Product Spotlight: Mirage Pavers

Mirage® Ardesie Pavers

Mirage® Ardesie Pavers

Belgard recently partnered with the leader in Italian porcelain tiles to bring the Mirage® Porcelain Paver to the U.S. market on a national scale, bringing European outdoor living design options to the modern American home. Mirage allows homeowners to create an exterior design that is an expansion of the interior space, which is a common design trend today. An added benefit is that the outdoor porcelain paver line complements the Mirage indoor tile line, as well as a lines of wall veneers, pool coping, and stair steps, which allows for the development of harmonious, flowing designs.

Mirage® Quarziti 2.0

What exactly is a porcelain paver?

Mirage porcelain pavers have a similar look to indoor tiles, but are thicker and more durable. Indoor flooring tile is typically about 1/2 inch thick, whereas Mirage pavers are available in 3/4 inch thickness for patios and walkways and 1-1/4 inch thickness for driveways. More economical than natural stone, Mirage has a non-slip surface and won’t absorb stains like travertine. Mirage is also resistant to breakage, fading, and the corrosive effects of rain, pool chemicals, deicing salts, and other chemical agents.

Mirage® Sundeck Pavers

Mirage® Sundeck Pavers

Design Options

Mirage pavers are available in a variety of interpretations of stone, wood, and concrete textures, as well as a variety of modular shapes, with many large stock sizes that coordinate with today’s design trends for larger pieces. Additional designs and sizes can also be special ordered, including large slabs for steps and outdoor kitchen countertops.  Mirage also provides the unique installation flexibility to install over sand, grass, gravel, or concrete.

Maintenance Consideration

The true beauty of Mirage is that it’s virtually maintenance free and incredibly durable. It wards off all stains including red wine, acid, and oil. The color will never fade, and it never needs to be sealed. There is only minimal color variation from unit to unit, unlike with natural stone, which can vary greatly. And unlike natural stone, Mirage won’t discolor or allow moss or mold growth. Ten years from now, if you want to add a section, the color will match. If a paver should crack or chip, it can easily be removed with a special tool and replaced. Mirage can be cleaned using any type of cleaner and can withstand pressure-washing without deterioration of the finish. Mirage is also frost free and resistant to thermal shock caused by freeze and thaw cycles in colder climates.

Mirage® Officine Pavers

Mirage® Officine Pavers

Belgard Helps Turn Back Time
for Historic Home

Confederate Home Before and AfterWayne Goodall is known in McKinney, Texas, as The British Builder, a transplanted British native who specializes in historic home renovations. One of his recent projects involved renovating the historic home built by Civil War Veteran, General Elbert Wiley Kirkpatrick, in 1880. In addition to his civic and military leadership, Gen. Kirkpatrick was also known for horticultural work with various fruits and nuts, including his patented Elberta Peach tree.

Goodall’s restoration of this historic home included extensive interior and exterior renovations, as well as multiple hardscape and landscape installations. The home gained a significant amount of curb appeal with a new gabled roof, picket fencing, and paver driveways that flank both sides of the home. The cobbled look of Bergerac® pavers complement the picket fencing to add an air of sophistication with old world charm. Bergerac pavers continue to the outdoor garage, located at the back of the property, and connect with a backyard outdoor living area that includes a Bergerac paver patio with a circular brick fire pit and surrounding curved brick seat walls, which tie in with the look of the home’s brick chimney. A tailored stained wood privacy fence encloses the backyard with the help of arched wrought iron gates. The combination of building materials in the outdoor living area work together to create an eclectic, homey feel that bridges the past with modern design.

For this upcoming Christmas season, the home will be open for tours during the 42nd annual Chestnut Square Holiday Tour of Homes, which is planned for December 5 and 6 and expects over 2,000 visitors over the course of the weekend.

For views of the home’s renovated interior and expansive porches, click here.

Fall is the Perfect Time for a Backyard Movie

MovieNight_TALENT_005_renditionideas for enjoying your Belgard Backyard from Lifestyle and Entertaining Expert, Alexandra Hedin.


Movie nights are a fabulous way to entertain guests of all ages – especially when they can be hosted outdoors. Setting up a movie night is as simple as a large white sheet and a projector. Turning a basic movie night into a fabulous event doesn’t take much more than decadently flavored popcorn made on the grill!

