The primary benefit of installing a hardscape patio is the lasting beauty. But because you know it’s going to be there for a very long time, it’s important that you put a good bit of thought into the design. You want to make sure that the space will reflect your personality, as well as suit your functional needs. Below are some inspirational ideas for fabulous hardscape patios using Belgard pavers and wall products to reflect a wide variety of personal styles.
The overarching theme of contemporary outdoor living design is to apply interior design techniques to create outdoor rooms. We see this in every aspect of outdoor living, from furniture design to light fixtures to decorative accents. It’s all part of the effort to truly live in our outdoor spaces with the same comfort, style and ease with which we live in our indoor spaces.
When planning an outdoor living design, one idea to consider is utilizing paver patterns to reinforce the “room” concept. This can be done in a number of creative ways. Think of how you would use carpet or area rugs to define or accent certain living areas, and then apply those concepts to paver design. Here are some of our favorite examples of this type of paver pattern application.
Fireplace Area Rugs
A cozy living room is traditionally characterized by grouping furniture over an area rug near the fireplace. This look can be achieved outdoors by varying paver tone, texture and shape into an integrated design that mimics this look.
Creating Separate Rooms
Indoors, flooring material or pattern often changes when you step from one room into the next. For example, the kitchen may be floored with ceramic tile, and the living room may have wood flooring. Or sometimes, the same material is used, but the laying pattern changes as you cross the threshold. This technique can be done outdoors to create the illusion of separate rooms.
The Outdoor “Foyer”
Turn an open patio area into a grand outdoor foyer with contrasting colors and textures that create the look of a large decorative area rug. This concept can also be used to simulate an entryway runner that leads from one outdoor room to the next.
Defining Conversation Areas
In a large room, area rugs can be used to divide the space into smaller, more intimate conversation areas. The same can be done in an outdoor room. Place a paver “rug” where it makes sense to position a furniture grouping. For additional flare, a fire pit can be placed in the center of the design, creating the look of a flaming coffee table.
Contemporary block patterns, contrasting colors, arches and swirly designs can be used to emulate the look of designer carpets and area rugs. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Another idea is to incorporate grassy areas into your design to add the textural look of shag. This can be done in the form of a runner or as an integrated element of a faux rug design.
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.
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 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.
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.
When designing a pool, the options often seem endless. Pool decking can be done with any number of materials — poured slab, tile, natural stone, brick, wood — so why choose pavers?
There is no pool decking material that is more durable than pavers. Wood will fade and splinter, slabs will crack, brick will shift and crack, and natural stone can splinter or break. Belgard pavers have a lifetime warranty and are highly resistant to cracking or deterioration caused by exposure to foot traffic, sun, pool chemicals, or salt. On the odd chance that a paver does get damaged, it is easily replaced.
Bare feet on a wet surface can quickly become a dangerous scenario. Tile and natural stone often get slippery when wet. Belgard pavers have a slip-resistant surface, no matter how wet they get.
Pavers are incredibly beautiful and allow for a variety of design options. Whether trying to create a natural look that blends into lush landscaping, or seeking a tailored look to coordinate with an ultra-modern architectural style, there is a paver to fit the bill. Pavers also work well with other hardscapes to develop a cohesive design. By blending pavers with retaining walls, a design can include steps, garden walls, and an outdoor kitchen that all blend together as one functional outdoor living design.
Belgard offers a number of thinner profile pavers that can overlay an existing concrete pool deck to bring new life to an old pool for considerably less cost than removing and replacing the decking. Click on the image below to see how this rundown pool was transformed by overlaying the deck with Lafitt™ Rustic Slab.
Over the last few years, one patio design trend that continues to grow in popularity is the increased size of patio pavers. Although the classic styles of smaller cobble and brick pavers still have a strong following, particularly in neighborhoods with more traditional architecture, homeowners with contemporary architecture have a tendency to lean towards the fashionable lines of larger pavers. Some attribute the style shift to the European and Mediterranean design influences that have been infiltrating American architecture and both interior and exterior design for the last couple of decades. Others attribute the shift to the design strategy of using larger pavers to make a smaller outdoor space appear more spacious and less cluttered. Whatever the reasons, large-format pavers have become an undeniable trend in contemporary patio design.
