Outdoor Living Holiday Gift Guide

For many people, outdoor living has become so much a way of life, they spend more time on their back patio than in their interior living room. For those outdoor living enthusiasts in your life, here are some of our favorite gift ideas this holiday season.

imageRain-Drum Accent Table

Rain drums, named for the pleasing sound they make when hit by raindrops, have existed in Asian cultures for thousands of years. This cast-aluminum version from Pottery Barn adds old world charm to an outdoor living room and works well as a coffee table, side table or accent table.

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imageColorful Hanging Lanterns

Decorative outdoor lighting adds ambiance to any outdoor living area. This colorful tabletop display of hanging globe lanterns from Pier 1 uses either standard wax or battery-operated tea lights to add a festive glow to any outdoor kitchen or living room. The decorative handcrafted set includes a sturdy iron base and handblown glass globes.

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imageCountertop Brick Oven

With four versions to choose from, the countertop Belgard brick oven can easily turn any outdoor kitchen into a gourmet cooking space without the time and expense of a full custom brick oven installation. The countertop oven is available in copper or silver finish with either a pyramid (shown) or dome roof line.

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imageCajun Turkey Fryer

Cajun cooking is all the rage, and no Cajun holiday is complete without a marinated fried turkey, crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. This whole-turkey deep fryer package from Home Depot has the tools to turn the average homeowner into an outdoor Cajun chef, including pot, stand, propane regulator, turkey stand, and meat thermometer.

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imageCajun Injector Kit

Either the perfect complement to the turkey fryer or a gift idea on its own, the Cajun Injector Marinade Kit includes four different marinade flavors, a marinade injector, dry seasonings and a recipe booklet. Injecting the marinade into the meat ensures that every bite is loaded with flavor.

Cherry-Smoked Turkey
on the Grill

Thanksgiving feast

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Believe it or not, it’s already time to start talking turkey. If you’re looking for a new Thanksgiving tradition this year, here’s a recipe that’s worth the time and effort. If your turkey is frozen, give yourself time to thaw it in advance. This recipe calls for a 12 lb. turkey, which should take 2 to 3 days to defrost in the refrigerator, plus an extra day to marinate per the recipe below. Please adjust defrost and cooking times as needed for a larger bird. Also, please note that the bird will need to stand at room temperature for 1 hour prior to placing on the pit, which will add to your prep time.


3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (12-pound) turkey
2 cups cherry wood chips, divided
Cooking spray
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1. Whisk together the dry seasonings (first 5 ingredients) in a small bowl. Trim excess fat from turkey. Remove giblets; set aside for another use. Loosen skin from breast by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub dry seasoning mixture evenly under and over skin. Place turkey on a pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight.

2. After the marination period, remove turkey from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 1 hour.  Meanwhile, soak wood chips in water 1 hour; drain well.

3. Light one side of grill, heating to medium heat (350°); leave other side unlit. Place 1 cup wood chips in an aluminum foil packet, and place over charcoal or heating element. Place a disposable aluminum foil pan under grill rack on unlit side. Pour 2 cups water in pan. Coat grill rack with cooking spray, and place turkey on unlit side of grill.

4. Grill turkey, covered with grill lid, 2 hours and 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°, turning turkey and adding remaining 1 cup wood chips halfway through cooking time. Remove turkey from grill; let stand 30 minutes before slicing.

Photo and recipe courtesy of time, inc.

In Honor of Our Nation’s
Servicemen and Women


Throughout the year, Belgard has encouraged customers and industry partners to join us in honoring our nation’s servicemen and women through our “Welcome Home” campaign. At Belgard, we believe home’s truest meaning can be found in the people we share it with — especially in our loved ones who serve and defend our country. So, to all those returning from service on our behalf, we have proudly said… “welcome home.”

Throughout our “Welcome Home” campaign, Belgard made donations to the USO in support of our troops in the names of homeowners who purchased our products and our industry partners who delivered and installed them. We also donated hardscapes to build projects for some of our returning heroes in order to give them something special to come home to, with total monetary and in-kind donations nearing $100,000 over the course of the campaign.

