The Rising Trend of
Vertical Gardens

The country is going green, in more ways than one! Everywhere you look, people are finding new and interesting ways to garden. One of the more recent trends is the rise of the what is called “vertical gardening”. Entire websites and companies are devoted to the trend. For those looking to add a little more dimension to their lives, vertical gardening is the way to go.

What exactly is a vertical garden?

A vertical garden can take any number of forms and is basically any vegetation that exists on a plane other than a flat horizontal surface. It can be as simple as a tier of stacked planters or as intricate as a high-rise wall completely covered in vegetation. Classic forms of vertical gardens include those created with trellises and arbors, but today’s modern vertical gardens have grown to incorporate a variety of ideas, techniques, and materials.

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A vertical garden like this could be constructed with curtain rods, t-shirts, and a glue gun.

How do I get started?

Wherever there is a blank wall or a bare fence, there is the potential for a vertical garden. There are companies that sell pre-made pockets and planters that are specifically designed to attach to walls or fence boards. However, the ideas are virtually endless for creating homemade versions. Unique ideas include converting rain gutters into vertical rows of horizontal planters, or constructing planter pockets out of heavy-duty fabrics.

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This sloped yard was terraced to create a meandering walkway with a tailored vertical garden.

What if my yard is sloped?

Well then, you have the perfect natural setting to create a vertical garden. Any gardening you do will already be multidimensional. But if you want to create something more structured and permanent, consider terracing the slope with pavers and retaining walls to create layers of built-in planters, which will define the garden areas and, at the same time, make the space more usable.

Stepping Up to the Next Level

One of the popular trends in today’s outdoor living design is the multi-level patio or poolscape. Often, a multi-level design is simply the solution to elevation grade issues. However, adding dimension to an outdoor living space can also be a personal choice, and quite often is.

When planning a multi-level outdoor living design, there is one element of the design that requires thought, but is often overlooked…the step. There are a lot of different ways of designing steps, and here are just a few ideas to help you step up to the next level.

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Many people like the look of large natural stone steps. An economical alternative is Granika Step, which offers the look of unpolished granite in a large-format step.

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This step design used Bullnose Coping, which provides a softer edge and can coordinate with existing pool coping. For additional personalized flare, a mosaic stone design was added to the fascia of each step.

Colorful ceramic tiles were used as accent pieces on the fascia of these steps. The steps themselves were left simple, with no additional edging, keeping the focus on the tiles.

Colorful ceramic tiles were used as accent pieces on the fascia of these steps. The steps themselves were left simple and clean, with no ledge or additional edging to the Mega-Lafitt patio pavers, creating a more natural look. Notice that the paver field was left untrimmed on the sides of the patio, as well, which adds to the natural effect.

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Sweeping arches of tumbled Weston Stone that mimic the shape and look of the fire pit were used to create the steps and walls of this multi-level design. Under-ledge hardscape lights were added to the steps and fire pit seat wall to help create ambiance and enhance visibility.

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Rough-hewn Celtik Wall provides a contrasting texture and shape to the Mega-Arbel pavers in this design. Using the same wall product for the pillars, steps, and water feature ties the whole design together.

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Anglia Edger, used for curbs and garden edging, can also be used to form natural steps into sloped terrain (as illustrated above) to create picturesque earthen paths.

For more ideas, visit our Pinterest “Step It Up” inspiration board.

Wow Your Neighbors with Unique Hardscape Designs

You put a lot of personal time and effort into decorating the interior of your home to create an environment that showcases your individual sense of style. Today’s outdoor living design is all about making your outdoor spaces function as a true extension of your home as an additional reflection of your personality. So, it’s time to take that sense of individuality outdoors and create some unique looks, and hardscapes give you the ability to do just that. Here are a few idea starters.

Idea #1

Use splashes of color to create whimsical, eye-catching designs.

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Idea #2

Turn a patio into an outdoor living room with a faux rug.

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Idea #3

Create the illusion of separate rooms by using different pavers for different areas.

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Idea #4

Use permeable hardscapes to build a fountain play area.

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Idea #5

Add dimension to your design with built-in seating or planter boxes.

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Ready to create your own unique outdoor space?

Click here to find a contractor or dealer near you.

Belgard Hardscapes Showcased in Southern Living Show Homes across the South in 2014

Showcase homes and idea houses are sponsored by various magazines, builders, design professionals, organizations and manufacturers across the country to illustrate the top design trends in today’s custom homes. In 2014, Southern Living Magazine looked to Belgard Hardscapes to create stunning designer looks for a total of nine showcase homes across the south. Here is a taste from some of these stylish homes.