Back to Nature
Likely driven somewhat by the green movement, as well as European design influences, many homeowners are drawn to the look of natural stone. Belgard offers a variety of large format pavers that emulate the look of natural stone, with the added benefits of reduced costs and increased durability. Many Belgard pavers and retaining wall products are created by scanning natural stone with a 3-D scanner and using the dimensional imagery to create molds to produce hardscape products that mimic the look and texture of slate, flagstone, or hand-chiseled rock. But unlike natural stone, pavers can be laid in a pattern that deceptively looks random but installs much more easily.
Mega-Arbel®: Mega-Arbel offers the texture, shape, and random look of natural flagstone to create outdoor spaces that flow into the surrounding landscape. Each irregularly shaped stone is roughly 15″x21″ and fits together into a cloverleaf pattern that installs more quickly than natural flagstone. False joints create the illusion of randomly-laid multiple sized pieces, including large stones that meet the needs of contemporary design trends.
Mega-Lafitt™: The most natural-looking texture in a modular paver, Mega-Lafitt offers the look of hand-cut stone in a modular paver. Various modular shapes, including a large piece that is nearly 16″x16″, allow for a great deal of design flexibility that works well with a variety of architectural styles.
Lafitt™ Rustic Slab: With the look of natural slate, Lafitt Rustic Slab offers the modular lines of Mega-Lafitt, but with a less rugged texture and larger pieces, the largest of which is roughly 15″x23″. Lafitt Rustic Slab has the added benefit of the ability to overlay an existing concrete patio, making it ideal for backyard makeovers.
Sleek Contemporary Style
Although some gravitate to the natural stone look, others prefer more of a postmodern or avant-garde style, with sharp or clean lines. Belgard offers two paver lines that coordinate well with this type of design.
Mirage® Porcelain Pavers: Imported from Italy, Mirage Porcelain Pavers are the latest addition to the Belgard paver line and offer the utmost in ultra-contemporary outdoor living design. With over 40 interpretations of stone, concrete and wood (yes, wood) designs, these pavers come in standard sizes up to 24″x24″ — 18″x36″ in some markets — with the option to special order larger pieces.
Lafitt™ Grana Slab: Laffitt Grana Slab offers the same sizes, shapes, and overlay options as Lafitt Rustic Slab, but with a smooth finish, instead of the textured finish. Without losing the benefit of slip resistance, the sleek, clean lines of Lafitt Grana Slab create outdoor living designs that work well with any contemporary architectural style.
One of the fastest growing trends in outdoor living, permeable pavers are an attractive way to improve drainage, recycle water, and help the environment. Built over a gradient bed of gravel, permeable pavers allow water to percolate down into the ground below, which not only reduces the amount of stormwater runoff, but cleans the water of pollutants in the process. A permeable pavement system can also be constructed to include a water harvesting system to recycle water for irrigation or other uses. Belgard offers a full line of permeable pavers ideal for a variety of outdoor living designs.
Eco Dublin®: With the smooth face of cut stone, Eco Dublin is a three-piece modular paver that supports both foot and vehicular traffic and adds a modular contemporary flair to outdoor living designs.
Subterra®Stone: Subterra Stone might very well be the most attractive, natural-looking permeable paver on the market. Featuring a false joint structure and a textured face, it offers the elegant look of chiseled stone and is ideal for homeowners who desire environmental stewardship without compromising beauty and style.
Aqua-Roc™: Offering the classic look of brick pavers, Aqua-Roc can be laid in a running bond, basket-weave, or herringbone patterns to create attractive and durable driveways, walkways, patios and poolscapes.
Aqua-Bric®: Aqua-Bric incorporates a notched edge to offer a modern twist on the classic brick paver. This versatile paver can be used for numerous applications and complements any architectural style.
Turfstone®: Turfstone’s eco-friendly design reduces run-off and allows greenery to grow right through it, creating a highly unique hardscape design that works in harmony with nature and helps control and stabilize soil erosion.