Belgard Rolls Out Additions to the Mirage Porcelain Paver Line

Spring is approaching, meaning that homeowners across the country are chomping at the bit to get outside and get their yards in shape for another season of outdoor living. Those looking to makeover an existing outdoor living space, or create a new one, now have new contemporary hardscape options with Belgard’s release of new additions to the Mirage® porcelain paver line.

NEW Na.Me Collection

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A synthesis of the words “NAtural” and “tiME”, the new Na.Me Collection offers the look of natural materials with Mediterranean and Nordic influences. Na.Me pavers are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Check with your local Belgard dealer for availability.

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Additions to Ardesie Collection

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The Ardesie Collection offers the look and texture of natural cut slate. Two new colors of Ardesie slate-style pavers have be released: Shore and Black Reef.

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Additions to UNICO

The UNICO trim accessory, which can be used as a step or as pool coping, is now available in the Quarziti, Ardesie, Stones, and Sundeck styles to coordinate with the pavers in each of those collections. Availability varies by region.

Belgard Sponsors
Philadelphia Flower Show

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As the largest hardscapes manufacturer in the nation, Belgard has partnered with the largest horticultural event in the nation as the 2016 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show’s official hardscapes sponsor at their event to be held March 5 – 13, 2016, in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

This year’s show, “Explore America,” will celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and America’s majestic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture by showcasing stunning displays created by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. From Acadia and Cape Cod, to Valley Forge and Shenandoah, to Yellowstone, Yosemite and other iconic parks and historic sites, American beauty and glory will serve as inspiration for a variety of interactive exhibits.

In addition to the use of Belgard hardscapes throughout the entire show, Belgard will also exhibit a variety of hardscape products in their entrance display garden, which is titled “A Chesapeake Kind of Beautiful” and is a tribute to the Chesapeake Bay National Park.

Entrance sign to the Belgard display garden.

Entrance sign to the Belgard display garden.

The Belgard feature exhibit, which was designed by the Belgard Design Studio, will be constructed to emulate a home with an expansive backyard outdoor living space, which includes an Old World Paver™ driveway, a Mega-Lafitt™ paver patio, meandering gardens bordered with Anglia Edger®, a Bordeaux Belgard Elements outdoor kitchen and fireplace, and a Mirage® porcelain paver pavilion. Tandem™ Modular Grid will be used to create various structures throughout the feature display, included the pavilion posts, an arbor, end caps, and column wraps.

Rendering of the future Belgard display in the entrance garden of the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show.

Rendering of the future Belgard display in the entrance garden of the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and benefits a variety of year-round programs in the Philadelphia area that have become national models of urban greening. For more information on the show, visit theflowershow.com.

Prepare to Be Inspired!

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For the last several years, Belgard has offered FREE IDEA BOOKS to provide homeowners with inspiration for creating personalized outdoor living spaces. No two homeowners are alike. Why live in a cookie-cutter world when you can create an outdoor space that truly exhibits your unique personality? This season’s Belgard Idea Book has now been published and is ready for delivery to your home. Peruse over 50 spectacular pages displaying a variety of outdoor living designs — meandering walkways, inviting patios, dramatic fireplaces, gourmet outdoor kitchens, breathtaking poolscapes and grand entrances. The Idea Book showcases all of the latest trends in outdoor living design. Discover your style and begin planning your dream outdoor living space by ordering your free copy today. Get inspired by the Belgard Idea Book and get ready to make outside your kind of beautiful!

Order your free Belgard Idea Book now!

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Start Planning Your Pool Now

If you’re considering installing a new pool this year, now is the time to start the planning process. Depending on what type of pool you install, it can take up to six weeks for the installation alone — and that’s after you decide on a contractor, pick a design, choose tiles and coping, get permits, and so on.

There was a time when the pool planning process was a bit simpler. Your basic pool was generally a white concrete rectangle surrounded by four feet of additional concrete decking. Coping choices were limited to a couple of standard options, and the tile trim was typically some shade of blue. Although some homeowners still opt for the classic pool, the trend in modern poolscapes is to create an environment that is an extension of the overall outdoor living space. The outdoor kitchen connects to the outdoor living room that transitions to the pool deck…all as one continuous, flowing design. Design choices are as plentiful and unique as each individual homeowner, allowing for the creation of personalized poolscapes that are a reflection of the homeowner’s personality.

