The primary benefit of installing a hardscape patio is the lasting beauty. But precisely because 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.
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 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 an outdoor paver project, one of the most important decisions is choosing colors and textures that fit your personality. Deciding what is right for you and your home can be a daunting task, but these tips about color and texture should help you navigate the process with ease and result in a beautiful outdoor living space.
You probably brighten up a kitchen or bedroom with vibrant paint colors and accessories that pop – your outdoor space is no different. Don’t be afraid to “paint” with pavers and choose colors that make an impact. You can even show your team pride by working with a Belgard Authorized Contractor to design a customized patio with your team’s colors or other design.
If you’re not so adventurous to incorporate your team spirit into your hardscape design, the best advice is to select hues that work in harmony with your home environment. Here are a few things to consider when selecting your paver colors:
Pavers a few shades lighter than the color of your house won’t compete for attention; gray-toned pavers used with brick houses eliminate the urge to match everything; and, brick-colored pavers add warmth to wood or stone houses.
Choose pavers with similar tones for a coordinated effect. Light colors reflect the light and open up an area, whereas darker tones absorb light and make areas appear smaller.
A multi-color blend is a paver with more than one color. It can be a blend of two, three, or more colors. Multi-colored pavers blend better with their surroundings. Most minor stains are thoroughly camouflaged in the multitude of hues and tones.
Texture is just as much fun to play with as color when selecting pavers. With such a wide variety of textures, you shouldn’t feel the need to settle on just one to create a stunning outdoor space. Adding multiple textures to your design can add even more interest. Textures can be suited to meet your practical needs as well. Smoother, more rounded surfaces are ideal in high-traffic areas or swimming pool decks.
With the help of Belgard, the Stolnacke family transformed both their backyard and their lives.
The Stolnacke backyard before Belgard.
Jennifer and Carl Stolnacke lived on five acres of rugged terrain that sloped down to a pond on the back of the property. Their backyard was basically unusable, except for a small concrete patio. With this blank slate, they carved out their own personal backyard oasis. After living in their northern California home for a couple of years with their two dogs, Maverick and Goose, Jennifer and Carl were ready to create a permanent, more useable outdoor living space that fit with their lifestyle. They enjoyed walking the grounds and especially enjoyed looking at the pond, but with the exception of a couple of lawn chairs and a small concrete slab behind the house, their space was not ideal for backyard gatherings
“We love to barbecue with friends, but the dirt and leaves just were not conducive to that. When friends came over, it seemed more like a camp out,” Jennifer explained.
With the help of the experts at The Paver Company, the Stolnackes now have an expansive multi-level outdoor living space that incorporates multiple gathering areas – including a pool, outdoor fireplace, fire pit, and brick oven – that are all tied together with walkways and garden walls that work together to create a harmonious, cohesive look.
Working with the existing elements.
Outdoor enthusiasts, the Stolnackes wanted to keep the pond as the focal point of the yard, without blocking their scenic view, and incorporate natural design elements to keep the setting rustic and earthy. They also wanted to make use of the existing concrete slabs on the back porch and driveway, but desired a way tie everything together without having these elements clash with each other.
The final cohesive design flanked out to the sides with the fireplace and brick oven acting as visual anchors on either side, with a terraced patio that led down to the fire pit and pool in the center, overlooking the pond. The design incorporated natural boulders, as well as Belgard Hardscapes that mimic those natural textures. Patio areas were paved with Mega-Lafitt™ pavers, which offer the look and feel of natural cut flagstone, with Bergerac® pavers adding a hand-cobbled look to the borders and walkways. Garden walls were built with the Tandem™ Wall retaining wall system, which creates the appearance of large blocks of chiseled stone.
“By skirting the existing concrete pads and fire pit with the Bergerac pavers used in the walkway, we were able to tie the whole design together and make everything work,” said installation contractor John Brightenstine of The Paver Company.
How life has changed for the Stolnackes.
Jennifer loves the fact that she can now walk around the perimeter of her backyard barefoot or in slippers. Her favorite pastime is relaxing on the upper patio, just taking in the view. With their wonderful new entertaining space, the couple now regularly holds gatherings of all kinds.
“The multiple patio areas are great for entertaining; we have so many options,” Jennifer said. “We’ll have pizza parties by the brick oven, where everyone makes their own pizza, or we’ll sit around the fire pit or fireplace and roast marshmallows or just catch up and talk. We now use the outside of our house more than the inside of our house.”
To anyone contemplating their own backyard makeover, Jennifer says, “The most important thing is to know your space. Know how you use it now and how you envision using it afterwards.”
This comfortable and intimate outdoor patio was created using Lafitt™ Rustic Slab, which offers the look and texture of cut slate. This fantastic foot-traffic paver uses elegant modular lines in a rich range of color options and can either be used to overlay an existing patio or can be installed using standard paver patio construction. Multiple sizes allow laying patterns that mimic natural stone without the cost.
Retaining and seat walls add dimension to the patio design and allow the patio to feel as though it is cut out of the countryside. The landscaped water feature adds to the natural feel and serves as both a serene backdrop and a visual anchor to the overall design.