Planning Your Outdoor Living Makeover

Planning your ideal outdoor living space takes thoughtful consideration and planning, and Belgard is here to help you with every step of that process, from inspiration to completion and beyond.

STEP 1: GET INSPIRED

Before you get started, take some time to explore the options and consider what your goals are for the space. Do you want an area conducive to entertaining large groups? Are you looking for more of a quiet space to read and reflect? You will also want to consider issues like design schemes and kid-friendliness. Belgard offers a variety of tools and resources to help get your creative juices flowing:

  • Pinterest boards – Peruse an array of design ideas organized by project type.
  • Style File – Browse inspirational photos and collect ideas to save or share.
  • Project Visualizer – Upload a photo of your space and experiment with paver styles and colors.
  • Design Studio – Take virtual tours of 3D outdoor designs with fly-through animation.
  • Interactive Idea Book – Explore the world of outdoor design, including informative design trends videos and links for additional information.

planningguideSTEP 2: START PLANNING

When you’re ready to start planning your project, download our comprehensive Project Planning Guide, which offers multiple resources to help you create your outdoor living space, including info and tips on design, contractor selection, installation and maintenance. When you’re ready to start talking to contractors, visit our Contractor Locator Gallery to find a qualified designer and installer near you.

STEP 3: START TRANSFORMING

Once you and your contractor have agreed upon the design details, be sure to discuss the particulars of the installation process so that everyone is on the same page in terms of time tables, disruptions and overall expectations. Also remember to discuss any hardscape lighting needs and future improvement plans with your contractor so that adequate steps can be taken regarding the need for wiring, plumbing or other utilities. That will keep you from the headache and expense of having to rip up and replace a section of hardscapes later. Depending upon the scope of your project, you may want to warn your neighbors regarding the construction schedule if you think it might inconvenience them. Also, remember to invite them to your post-project celebration as a thank-you.

STEP 4: ADD SOME STYLE

For many people, this is the “fun” part. Modern outdoor living design mirrors indoor design trends in a number of ways — including furniture, rugs, throw pillows, lighting and decorative accessories. Enjoy filling your space with outdoor versions of all of your favorite indoor comforts, including appliances, sound equipment and tech gadgets.

STEP 5: ENJOY!

Now it’s time to enjoy living in your new outdoor space. Remember to follow these simple maintenance tips to keep your hardscapes looking as beautiful as the day they were installed.

DIY Project:
How to Build a Block Column

TOOL LIST:

  • Hand tamper
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tape measure
  • Caulk gun
  • Spade shovel
  • Stiff metal rake (for leveling gravel)
  • Yard stick or 2×4 board (for screeding sand)

MATERIALS LIST:

  • Wall blocks (quantity depends on height, will need 4 rectangular blocks per layer)
  • 20″ wall cap (if desired) or 6 additional wall blocks for cap
  • Crushed gravel
  • Bedding sand
  • Masonry adhesive

STEP 1: Prepare Base

  • Remove 6 inches of top soil (approximately 2’x2′ section)
  • Fill with 5 inches gravel, level with a rake and compact with a hand tamper
  • Top with 1 inch of sand, screed to level

STEP 2: Column Construction

  • Lay base blocks
  • Apply a layer of adhesive
  • Lay next layer of blocks and adjust placement with a rubber mallet, as needed
  • Apply a layer of adhesive
  • NOTE: Use a staggered pattern to increase column strength (see video)

STEP 3: Add Layers

  • Repeat STEP 2 until you reach desired height (maximum height 42 inches)
  • Add final layer of adhesive to the top of the stack

STEP 4: Column Cap

  • Option1: Position 6 blocks horizontally as a cap
  • Option 2: Top with a single 20″ square wall cap

Built-in Grill Design Ideas

Get cooking with some of our favorite grilling station design ideas, from simple grill islands to gourmet outdoor kitchens.