To begin planning your pool design, the first step is to decide on an overall design scheme. What’s your pool personality? Here are a few ideas to help jumpstart the planning process.

Classically Tailored

If you typically go for more traditional designs that you feel will stand the test of time, these pool designs offer a modern twist on the cobbled look of a bygone era.

The Natural Look

Perhaps you prefer for your pool to look as though it’s part of the natural landscape. These designs evoke the sense of a backyard oasis.

Ultra-Contemporary

Maybe you gravitate to the modular look or love clean, crisp lines. If so, then these modern pool designs will appeal to you.

To continue exploring your pool personality, visit our pool deck Pinterest board and Inspiration page. When you’re ready to go the the next step, visit our contractor locator to find a qualified Belgard authorized contractor near you.

Build Custom Outdoor Kitchens and Fireplaces with Less Hassle

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Custom outdoor kitchens and living rooms continue to gain in popularity all across the nation. The modular design of the Belgard Elements collection allows you to create a custom look in a fraction of the time and for significantly less cost than building from scratch on site. Couple that with the fact that homeowners can spread the cost out over time with Belgard Preferred Payment same-as-cash options, and designer outdoor living spaces suddenly become much more affordable for a wider range of homeowners.

Belgard Elements are built in a controlled factory setting and shipped in pieces on pallets and install in a matter of hours, once the footings are in place. Constructed with Belgard pavers and walls and coordinating Echelon Masonry, the Belgard Elements line blends seamlessly with Belgard patios and poolscapes to create beautifully cohesive outdoor living designs.

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But, don’t just take our word for it! See what contractors across the country are saying:

Clint Tucker, Sugar Hill Outdoors – Auburn, GA

“Belgard Elements are easy to move with a forklift. You pop two stones out, run the forklift under the base of the fireplace, or the log boxes, take them to where you created the footing, set it into place, and they’re ready to go. On one project, we installed a fireplace with matching woodboxes, a very nice grill island with a stainless steel grill, and a brick oven with a log box underneath. Had we done this with a more traditional masonry product, it would have taken close to a month. All of that would be out of most people’s price range if it was done in true masonry.”

John Brightenstine, The Paver Company – Rancho Cordova, CA

“Belgard Elements really add a wow factor. And because they’re made with Belgard products, they coordinate with other Belgard hardscapes to tie everything together.”

Andrew Vear, PaverCrafters – Reno, NV

“So often with a lot of custom construction projects, everything takes two weeks. Installing an Elements fireplace takes about two hours because the modules are prebuilt. It looks exactly as it does in the catalog. You just can’t build anything like that by hand. And, I don’t have to go shopping for any other materials. Everything that I need is right in the kit.”

Rod Trahan, La Pavers – New Orleans, LA

“Outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity in our area. The Elements line has the potential to go through the roof. It’s faster, safer and cheaper to install and ties in with the pavers. Building this project by hand would have taken at least three or four times longer. Plus this way, the customer knows exactly what they’re getting.”

For more on the benefits of Belgard Elements, check out our Belgard Elements Outdoor Kitchens blog.

Carnival Time King Cake Recipe

Throughout the Gulf South, communities began celebrating the “carnival season” on January 6, which culminates on Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”), which this year will be on February 9. One of the many traditions of carnival is to serve King Cakes throughout the entire season. Similar to coffee cake, this ring-shaped confection is as rich in history as it is in color and taste. Trademark decorations–sugars in the royal colors of purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)–honor the three kings from the biblical story of Christmas. Bring some carnival fun to your neck of the woods by baking this tasty confection and hosting a Mardi Gras themed party this carnival season.

Ingredients

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour (substituting all-purpose flour will make a denser cake)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Creamy Glaze (recipe below)
Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles

Preparation

  • Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
  • Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
  • Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
  • Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  • Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

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CREAMY GLAZE RECIPE

Ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Preparation

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.

Recipe & Photo courtesy Southern Living Magazine. Photography: Beth Dreiling Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling Pam Lolley