Introducing the New & Improved Belgard.com

We’re excited to announce that after many months of strategic planning, design and testing, we have launched the new Belgard.com site. The site was redesigned to be a better tool for serving both homeowners and outdoor living professionals. After all, Belgard is not only a portfolio of high-quality products, but a partner and a resource for your outdoor projects. With that in mind, our new site offers easier navigation with personalized images of products available in your area, plus more of everything you need to plan and create amazing outdoor living spaces. Below are some of the features you can expect from the new site.

Getting Started

Embarking upon an outdoor living project can be a daunting task. Our GETTING STARTED section offers answers to frequently asked questions, as well as sections on RESEARCH to consider before you begin planning, INSPIRATION galleries of photos and videos, PLANNING basics and considerations, and BUILDING and maintenance considerations.

Comprehensive project planning guide

The new Belgard Project Guide walks you through the process of completing an outdoor living project, from gathering inspiration to choosing materials and finding a contractor. This handy tool will help you to know exactly what to expect before you get started. Download it today or order a printed copy.

Online Project Visualizer

Get ready to visualize the possibilities with our interactive Project Visualizer, which offers both a library of project ideas, as well as the ability to upload photos of your home and yard. Easy-to-use tools allow you to experiment with different paver styles and colors, and then save or share your creations.

Contractor & dealer locator

Sometimes, one of the most difficult aspects of completing an outdoor living project is finding a qualified contractor you can trust to bring your vision to life. Our Contractor & Dealer Locator can help you find Belgard Authorized Contractors near you who are certified by industry organizations in proper installation techniques and adhere to our rigorous standards of professionalism.

EXPLORE OUR NEW WEBSITE

NEXT WEEK:  Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog next week for an exciting new product announcement.

Why Permeable Pavers are a Growing Trend in Outdoor Design

The HGTV® Dream Home 2018 is outfitted with Urbana® Stone permeable pavers on the walkways, fire pit patio and driveway to help protect neighboring Henderson Bay from potential pollution from stormwater runoff. (Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

Words like “sustainable” and “responsible” continue to grow in importance with today’s consumers as we collectively become more conscientious about how our actions affect the world around us and the legacy we leave behind. However, we still wish to enjoy our time on this planet.

Enter the permeable paver. Permeable pavers give homeowners the opportunity to create eye-catching, livable outdoor spaces that actually improve the environment and allow us to leave the world better and more beautiful than we found it.

The technology is ingeniously simple. Permeable pavers are laid on multiple layers of crushed stone, and the joints between each paver are filled with smaller aggregate. This design allows water to instantly drain through the joints and percolate through the layers of aggregate below, where any impurities are trapped before water seeps into the ground and returns to local waterways. To create the ultimate sustainable patio, driveway or walkway, the system can be designed to collect and recycle rainwater for irrigation and other purposes.

And here’s the best part…in many states and municipalities with water conservation and stormwater management initiatives, there are often grants or tax incentives available for installing permeable pavers or a water harvesting system, which makes the idea of installing a permeable patio, walkway or driveway all the more attractive.

permeable patio design ideas
permeable walkway design ideas
permeable driveway design ideas

For more permeable paver design ideas, visit the Belgard Permeable Paver Pinterest board.

Tips for Planning a Pool Installation

Don’t let the frigid temperatures across the country fool you! If you’re planning to install a pool and want it to be ready in time for that first day of swimming season, it’s time to start the planning process. Planning and installing a pool can take a considerable amount of time, and there are a lot of different aspects to consider. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Do your homework

Do some research on the different types of pools and the pros and cons of each. Keep in mind that the specific pros and can often depend upon your location and the local environment. In-ground pools can be made with different materials including fiberglass, concrete (gunite) and vinyl. There are also different types of filtration and cleaning systems. It helps if you’ve done a little research before you start talking to contractors, so you can speak the same language and make a more informed decision.

Talk it up

Put the word out with friends and family that you are planning to install a pool and are looking for advice. Anyone who has ever owned a pool will help you navigate the waters in ways you would never have expected. Learn from the mistakes of others and pay particular attention to sentences that begin with, “I wish I had thought to….”

Get Inspired

Browse through inspirational photos of pools to get ideas on shapes, colors, trim accessories, pool deck materials and various other design elements. Keep in mind that although standard concrete decking may be a more economical option in terms of the initial construction costs, it may not be the most economical choice in the long run. Concrete slabs will crack as they settle, and concrete coatings will crack and chip off over time. Pavers, however, will last the life of your pool. For inspirational ideas of paver pool decks, visit the Belgard Pool Deck Ideas Pinterest board.

