… and then follow through by doing just that! A cupcake tower, fondant-covered tiered cake, open-top boxes of iced cookies, or jars of colorful candies, are all desserts that are pretty enough to put on display, and they will keep your guests excited for the final course. Be mindful of the weather and don’t put out anything that’s prone to melting. 
  • Give new life to empty wine bottles by adding LED cork lights inside. For optimum effect, choose bottles (with the labels removed) of different shapes and colors, then arrange them in a cluster at the center of the table. It’s a simple and easy centerpiece to make, but one that always gets rave reviews.  

When hosting an event, it’s all about the details. These few outdoor centerpiece ideas will inspire you to think outside the box and DIY something that will truly be a conversation piece. Without spending a fortune at the florist, you can create something just as spectacular on your own. All you need is a little imagination.  

Editors' Recommendations

Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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