We would like to thank all who partnered with us to help make this program a success; and we thank those of you who shared your own special “welcome home” stories on our Facebook page.

As our campaign comes to a close on this Veterans Day, it is with great pride and humble gratitude that we lower our flags to half-mast, remove our hats, and salute all of the veterans throughout the history of this great country who have sacrificed to create and defend the nation we all call home.

Fall Back Outdoor Lighting Ideas

This week, we once again had to “fall back” as Daylight Saving Time came to an end. This time of year typically has wonderful weather for outdoor living in most areas of the country — no more hot steamy nights, yet not quite cold enough to send everyone scurrying indoors for warmth. But in order to take full advantage of your outdoor living space once the clock has been turned back, it’s time to invest in outdoor lighting. Here are some of our favorite modern ideas for illuminating your outdoor living space.

Illuminated planters

Flower pot by day, light source by night, illuminated planters are a chic and modern way to shed a little light on your outdoor living space. Outdoor-rated LED illuminated pots are available from a number of retailers in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Or for the DIY-er, a quick browse through Pinterest will help you generate unlimited ideas for your own unique creations.

Pendant lights

Today’s trendy outdoor living rooms and kitchens emulate the look of their indoor counterparts. One of the easiest ways to create an indoor look for an outdoor room is to install outdoor-rated pendant lights over bars, coffee tables, and dining areas. With thousands of fixtures available, design options are endless. In addition, the nature of designing outdoors allows for bolder, and more creative choices.

Hardscape lighting

If you’re planning to install pavers, garden walls, or Belgard Elements kitchen or fireplace units, be sure to plan a lighting scheme prior to installation. Low voltage lighting can be affixed directly into the hardscapes during installation to provide attractive ambient lighting throughout your outdoor living areas.

Hardscape lighting

String lights

Nothing says “outdoor entertaining” like string lights. From bare bulbs to Japanese lanterns, today’s string lights are available in a variety of motifs that complement any outdoor living design scheme and add a festive atmosphere any time of year. To put up permanent string lights, consider having an electrician install outlets into the eaves of soffits and porches with a conveniently located light switch to turn everything on or off at once.

Belgard ‘Joins the Vision!’
to Honor War Dogs


The War Dog Monument of the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park in Cedar Hill, Texas, was built to honor police and military dogs. The design incorporates Holland Stone cobble pavers for the plaza and walkway and Castle Manor™ retaining wall block for the donor walls and monument pedestal.

Four years ago, a dedicated group of individuals led the charge to save the oldest pet cemetery in Texas from extinction. Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park, located just south of Dallas, was in a state of disrepair and slated for the property tax auction block.

“There are no laws in the state of Texas that protect pet cemeteries,” said Theresa M. Brandon, founder of the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project, Inc., the non-profit created to save the property, renovate it, and maintain it in perpetuity. “This is prime property in an industrial zone, and it was a community asset that was in danger of being forgotten.”

Brandon took notice of the property’s plight following the untimely loss of her own two-year-old dog and formed the non-profit to save the final resting place of over 5,500 beloved animals, which includes a few “famous” residents, such as performance and circus animals, as well as the late actress Jane Mansfield’s dog, Wendy.  But it wasn’t enough to buy the property, Brandon needed a plan to maintain it long-term.

One of the group’s board of directors at the time, Nic Collins, developed the idea of the War Dog Monument as a way to generate awareness for the park, while at the same time honor the value that pets add to people’s lives.

“Nic was a former Air Force officer who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Brandon said. “He often transported dogs and their military handlers and recognized the special bond between man and animal.”

Brandon then created the “Join the Vision!” campaign to market the War Dog project and raise the necessary funds needed.

"Enduring Valor" was modeled after Titus, a

“Enduring Valor” was modeled after Titus, a Belgian Malinois in service with the K-9 unit of the Cedar Hill Police Department. The statue rests atop a Castle Manor™ Wall pedestal.