•   •   •

The Angular Look

These outdoor kitchens use multiple angles and countertops galore to create expansive grilling stations with ample prep and serving space, as well as bar-style seating.

amcor_res_bel2016_patios_outdoorkitchens_walls_lafittrusticslab_westonwall_stonegate_bristolbrickoven_001_preview

Weston Stone® clads the Bristol Brick Oven and was used to create a coordinating base to the grill station and extended kitchen, as well as the staircase leading to the back of the home, which ties the entire look together. 

Rough-hewn Country Manor® wall adds a rustic touch and was used to create an angular kitchen that follows the shape of the gazebo roofline.

•   •   •

The Classic L-Shape

With a classic L-shaped grilling station, everything you need is within arm’s reach.

mlrs_res_bel2015_outdoorkitchens_borders_lafittrusticslab_moduline_bristol_001_preview

This L-shaped kitchen unit is part of the Bristol Series of the Belgard Elements collection and is prefabricated in a factory setting and shipped in sections for a custom look that installs quickly.

anchor_c_bel2015_res_lafittrusticslab_belairwall_patios_kitchens_walls_002-1_preview

This custom L-shaped grilling station is constructed with the chiseled stone look of Belair Wall® and houses multiple storage cabinets and drawers to keep everything you need close at hand.

•  •  •

Multiple Cooking Surfaces

Gourmet outdoor chefs can’t settle for just one cooking method.

bel2016_ad_grilldaddog_002_plate_preview

With the design flexibility of Tandem® Modular Grid, this outdoor chef has it all…wood-burning brick oven, charcoal-burning Big Green Egg®, butane grill, sink and refrigerator!

•   •   •

Gorgeous Curves

Outdoor kitchens and grilling stations don’t have to follow the limited linear rules of an indoor cooking space. Get create with curvy designs.

belgard2010_nfdwimn_urbana_arbel_westonwall001_preview

Multi-level counter tops and diamond-shaped embellishments add visual interest to this Weston Stone® grilling station. A built-in umbrella stand helps protect the cook from sun and rain.

nfd_west_bel2016_res_kitchen_wall_tandemwall_001_preview

Doric columns and curved Tandem® walls add an elegant look to this outdoor kitchen.

•   •   •

Timelessness

You can’t go wrong with the classic look of brick.

A copper vent and roof add a modern twist to the traditional look of this brick grilling station and bar, which offers ample seating for guests to visit with the grill master.

•   •   •

Creative Touches

For a unique design, sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

A built-in gas fire feature adds flare to this Weston Stone® grilling station and bar.

This sunken kitchen was created using rough-hewn Celtik Wall® to retain the pool and build out the kitchen structure, which includes a grill, beverage cooler and refrigerator.

•   •   •

Grill Islands

Even when space is at a premium, you can still have an eye-catching cooking space.

expo_bel2015_res_patios_outdoorkitchens_megalibre_bristol_001_preview

This grill island from the Bristol Series of the Belgard Elements collection includes a bar top for seating on the opposite side. Embellishments of Arbel® pavers add visual interest, and in this design, coordinate with the paver patio.

anchor_c_bel2016_res_outdoorkitchen_patio_wall_mirage_bordeauxkitchen_tandemwall_001_preview

The Bordeaux Series grill island from the Belgard Elements collection has a smaller footprint and offers a stacked stone look with either a midnight (shown) or limestone countertop.

•   •   •

Multi-Media Mecca

Some folks want an outdoor kitchen that offers all of the convenience of the indoors.

Tandem® Modular Grid was used to build out this outdoor kitchen, which houses multiple cooking surfaces and outdoor appliances, as well as a built-in flatscreen TV and sound system.

•   •   •

Wood & Stone

There’s just something earthy and fabulous about combining the looks of wood and stone together. An excellent way to do that is by adding an arbor to your outdoor space, which not only helps filter the sunlight, but adds pop to your design.

Reclaimed wood creates an eye-catching arbor for this Weston Stone® grilling station.

Arbors flank both sides of this Tandem® Modular Grid cooking station, adding an interesting look and coordinating with other wooden structures in the outdoor space.