Southern Living Idea House – Palmetto Bluff (Bluffton, SC)

Belgard Aqua-Bric permeable pavers not only add character to the parking areas and walkways of this airy coastal-style home, they also filter pollutants from stormwater to help protect the three rivers that surround the development. In a separate and unique interior application, Lafitt Grana Slab added a rustic touch to the mudroom, powder room, and multi-purpose “clutter room” off of the home’s kitchen.

Creative Home Concepts Showcase Home – Hallsley (Midlothian, VA)

The hand-cobbled appearance of Bergerac pavers provided the perfect complement for the walkways and back patio of this English-style cottage, further enhanced by the rough-hewn texture of Celtik Wall on the fire pit and surrounding seat wall. Both the front and back porches were floored with the slate-like Lafitt Grana Slab in coordinating colors to add a contemporary touch.

Wayne Harbin Builder, Inc., Showcase Home – Ford’s Colony (Williamsburg, VA)

The random flagstone appearance of Mega-Arbel pavers creates a striking look for the back patio and sunken fire pit of this colonial-style home. Mega-Bergerac provides the step ledge and complements the patio trim of smaller Bergerac pavers. Weston Stone provides the ledge fascia, fire pit and surrounding seat wall and end caps in a texture, laying pattern, and color scheme that coordinates with the home’s brick accents.

Outdoor Living Gift Guide

When it comes to gift ideas, let’s face it, some folks are tough to shop for. If you’re looking for some unique gift ideas for the outdoor living enthusiast, we’ve compiled some of our favorites for you.

ButaneHeaterTabletop Butane Heater

Enjoy your outdoor living spaces during the colder months with this attractive portable heater that operates with removable butane cylinders. With 11,000 BTUs of warmth and a stylish bronze coating, it not only adds to the functionality of your outdoor living spaces during this time of year, it’s adds character, as well.

slide1Countertop Brick Oven

Turn any countertop into a gourmet outdoor kitchen with this powerful, yet economical, brick oven. Available in either domed or pyramid styles in either bronze or silver vein, the countertop version of Belgard’s brick oven offers the flavor of wood-fired cooking with a small footprint and is available in classic wood-burning and hybrid wood/gas models.

Smores RoastingRackS’mores Roasting Rack

No fireplace or fire pit? No problem! With this specialized roasting rack that includes marshmallow skewers and a graham cracker tray, you can make s’mores on a grill or in an oven. Ooey, gooey, melty goodness…either indoors or out.

Jalapeno Roasting RackJalapeno Pepper Roaster

For those who like to kick it up a notch, this pepper roasting rack also works with either a grill or an oven and allows you to create simple, zesty appetizers by stuffing jalapenos with various types of cheeses or other savory ingredients.

Flameless CandlesRemote Control LED Candles

Light up the night with indoor/outdoor battery-operated candles, with the added convenience of a remote controller to turn them all on and off with ease. Mix and match various sizes and styles, including antique-style lanterns, to create an eclectic look.

Product Spotlight: Belgard Elements Fireplace Collection

preassembledAn outdoor fireplace makes a stunning focal point and favorite gathering spot for any outdoor living room, however building a custom outdoor fireplace can be a time-consuming and disruptive project.

Installation3The Belgard Elements collection of outdoor fireplaces have simplified the process by moving the majority of the construction to a factory setting. Belgard factory-built fireplaces are shipped in sections and quickly installed with a bobcat in a matter of hours, as compared to the days or weeks it would take to build one from scratch on site. This efficient construction process not only greatly reduces the installation time, but reduces overall costs, as well. Each fireplace is available in wood-burning, natural gas, or liquid propane configurations, and each line in the Belgard Elements collection also includes coordinating pieces that can be used to create a cohesive outdoor living design, like outdoor kitchen units, wood boxes, and water features.

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Belgard Elements Bristol FireplaceBristol Fireplace

The Bristol Series is constructed with tumbled Weston® Stone walls with architectural accents of Arbel® and Urbana® Stone pavers. The rustic look of the Bristol line blends well in any landscape. Coordinating pieces include an arched hearth, wood boxes, brick oven, grill island, water features, and more.

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Belgard Hardscapes 2009 PhotographyBrighton Fireplace

For those who like the look of Bristol, but are looking for a more economical alternative, the Brighton Series is also constructed of Weston Stone, but offers simpler accents and features a smaller, built-in hearth. The Bristol fireplace is available with or without the chimney top and offers optional matching wood boxes.

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Belgard 2012 ~ Northfield BlockBordeaux Fireplace

The latest addition to the Elements line, the Bordeaux Series marries sleek contemporary styling with rustic charm by combining the stacked-stone appearance of Lamina® Stone with the limestone accents of Cordova Stone™.  Coordinating pieces include a grill island, wood boxes, and a brick oven.

For more information on Belgard Elements Fireplaces, click here to find a contractor or dealer near you.