With patios permitted to open in Halton this weekend, it’s never been more important to enhance your outdoor dining experience. Here are seven tips to create a patio that will be the talk of the town this summer:

Light it up – the most stunning patios share one thing in common – lighting! Add fairy lights to create a romantic ambiance, or vintage bulbs for a trendy vibe. Whatever you do, adding lights is a surefire way to attract diners to your patio.

Add greenery – plants and flowers add colour to your outdoor space and enhance the al fresco dining experience.

Get creative – to make your patio really stand out, find creative ways to use your space. Is there an empty wall visible? Turn it into a floral wall or other visually pleasing backdrop. People love a good photo op and before you know it, your patio will be all over Instagram.

Follow safety protocols – despite restrictions lifting, some might have reservations about eating out; put your customers at ease by following government guidelines. Halton Region has put together a helpful FAQ to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of reopening.

Weatherproof it – large umbrellas will keep customers cool and comfortable during those scorching summer days and dry when it rains (you can also use umbrellas to add colour to your patio). Outdoor heaters are also a good bet for those cooler summer nights.

Keep it clean – wash down the sidewalk regularly and clean up any litter, spills or food stains left behind by diners. Not only will this signal to customers that you’re committed to cleanliness (highly important in a post-COVID world), it will also build good-will with your neighbours.

Promote, promote, promote – if you build it, they will come? Not necessarily. Even if your patio is visible from Lakeshore, you’ll want to spread the word to people who don’t visit Downtown Oakville regularly. There are plenty of free ways to do this, whether it’s posting pictures of your patio on social media or e-mailing or phoning your regular customers to let them know.

Opening your patio soon? Let us know so we can update our What’s Open blog post!