I think it's really important for outdoor dining spaces in particular to feel a bit enclosed or delineated in some way. (like in the country living pic below) This can be easily done by a surrounding a patio or table with flowers, bushes, a pergola, an awning, outdoor curtains, etc. But something to make the area feel special, private & pretty. So, I think they should hit up the distressed plants section of Lowe's and get to it!!
I'm not sure if her friend is looking more for eating or relaxing areas, so we'll give her both. She may already have furniture but that's okay... let's have fun with this ;) I'm going to use this picnic table from http://doitbest.com/ It's only $135 and can easily be painted white or any other color. (Painted tables seem to cost more!! arg) You can find them at garage sales too this time of year... They remind me of summertime when I was little...I really think she should go with a couple of adirondack chairs. I love these white adirondack chairs for only $85 from lovemypatio.com
I do think it's important to go with wood adirondack chairs instead of the plastic ones if you can afford it because you can tell it's plastic from a mile away. (BUT I totally understand waiting for upgrades if you want the look for now for less!! Believe me, I'm SO there right now!!) And check out these painted wooden ones here in white for a steal at only $60!!!! We got ours at Kohl's when they were having a big sale for $65 each and I can't say enough how much I enjoy sitting in them.
Ok, now onto the pretty things!!! (Which is probably what my friend's looking for :) She'll probably want a rug. I LOVE this herringbone natural-looking one from Restoration hardware. (They range from $79 and up depending upon the size)
And I'm kind of going nutty over these pillows from Restoration hardware which are only $21!!!! (--They come in so many pretty colors and they're having a huge sale on outdoor stuff right now.) I've had my Restoration hardware outdoor pillows for a few years & they've held up so well, so this is a really good buy. (Home depot also has some cute ones right now but they're actually more expensive)
Ok, and I don't know if she like to lay out in the sun (i know it's so bad for you!!) but I used to when I didn't have a child (now that sounds like a joke or a dream!!!) so maybe she'd love these gorgeous RH towels as much as I do: (Again RH towels are THE BEST!!!!- barely any fading and they're so thick!) Now I think my excuse to get these might be because we have a kiddie pool! ;) ;)
If you'll be doing lots of outdoor entertaining, there is so much adorable melamine outdoor dishware & drinkware. Target always has cute stuff:
Anyway, I hope this helped a bit!!!I'm SO excited for summer & can't wait to find my rug & lanterns!!! (Don't worry, of course I'll post pics!! haha)