Join Us at Sunset Celebration in Cornerstone Sonoma – May 20-21

0517_celebrationwknd1Belgard is once again excited to be a part of Sunset magazine’s annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, to be held this year at Cornerstone Sonoma in Sonoma, California, on May 20 and 21. Prepare to immerse yourself in everything we love about life in the West—including gourmet food, exceptional wine and fabulous outdoor living. This will be the second year that the event will be held in the new Cornerstone location.

At this year’s Celebration Weekend, you can check out the latest in smart home technology with Sunset’s Smart Cottage home exhibit, get inspired for “glamping” with the Camp Sunset activities and display, tour nourishing Test Gardens, and attend celebrity chef demonstrations on the Outdoor Cooking Stage.

Belgard will be hosting wine tastings in our booth, which will be located by the beer garden. Our booth will be an outdoor living room featuring Mirage® porcelain pavers, a Belgard fire pit, and built-in seating constructed with Shelton Wall. The installation will be a permanent addition to the venue to be enjoyed for years to come. As a long-time sponsor of Sunset Celebration Weekend, we have been proud to provide multiple hardscape installations for this event in the past.

Cambridge Cobble® paver walkways line the gardens of Sunset magazine’s corporate grounds in Menlo Park, California.

In 2009, Belgard installed a 2,000 square foot Cambridge Cobble® paver patio for the test kitchen on Sunset magazine’s corporate grounds in Menlo Park, California, the former location of the annual Celebration Weekend. In 2011, Belgard also helped update the beauty of the grounds by replacing aged, cracked asphalt garden pathways with Belgard Cambridge Cobble® pavers to coordinate with the test kitchen. The high-traffic capacity of the paver walkways improved both the look and functionality for the annual event, which draws thousands of attendees each year.

The Belgard outdoor living room at Sunset’s Menlo Park corporate headquarters.

In 2013, Belgard installed yet another permanent addition to the corporate grounds with an outdoor living room that features more Cambridge Cobble pavers — installed in a circular pattern — and a Weston Fire Pit, surrounding with comfy built-in seating. The spot proved to be a favorite respite for many event-goers at that year’s celebration and the years that followed. The outdoor living room and fire pit to be installed at the new venue in Cornerstone Sonoma is sure to be a favorite gathering place at this year’s event, as well. Come join us for a sample of delicious wine!

Click here for info on ticket packages.

Wondering what to expect? Watch this recap video from last year.

Belgard Hits it Out of the Park at Stadiums Across the Country

Take me out to the ballgame! While football may have surpassed baseball as the nation’s most watched sport, there’s still something special about enjoying a bag of peanuts and a chili cheese dog on a breezy spring day while watching what was long considered “America’s favorite pastime.” But whether you’re planning on heading to the ballpark this weekend or in the process of renewing your season football tickets for the fall, there’s a chance you’ll be walking across Belgard pavers to get to your favorite stadium this season. Belgard is proud to have installations at multiple ballparks and stadiums across the country. Here are just a few.

University of Tennessee Neyland Stadium

Product: Aqua-Bric

Product: Aqua-Bric® permeable pavers

•  •  •

Nashville Sounds First Tennessee Park

Product: Aqualine™ permeable pavers

Product: Aqualine™ permeable pavers

•  •  •

Pan Am Plaza (Indianapolis)

Product: Moduline™ pavers

Product: Moduline™ pavers

•  •  •

NRG Stadium (Houston)

Product: Eco-Dublin® permeable pavers

Product: Eco Dublin® permeable pavers

•  •  •

US Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)

Product: Moduline™ pavers

Product: Moduline™ pavers

•  •  •

Atlanta Braves SunTrust Park

Product: Mega-Bergerac® pavers (during installation)

Product: Mega-Bergerac® pavers (during installation)

Pool Deck and Patio Trends

Modern pool design has become somewhat of an artform. There was a time when all backyard pools looked basically the same, but that time is gone. Today’s pools incorporate a variety of materials and design techniques to make each creation as unique as each homeowner. If you’re planning to build a pool, here are some inspirational ideas based on some of this year’s most popular pool and patio design trends.

