Using Large Commercial Planters to Create Outdoor Dining Spaces

terracast Blog

As the country recovers from the stay at home, shelter in place orders of the COVID-19 pandemic, phased re-openings and cluster outbreaks continue to challenge restauranteurs who already face limited capacities inside their restaurants. Adding outdoor dining areas is one proven effective solution, expanding outdoor dining spaces, replacing dine-in spaces, and adhering to state and local social distancing guidelines.

Outdoor dining is taking on new meaning as restaurants expand dining areas onto sidewalks, parking lots, and, in some communities, even streets. Wherever the new dining spaces are, patios, parklets(parking lots or sidewalks), or streets closed to create community dining areas, keeping guests safe and providing a pleasing atmosphere is the priority. Whether the spaces are temporary or permanent, providing outdoor areas for dining are now a part of everyday life.

A Unique Solution

In New York City and other metropolitan areas, large planters are being used for both safety and beautification of bike paths and pedestrian plazas. Now, they can deliver similar solutions for outdoor dining areas like patios, parklets, and streeteries. TerraCast Product’s Step Planter is one unique solution. The TerraCast Step Planter can be used to section off areas from traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, creating a safe and attractive environment for dining. In addition, these planters are offered in two sizes and in any color you desire, making them the ideal solution as complementary décor for virtually any style while dividing space and creating the needed barriers.

TerraCast boasts the Step Planter was crafted from the concept of a NYC planner who wanted more style than the traditional taper vase planter. Made of polymer resin, the Step Planter is durable and long-lasting, as both planter and barrier. Plus, because these planters are lightweight and maintenance-free, they are perfect for patios and parklets where local requirements may require them to be moved and stored after each business day. You can find a large grouping of Step Planters at Union Square in NYC.

Meeting the Guidelines for Planters as Barriers

In many localities, city code requires planters used as barrier elements must meet certain guidelines including:

  • Must be removeable
  • Must be clean and well-maintained
  • Must be a minimum of 18 inches wide
  • Must be no more than 36 inches tall

In addition, many cities have waived fees for al fresco dining and cut the red tape which often comes with applications as eateries expand outward to patios, parking lots, city sidewalks, and even streets. The loosened regulations have come to help restaurants and local economies recover following the coronavirus quarantine shutdown. For eating establishments, outdoor dining, which requires minimal costs to implement, may be the much-needed key to survival.

Designing Patios, Parklets, and Streeteries for Ambiance and Diner Safety

Outdoor dining offers restauranteurs the opportunity to serve more guests, while ensuring safe social distancing. Even so it brings additional challenges in the way of protecting diners from drivers. Planters are the perfect solution, defining outdoor dining space, allowing owners to get creative with space, all the while creating barriers to keep everyone safe from traffic while enjoying a meal.

Parklets and streeteries, like those featured in the Parklet guide by Parkade,  offer functional al fresco dining options, where none existed before, in parking spaces, on sidewalks, and even city streets. Parkade’s guide promises to divulge parklet and streetery design options and advice as well as safety guidelines and costs for set up. In the guide you will discover how the use of outdoor planters can deliver ambiance, welcoming diners inside, while also acting as safety barriers. TerraCast polymer resin planters do double duty, complement any décor and because they are so lightweight and durable, they can be moved as needed. The planter barrier features plants for atmosphere while surrounding and protecting diners at their tables.

Patios function in much the same way, protecting the outdoor dining area from intrusion by pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Planters with seasonal flowers enclose the patio, deliver natural beauty, block unsightly views, reduce street noise, and provide intimate spaces for groups of guests.

When you are ready to transform your outdoor spaces into al fresco dining, TerraCast Products can help, not only with planters, but also seating, lighting, and more.