There are many reasons we all choose to live in Missoula, one of which is that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. With the extreme heat we’ve been having lately, it’s been a little hard to get outside and really enjoy the outdoors. If you wait until the cool of the evening, you can enjoy a great meal and a view outside your own back door. Here are a couple tips to help make your outdoor dining experience extra special.

  • Table manners - A cheap folding table can be transformed into an elegant table for a midsummer night's meal when garnished with a crisp white tablecloth. It’s a little touch of Paris in Missoula.

    Photo courtesy of susanvg/flickr

  • Organic edible décor - Try clay pots planted with fragrant herbs, instead of the usual flowers in a vase for a centerpiece. This is a little bit of rustic table décor.

    Photo courtesy of eelke dekker/flickr

  • Mismatched elegance - Use all types of chairs―take some from inside your house or borrow old chairs from a neighbor. Give them all matching seat cushions and no one will know this eclectic set wasn’t meant to be.

    Photo courtesy of Bonds eye/flickr

  • Reuse and renew - Serve water from old wine bottles that have had the labels removed instead of pitchers. You can also drink your water from wine glasses. This gives your meal just a touch of class.

    Photo courtesy of Aris Gionis/flickr

  • Dig in to deliciousness - Use nice dish towels in place of napkins when serving messy foods like ribs, burgers, corn on the cob or watermelon. Make sure your towels are darker in color as they hide stains better.

    Photo courtesy of KateWares/flickr