In 2013, the group contracted international artist Susan Bahary, sculptor for a number of war dog monuments around the world, to create “Enduring Valor,” a bronze statue in the likeness of Titus, a Belgian Malinois in service with the K-9 unit of the Cedar Hill Police Department.

“People really got on board with the War Dog project,” said Brandon, who helped garner donations of building materials from local businesses, as well as professional services from HRO Architects, Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers, E-W Associates MEP engineers, CWR Structural Engineering, and Berkenbile Landscape Architects. However, finding a hardscape contractor was a stumbling block for the project until Brandon discovered Belgard.

“We reached out to many companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and received lots of ‘yes, we’ll help you’ to only tell us later that they were sorry they couldn’t help,” said Brandon. “In desperation, I searched the internet and found Belgard and placed a call requesting information. I was told that, yes, they could help us and that their project manager would also help us locate a construction company to build the project and would stand with us until it was finished. That was music to my ears.”

Belgard production manager Chad Akin introduced the group to Josh Thomas, vice president of PavePro in Grand Prairie, Texas, and the project began to come to life in time to meet the looming deadline of the planned dedication ceremony.

“Belgard delivered exactly what they promised during a time when we needed nothing short of a miracle,” Brandon said.

The project was completed in two phases. The first phase, completed prior to the May 2014 dedication ceremony, included two arched Castle Manor™ freestanding walls that flank a Holland Stone cobble plaza, centered on the statue of “Enduring Valor.” The ceremony was quite the community event, attended by dignitaries from three surrounding cities and incorporating a parade of over 60 vehicles, live K-9 demonstrations, and a performance by the Brass Quintet from the Marine Corps Field Band stationed in New Orleans.

After additional fundraisers held by PETCO stores across Dallas/Fort Worth, the second phase was completed in September of 2015 to include a striking Holland Stone paver walkway, leading to the monument.

“The walkway, in the form of a cross, was designed to represent the hilt of a sword and travels up to the statue of the dog, which represents the blade that our police and military wield in our defense,” Brandon said.

In addition to the successful completion of their War Dog Monument, the Cedar Hill Memorial Project, Inc., also succeeded in having the park declared a historical landmark, to guarantee its protection in the future.

Fall DIY Project: Lavender Pine Cone Fire Starters

ideas for enjoying your Belgard Backyard from
Lifestyle and Entertaining Expert, Alexandra Hedin.

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The outdoors provides the perfect spot for entertaining during the crisp days of fall – but those crisp days also call for a way to stay warm. An outdoor fire is the perfect centerpiece for a fall celebration. A basket full of pine cone fire starters next to your fire pit or outdoor fireplace invites the party to continue as the evening cools down.

Homemade fire starters are easy to make. By making them yourself, you can infuse them with scents like lavender, which is a natural mosquito repellent.


Here’s what you’ll need

  • Muffin tin
  • 12 paper muffin liners
  • 1 ½ pounds paraffin wax
  • Candle wick
  • 12 dried pine cones
  • Dried lavender blossoms & sticks
  • 8-10 drops lavender essential oil


Fire Starter StepsHere’s how to make them

Step 1: Line the muffin pan with the muffin papers. Fill each paper half full with cut pieces of lavender sticks. Top each one with a few blooms.

Step 2: Wrap a short length of candle wick around each pine cone and place on the top of the lavender blooms. Make sure the wick is sticking out of the top.

Step 3: Melt the paraffin wax in a double boiler over low heat. If you don’t have a proper double boiler, fill a small pan with an inch or two of water and place a mason jar in the center of the pan. Fill the mason jar with small chunks of wax.

Step 4: When the wax has melted, add a few drops of essential oil. Gently pour melted wax into each cup until filled to the top.

Step 5: Let cool. You can leave the starters in the paper cups or remove them. The paper provides an additional point of lighting when you are starting a fire.

* Hot tip * The wax melts easier in smaller portions. Divide the wax in three equal quantities and work in batches.

For more inspiration, recipes, and crafts visit alexandrahedin.com.