Inspiration

Outdoor Date Night Guide

August 25, 2021
Outdoor Date Night Guide

Story Highlights

Outdoor living spaces are meant to enhance our relationships with nature and loved ones. Though used mostly for lighthearted fun with family and friends, outdoor living spaces can also provide the perfect setting for romance.

In this article, we discuss ways to utilize your outdoor living space to create romance and strengthen the relationship with your significant other. We provide 16 tips and suggestions for creating a romantic atmosphere and memorable outdoor date night.

Romance is impossible if you don't...

Set the Appropriate Mood

two children wait inside the house and looking out the glass back door

If you can't get a Babysitter...

Establish a Kid-Free Zone

The moment you step out your backdoor, you have a barrier that's almost soundproof. If you can't get a babysitter for date night, establish some ground rules with your kids. Unless it's an emergency, you are not to be disturbed. Kids are often the result of romance, but they are certainly not the cause of it.

foldable outdoor screen offers privacy for your backyard space

Eliminate onlookers

Ensure Privacy

It's impossible to create romance if you feel like you're being watched (unless you're into that sort of thing). When planning your outdoor date night, you should always consider privacy. Privacy screens can be created with evergreen trees or carpentry lattice. If your space doesn't have built-in privacy, consider purchasing or making a foldable outdoor screen that can be moved around for optimal privacy.

small candle on a side table along with light from a fire place offers nice lighting for backyard

You don't want others to see, but you still need to see each other...

Ambiance of Lighting

Lighting plays an important role in creating a romantic setting. The key to adding depth and ambiance to your space is varying the intensity and source of illumination.

In an outdoor setting, illumination typically starts with low voltage lighting throughout the space. To add a fairytale glow, string lights can be hung from pergolas, arbors, trees, etc. For a final romantic touch, place candles (traditional and battery-operated) throughout the space.

gas-burning fireplace lights up the backyard seating area nicely

Literally and Figuratively...

Light a Fire

The flickering flames. The warm glow. Few things create a romantic setting better than a fire.

Whether it's wood-burning or gas, built-in or portable, make sure to include a fire feature in your date night plans.

one purple bloomed flower among all white blooms

incorporate your landscape

Pick some flowers...

A bouquet of fresh flowers can immediately change the mood of your table and outdoor living space. While one from the market or florist is great, consider a handpicked bouquet from your landscape to add a personalized touch.

Believe it or not, the stunning arrangement pictured here is composed entirely of flowers from the garden! You don't need to be a professional florist to create something special.

With the mood appropriately set...

Establish Your Date Night Plan

cocktails served on wooden tray for the outdoor space

Start the evening with a

Cocktail Hour...

Sometimes all it takes to make an evening special is a fancy cocktail or mocktail.

Use date night as a reason to try something new. Consider something tropical to help transport your mind to a faraway place. Or maybe recreate a drink from the past to help you reminisce and rekindle some romance.

For busy couples, a cocktail hour might be all you have time for. If that is the case, consider timing your cocktail hour to coincide with a sunset or stargazing to elevate the experience.

patio table set with blue and white cutlery for a dinner party

Follow up cocktails with...

Dinner for Two

Dinner outside is typically a family affair or something done with guests. Very rarely do couples enjoy a private, outdoor dinner for two.

Knowing this, take the occasion to elevate your meal to something a little more special. On this child-free evening, consider a meal that is normally avoided because it's not liked by your kids.

If you're busy or your chef skills are lacking, there's nothing wrong with ordering take-out. Consider places you typically avoid because of your kids' preferences or places that might normally be too expensive to take the entire family. You two deserve it!

mugs of hot cocoa, cinnamon and marshmallows

Finish out the evening with...

Campfire Treats

A fire should not be an option on outdoor date night. Along with creating an unbeatable ambiance, fire features open the opportunity for many fun activities.

Most notably, fire features create the opportunity to toast marshmallows, create s'mores, and sip on hot chocolate. Consider elevating these treats with higher-end ingredients and adding elements you might not consider if your kids were involved (fruit, dark chocolate, a drizzle of Bailey's, etc.).

Plan your evening around Mother Nature

be sure to take full advantage of the romantic setting that the outdoors provides.

winter sunset through the trees with a sky of yellows oranges and blues

Enjoy a sunset...

All you need is two chairs pointed in the right direction to enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Smartphones that provide a daily sunset time make it easy to plan your evening around this event.

dark blue winter night sky full of stars

Followed by stargazing...

Sink a little deeper into your chairs or snuggle closer together on an outdoor sofa to enjoy the stars as they emerge. Take it a step further and download a stargazing app to help you identify constellations and planets.

If time allows...

Elevate Your Outdoor Evening

grill island countertop decorated with cheeseboard wine and candle

Enhance your cocktail hour

Wine & Cheeseboard

If you're not a fan of cocktails, consider starting your evening with wine and a cheeseboard. If wine and cheese is your preference, you might even want to build your entire evening around them. Plan a wine tasting for you and your significant other to discover new favorites. Instead of a formal dinner, construct a hearty charcuterie board full of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, and spreads.

grill island with granite countertop full of veggies and kabobs waiting to be grilled

Ditch the hamburgers & hot dogs for

Gourmet Grilling

Truly seclude yourselves to the outdoors and prepare an entire meal on the grill.

Instead of hamburgers and hotdogs, elevate your meal and try something new. Consider grilling seafood, steak, or a combination of the two for a decadent surf & turf. Use side burners to create a complimentary sauce and grill your favorite vegetables as a side.

large hot tub installed within one corner of a pool and outdoor seating nearby

After a 30 minute wait...

Adult Swim

It's rare that couples find time to enjoy their backyard pools together. Typically, pools are most often enjoyed with kids, family, and sometimes alone, during a moment of free time. If you have a pool or hot tub, be sure to incorporate it into your date nights; there are few settings sexier or more romantic.

Don't have a pool or hot tub? Set up a kiddie pool. Whatever it takes to get you into your swimsuits!

cozy outdoor seating area under a pavilion with a tv mounted to stone fireplace

No pool? No Problem!

Watch a Movie

Put a fun twist on “dinner and a movie!” The outdoor setting will transform this cliché date into something truly unique and special. If you don’t have an outdoor television, consider a homemade setup using a rope, sheet, and projector.

Be sure to incorporate your fire feature. Make campfire popcorn and challenge yourself to turn your favorite movie candy into a s'more!

Life-size jenga on the back stone patio

Looking for something more interactive?

Play Games

Whether it's new favorites like giant Jenga and cornhole or classics like badminton and croquet, outdoor games are a great way to connect with your loved one. Assuming it's not too windy, don't hesitate to bring out cards and board games. A little friendly competition can put you in a flirty mood that is essential for date night.

The outdoors also provide the perfect setting for college favorites like flip cup and pong. If your significant other was a college sweetheart, these games could provide a fun trip down memory lane.

white Teepee tent set up on the back patio with twinkle lights and candles and wine set for a romantic evening

Make a Full night of it

Camp Out Under the Stars

If you have invested in camping equipment, get your money's worth by using it more often. For your next date night, set up your own campsite in the backyard. Pitch a tent, roll out your sleeping bags, and tell ghost stories while you roast hot dogs over the fire pit and, of course, make s’mores. You can set up for a few hours of camping fun, or have an overnight sleepover in your backyard. 

Still planning your Outdoor Space?

Check out our article on

Designing an Outdoor Space

for Romance!

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