Contractor’s Corner: Working with the Southern Living Idea House

Landscape Contractor
Landscape Contractor John Sauders proudly stands in front of the 2016 Southern Living Idea House, which opened to the public on June 25.
John Saunders
John R. Saunders III of Nature’s Edge, LLC.

Belgard Authorized Contractor John Saunders was the natural choice to install all of the landscaping and outdoor living areas of the prestigious 2016 Southern Living Idea House, which was unveiled last month in the Birgmingham community of Mt Laurel, Alabama. A lifelong resident of Birmingham, John has 23 years of experience in the landscaping industry, 15 years as owner of Nature’s Edge, LLC.

“It was exciting as a company to have our name associated with such a high-profile project,” John said. “It was a great opportunity to work with new builders and landscape architects and showcase Belgard products in this way. It’s been a fun project to be involved with.”

Hardscaped areas include a Mega-Lafitt™ paver patio with a Weston Stone fire pit.
Hardscaped outdoor living areas of the 2016 Southern Living Idea House include a Mega-Lafitt™ paver patio with a Weston Stone® fire pit (pictured above), an adjoining dining area, picturesque walkways and a paver driveway. Stay tuned for additional photos to be released in the coming weeks.

A Belgard Authorized Contractor for nearly a decade, John states that his relationship with the Belgard brand helped make the project possible for him. “Belgard recommended me and was very instrumental in helping me get the job done. My rep, Will Dowlen, was quick to respond to any of my needs and made sure we had what needed quickly. It was a very quick turnaround, and we had to make sure the house was ready for viewing and that everything was done correctly to ICPI standards.”

A full-service landscaping company that handles design, installation and maintenance, Nature’s Edge handled installation of all of the Idea House’s softscapes, hardscapes and irrigation. John says that his favorite part of the hardscape design is the Old York™ paver driveway, which was installed in a herringbone pattern with a Lafitt™ paver border.

“Old York was easy to install and gives the driveway that classic cobblestone look from back in the day,” John said. “The Lafitt pavers created a picture-frame type of border that added a modernesque feel, combining the old with the new.” Photos of the driveway — as well additional photos of all of the hardscaped outdoor living areas — will be release on the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog in the coming weeks.

Overall, John states that he’s never disappointed with a Belgard installation. “I absolutely love the product. I have installed every Belgard paver and like them all. Probably 95% of our installations these days are Belgard. Their customer service is bar none, and others just don’t have the product quality and consistency,” he said.

John adds that he also enjoys the perks of being a Belgard Authroized Contractor, including the added credibility — which he says gives him a leg-up on the competition — and access to the Belgard Design Studio, which offers free 3-D design renderings for authorized contractors.

“The Design Studio is awesome,” John said. “It helps the homeowner feel like they’re standing on their own patio. We can visualize things before they happen, but getting the homeowner to visualize it is another story. 2-D drawings are great, but 3-D is better.”

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