Get Multiple quotes & references

A good rule of thumb is to get three quotes from contractors who come highly recommended. Check out their references and ask if you can see photos and possibly visit the sites of pools they have built. Don’t be afraid to talk to their former clients and ask tough questions, like “What were the best and worst things about working with this contractor?” Also, realize that it’s not always the wisest to go with the lowest quote. Sometimes, you do indeed get what you pay for. That fact will likely become evident once you start checking references.  For help finding a qualified contractor in your area, visitor our Contractor Locator page.

Prioritize your “must haves”

After the initial design is planned and quoted, you’ll more than likely think of new elements you want to add on to the plan, so factor about 5-10% of contingency into your budget. Upgrades will add up quickly, so prioritize in terms of what you will get the most use out of, what you will most regret not doing, and what is harder to change or add at a later date.

For more information on trends in pool design, visit our blog on “Pool Deck & Patio Trends.”

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COMING UP NEXT:  Permeable pavers are one of the hottest trends in sustainable outdoor design. Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog to see what’s trending in permeable paver walkways and patios.

Home is Where the Hearth Is

Products: Belair Wall® (fireplace and seat wall) and Mega-Lafitt® pavers.

The outdoor living room has been one of the fastest growing trends in outdoor design over the last few years. When considering the popularity of this trend, the question arises: What’s the difference between a patio and an outdoor living room? The answer is simple: Livability.

Products: Bristol Elements™ fireplace and Lafitt® Rustic Slab pavers.

An outdoor living room is more than just a grouping of chairs with a coffee table. It’s a cozy and inviting space that evokes a sense of relaxation, a space where people want to spend time both alone and enjoying the company of others. To achieve this effect, it’s important to apply interior design techniques to creating your outdoor space.

With that in mind, what tends to be the centerpiece of most interior living rooms? The answer, of course, is a fireplace. The reason for this is multifaceted. Historically, a fireplace would be added to the living room to heat the home. But as this need diminished in necessity over the years, the popularity of an interior fireplace did not. That is because the warmth that exudes from a fireplace is not only physical in nature, but emotional, as well. Spending time in front of a fire with a loved one often creates a deeper connection with that person on an instinctual or primal level. Fire, good.

That’s why one of the easiest ways to create an emotional sense of warmth in an outdoor living room is to add a fire feature, which has the added benefit of physical warmth during the colder months, allowing you to use your outdoor living room year round. Another benefit to fire features — like fireplaces, fire pits and fire tables — is that they appeal to people of all ages. When multiple generations gather around a fire pit, the generation gap disappears, and they can all relate to one another on a purely human level. It’s no wonder that fire pits have been on the top of the “must haves” list in outdoor design for the last several years.

A fire feature, like this welcoming fire pit at the HGTV® Dream Home 2018, instantly converts a simple patio into an outdoor living room. Products: Belair Wall® 2.0 (fire pit) and Urbana Stone® permeable pavers. (photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

When adding a fire feature to an outdoor living room, be sure to leave ample space for seating and traffic because it will instantly become everyone’s favorite gathering spot. If it’s a wood-burning fire feature, it will also need to be an adequate distance from any structures, as a safety precaution. In fact, some municipalities and HOA’s have specific regulations about this, so be sure and do your homework.

To complete your outdoor living room, add other interior design touches — such as tables, accent lighting, pillows, throws and other accessories. But be warned, once you create an inviting outdoor living room, get ready for company!

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For fire feature design ideas, read our blogs on Fire Pit Design Ideas and  Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas For more design inspiration, visit the Belgard Pinterest boards.

NEXT WEEK:  Don’t let the frigid temperatures fool you. If you want your new pool to be ready for swimming season, it’s time to start planning now.

Front and Backyard Transformations of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018

Again this year, Belgard is proud to be a sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018. Located in Gig Harbor, Washington, this year’s home is a contemporary waterfront retreat overlooking the picturesque Henderson Bay, an inlet of Puget Sound.

As the official hardscapes sponsor, Belgard is excited to walk you through the dramatic transformation of the home’s outdoor living areas, which now includes multiple entertaining zones overlooking the spectacular view.