The Set Up

Arrange outdoor seating around an area where you can easily hang a large white sheet. Between two trees or against a wall is often the simplest. When arranging chairs, be sure to place them around each other and not in front of each other. For additional seating in front, add large pillows. Low tables around the seating area will keep treats and beverages nearby.

The Popcorn

Perhaps the most important part of any movie night is popcorn! There’s no reason to move your popcorn making indoors. A simple cast iron pan and a metal strainer become a perfect popcorn popper for your outdoor grill!

Here’s what you need

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Metal strainer
  • ½ cup Popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • Butter
  • Candies, toppings, salt

Here’s how you do it

Step 1: Warm the cast iron pan over high heat.

Step 2: Add oil and popcorn kernels to the pan.

Step 3: Cover the pan with a strainer and shake the pan back and forth.

Step 4: Continue shaking the pan as the kernels pop.

Step 5: Once the popping has slowed down, turn the heat off and shake the pan for one more minute.

Step 6: Remove pan from grill and pour popcorn into a bowl. Top with butter and favorite toppings while still warm.

*Hot Tip* Warm butter on the side of the grill while the popcorn pops so it’s ready to pour over the popcorn when finished.

•  •  •

Looking for some decadent popcorn flavors? Try these:

Backyard-Movie-1Buttered Pecan

In a dry cast iron skillet over high heat on the grill, toast 1 cup of chopped pecans for 3-5 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally to brown the nuts evenly. When nuts are browned, add ½ cup butter and reduce heat to medium/low. Swirl the pan to allow butter to melt evenly and pecans to be coated with melted butter. Pour over 2 cups of popped popcorn and toss to coat.


While the buttered popcorn is still very hot, toss with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup Golden Grahams cereal, 2 cups mini marshmallows, and 1 cup chocolate chips. Cover with a lid to let the chocolate and marshmallows melt a bit before serving.

Cinnamon Roll

Gently warm 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour over warm buttered popcorn and toss to coat.

For more inspiration, recipes, and crafts visit

DIY Outdoor Decorating Ideas

Be your own exterior decorator! Create an outdoor living space that feels more like an extension of your home with these simple and inexpensive do-it-yourself projects.

Recycled CratesRecycled Crate Creations

Wooden palettes and crates can be cleaned up and re-purposed for a number of uses. Create rustic shelves, end tables, coffee tables, planters and vertical gardens with ease. Ideas for fabulous crate creations are merely a Pinterest click away. To avoid potential injury, be sure to secure any loose nails and sand any rough areas or edges.

Candles2Let There Be Light

Adding ambiance to any outdoor living area is a simple as adding a variety of candles of various sizes. For additional character, convert eclectic vases into unique candle holders. Metal vases like the ones pictured here allow the candlelight to create interesting textures in evening light. Consider flameless candles with built-in timers, so your comfy space is waiting for you each evening.

BirdhouseMemento Mosaic

Can’t bear to throw away your grandmother’s platter, even though it’s chipped? Break it up into pieces to recycle it as a mosaic outdoor project like a tabletop or a decorative item. This birdhouse was created with the remnants of a pottery water pitcher that survived the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. Broken pottery pieces were glued to a basic birdhouse that was purchased from a crafts store, and the roof shingles were cut from pine cones and glued in layers. Whimsical drawer pulls added a finishing touch.

Hardscape photography for manufacturer Belgard located in Kansas, Missouri and NebraskaSplashes of Color & Comfort

Break up a monotone design with colorful pillows of various shapes, sizes, and colors. For longevity,  purchase waterproof fabric or treat fabric with waterproofing agents. Don’t know how to sew? That’s what fabric glue for! If you can cut a straight line, you can make a pillow. Construct pillows inside-out, leaving a small section open to flip the pillow right-side out. Stuff the pillow and secure the opening. Voila!

Recycled WindowTurn It Into a Planter

All sorts of things can be recycled to create interesting container gardens. Here we have a barrel that has been re-purposed as a planter and an old wooden window as a decorative element for a planter box. Another idea is to create an arbor with an old wooden ladder. Secure the length of the ladder along a wall and hang potted plants from the rungs.

Recipe of the Month:
Grilled Dessert Pizza

Looking for a new and different idea for this year’s Labor Day celebration? While the grill is still hot, throw on a Grilled Dessert Pizza for a sweet ending to your cookout. Smokey, fruity, flakey, nutty, and chocolaty..a winning combination for any family gathering. For a fun family activity, let the kids help place the fruit toppings in step 4. But you might want to have a little extra on hand, in case they’re tempted to sample while they work!