Vanishing edge: The latest craze in pool design is the vanishing edge (sometimes called an infinity edge or negative edge), which produces the visual effect of water extending to the horizon.

miragequarziti_3

Pool deck: Mirage® Quartziti porcelain pavers.

Fire features: There’s just something ethereal about combining the elements of fire and water that appeals to many people on a deep level. Fire bowls, fireplaces and fire pits make an excellent addition to a poolscape, both from visual and practical standpoints, as a fire feature provides a way to enjoy your pool deck during months when it’s too cold to swim.

Water features: Water features come in a variety of styles, including waterfalls, fountains, spillways and more. The image below incorporates two different types of waterfalls: a natural stone waterfall and a spa waterfall.

Back to nature: Many homeowners choose a design that looks like it was carved out of nature. This can be achieved by incorporating natural stone, or as in the design below, concrete pavers that emulate the look at natural stone. There are a number of added benefits to choosing pavers over natural stone, including decreased materials costs, decreased installation costs and non-slip surfacing.

“Green” options: Eco-friendly design strategies are one of the top-growing trends in outdoor living. With a pool design, this can be achieve through the use of a geothermal or solar heater, as well as permeable paver decking. Permeable pavers allow rainwater to filter through the joints instead of running off into ditches and storm drains. A permeable system can even be designed to harvest and recycle rainwater.

Pool deck: Eco-Dublin® permeable pavers.

Pool deck: Eco-Dublin® permeable pavers. Patio terrace: Belair Wall®

Mixed materials: Eclectic designs are quite popular, achieved by mixing a variety of materials and styles together. The design below incorporates multiple styles of pavers, tiles and natural stone. Wood grained porcelain pavers also add the look of natural wood to the design, but offer added benefits that can’t be achieved with natural wood: durability, slip-resistance, fade-resistance and stain-resistance.

Pool deck: Catalina Stone pavers and Mirage® Sundeck porcelain pavers.

Pool deck: Catalina™ Stone pavers and Mirage® Sundeck (wood look) porcelain pavers.

Multiple elevations: Retaining walls can help control erosion, convert sloped terrain into usable space, and in the case of poolscape design below, build multi-level terraces for seating, gardens, dining areas, water features and more.

Pool deck: Mega-Lafitt® pavers. Walls and terraces: Country Manor retaining wall.

Pool deck: Mega-Lafitt® pavers. Garden walls and terraces: Country Manor® Wall.

Decorative edging: There was a time when your choices were limited to brick or bullnose coping. Keep in mind that both of those options are still popular choices. But now, creative  designs and alternate edging materials are becoming increasingly popular, as well.

anchor_n_bel2016_res_pool_border_lafittrusticslab_dublin_aquastylcoping_002_preview

Edging: Aquastyl® coping. Decorative border: Dublin Cobble® pavers. Pool deck: Lafitt® Rustic Slab

Extended outdoor living areas: Modern poolscape design tends to expand beyond the water’s edge and into extended outdoor living areas, which are often designed and decorated to look like an outdoor version of an indoor space.

Outdoor fireplace: Bristol Belgard Elements. Pool deck and patio: Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Outdoor fireplace: Belgard Elements Bristol Series. Pool deck: Lafitt® Rustic Slab.

Less is more: While some are drawn to expansive poolscapes, others are opting for a contemporary minimalist look. The design below evokes the timeless look of a classic pool with the contemporary twist of an additional modular stepping stone patio.

Pool deck and stepping stones: Mirage® Stones 2.0 porcelain pavers.

Pool deck and stepping stones: Mirage® Stones 2.0 porcelain pavers.

Lighting: One simple way to add ambiance of a pool design is to incorporate interesting lighting. This can be done throughout the landscaping and in the interior of pools and spas.

Pool deck: Dublin Cobble® pavers.

Pool deck: Dublin Cobble® pavers.