Front Yard – Before

Front Yard – After

The home received a tremendous upgrade to its curb appeal. The disjointed driveway and entryway landing were demolished and replaced with an an attractive, eco-friendly permeable paver system. Urbana® Stone permeable pavers were laid in a modular ashlar pattern to complement the contemporary architecture. The new permeable paver system will allow rainwater to infiltrate through the joints and percolate through a bed of aggregate and into the ground below. This will not only provide a safer environment by keeping water from pooling on the surface, it will also help remove impurities from any infiltrated water to help reduce pollution to the local receiving waterways. To add even more curb appeal, the driveway was trimmed with a border of Avalon Slate pavers in a contrasting darker color. Both Urbana Stone and Avalon Slate pavers have a natural stone texture, which coordinates well with the surrounding wooded landscape.

Photo: David A. Land

The design team also removed the aging raised planter bed and constructed a new planter bed using Belair Wall® 2.0 retaining wall, which features a rustic chiseled stone texture. Quarziti 2.0 porcelain pavers were used to add an elegant, finished look to the entryway landing to complement the new glass doorway and angular portico.

Photo: Thomas Espinoza Photography
backyard before
Backyard after

The deteriorating retaining walls and wooden deck were demolished and replaced. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a low-maintenance vertical garden of native plants, and a new covered composite deck was built, which includes a waterfront dining area and a stairway down to a lower landing on the water’s edge.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Urbana® Stone walkways now lead from the deck and back patio to a newly constructed fire pit paver patio. The fire pit, as well as a nearby seat wall, were constructed with rustic Belair Wall® 2.0. The paver patio and walkways are trimmed with an Avalon Slate border to provide a cohesive look that ties in with the color of the deck and the look of the driveway, thus creating a continuous design throughout the entirety of the home’s exterior.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography
Back patio before

back patio after

The existing concrete of the back patio was overlaid with Quartziti 2.0 porcelain pavers to coordinate with the entryway and provide an elegant transition from the interior spaces to the outdoor living spaces. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a built-in stainless grill.

Photo: David A. Land

For more information on the HGTV Dream Home 2018, including an aerial video of the exterior, design videos, and photos of the interior transformation of the home, click here.

To enter for a chance to win this spectacular home, click here.

The Best of 2017: Residential Hardscape Design Winners

At the 2017 Hardscape North America tradeshow held in Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. and Canada hardscape industry judged residential and commercial hardscape designs from across North America for the 2017 HNA Awards. These awards are the industry’s top honors for contractors designing and installing projects using concrete pavers, segmental retaining walls, clay brick, porcelain, and combinations of these hardscapes. Belgard was pleased to have products showcased in 12 of the honored designs, placing in 10 of the 16 categories. Homeowners planning an outdoor living makeover in 2018 can pull inspiration from the award-winning and innovative designs from these residential categories. Click on the galleries below to view slideshows of photos from each project.

WHIMSICAL PAVER PATIO

PROJECT CREDITS  Category: Concrete Pavers, less than 3,000 SF (WINNER). Contractor: Paver Designs, LLC. Designer: Justin Hampton. Product: Dublin Cobble®.

Tranquil Backyard Oasis

PROJECT CREDITS  Category: Porcelain Pavers (WINNER). Contractor: Pacific Outdoor Living. Designer: Terry Morrill. Product: Noon Porcelain Pavers

Dramatic Entrance

PROJECT CREDITS  Category: Concrete Pavers, more than 3,000 SF (Honorable Mention). Contractor: Mirror Lake Designs. Designer: Michael Shawn Kelly. Products: Urbana® Stone, Old Word Paver™.

Eclectic FIRE PIT PATIO

PROJECT CREDITS:  Category: Combination of Hardscapes, less than 4,000 SF (Honorable Mention). Contractor: Precision Landscapes. Designer: Jeremy Rose. Products: Urbana® Stone concrete pavers (primary patio), Noon porcelain pavers (fire pit patio), Weston Stone® retaining wall (fire pit, garden walls, seat walls), Arbel® concrete pavers (seat wall backrest).

Eco-Friendly Walkway & Driveway

PROJECT CREDITS  Category: Permeable Pavers (Honorable Mention), Contractor: Dominion Pavers. Designer: Sasser Construction. Product: Aqualine Series™ pavers.

NEXT WEEK:  Despite the cold temperatures, now is the ideal time to start planning a pool installation to have it ready for the spring!