  • 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup drained canned mandarin orange segments
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, optional


1. Preheat grill to medium. Lightly mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with flour. Place white chocolate in a bowl and set over a small pan of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water). Cook, stirring often, until white chocolate has melted.

2. Press and stretch dough to form a 14- to 15-inch round. Place dough on prepared sheet, place on grill, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until crust is puffed and golden. Using tongs, flip dough over and cook for about 3 minutes longer.

3. Sprinkle dough evenly with chocolate chips, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover grill and cook 2 minutes, until chocolate chips have melted. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread chocolate evenly over dough. Using tongs or spatula, transfer pizza to a large cutting board.

4. Scatter berries and orange segments over pizza. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Dip a fork into bowl with melted white chocolate and drizzle over pizza.

Photo: Kate Sears; Styling: Susan Vajaranant (courtesy Time Inc.)

Using Walls to Create Intimacy

Whether working with a large open space or a diminutive courtyard, creating a sense of intimacy in outdoor design can often be illusive due to the inherent openness of the outdoors. However, through the use of dimensional design elements, such as Belgard retaining and freestanding walls, an intimate outdoor nook can be merely a garden wall away.

Belair Wall® was used as a retaining wall for erosion control on this sloping landscape, but also provided an element of privacy and a backdrop for a cozy outdoor living room. Wall sconces were affixed to the wall in a random pattern to soften the look of the stone and awash the conversation area in candlelight.

Create a Feeling of Closeness

Adding walls to an outdoor design, whether an 18 inch seat wall or an 8 foot retaining wall, will help to develop a feeling of closeness, which is the first step to creating an intimate nook. It works well to design with walls around 18-20 inches in height. This size wall offers multiple uses and can define an area without creating a boxed-in feel, while at the same time offering additional seating for large gatherings.


Celtik® Wall provides the structure for this sunken kitchen that was installed below the water table of the adjacent in-ground swimming pool. The wooden arbor adds an organic feel, affording both shade for the sitting area and open venting for the fireplace and grill.

The Organic Rule of Thumb

If an outdoor space looks cold and uninviting, odds are there are not enough organic materials mixed into the design. Elements like wooden arbors or various levels of vegetation can add texture, provide shade, soften the space, and add to the feeling of closeness. Wood, either painted or natural, makes a space more inviting. Stone adds richness, but organic materials add comfort.

The ultimate in organic design includes incorporating the elements of water or fire. There’s nothing more intimate than a fire pit. It touches people of all ages. Place a 6-year-old girl, a teenage boy, and a 70-year-old man around a fire pit, and they’ll sit and tell stories to each other for hours. And in the summer, you can add a plastic liner, fill the pit with ice, and use it as a drink station. No matter what time of year, it will be everyone’s favorite spot.

Use Elevation and Dimension to Your Advantage

A sloping landscape, although attractive, can typically be unusable space. Belgard products can be used to create a terracing effect. By combining steps, pavers, planters, and retaining walls, you can create a series of planes at various elevations that now become areas of usable space with walls that can be used as a backdrop for an intimate nook. And, you can do all of this without concrete footers, which eliminates a lot of the costs, code issues, and headaches of masonry.

Even consider how pattern integration in your paver design can complete the look. By varying color, texture, or pattern, pavers can further define the perimeter of the nook or create a rug-like design to add to the cozy feel.

By adding a Brighton Elements outdoor fireplace with water features to this bare wall, a nondescript patio became an intimate outdoor living room. Laying the Bergerac® and Urbana Stone® pavers in a rug configuration added to the cozy feel of the room.

Lighting is Key

Whether your intimate nook is next to the back door or at a destination location across the property, proper lighting is a key component to completing the design. Lighting should be bright enough to allow for visual comfort in the darkness without overpowering the space and ruining the mood.

Texture creates intimacy, and proper lighting will enhance texture at night. If you uplight a stone wall, the texture is incredible. It gives a warm feel and draws you out into the space. But, even some low voltage lighting can be too intense if placed improperly. You want to bathe the space in gentle light without blowing it out.

By enclosing this exposed firepit with a Weston Stone wall,

Enclosing the exposed firepit with a Weston Stone® wall created a sense of intimacy for this remote space. Low voltage hardscape and landscape lighting adds ambiance and safely leads guests to the fire nook.