Entertaining for the Holidays: How to Spruce Up Outdoors for Winter Use

While you’re all dreaming of the excitement that comes with a winter wonderland, let your imagination run to your outdoor living space, too. Your guests will love what you’ve done with the place to make it a near year-round living area – or will do now after reading these tips!

You’ve dug out your holiday décor from the attic. You’ve set the table with special linens and good china. You’re prepared for company in every way, but are you really? Delight your guests’ senses from the moment they arrive and make them not want to leave.

Curb Appeal for the Holidays
You’ve given the front of your house a mini facelift for the holidays, but have you considered a more permanent impact for your home’s curb appeal? Adding a beautiful walkway path to your door sets the stage for your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. If you prefer a grander entrance, consider a paver driveway, steps or front porch. Adding pathway lights can accent your décor plus help guests navigate at nighttime. Winter is the best time for planning your landscape, so getting started now ensures you’ll be ready for spring.

Backyard Winter Wonderland
Don’t forget your backyard in your holiday celebrations. Lights, garland and wreaths bring warmth to your patio and often can be enjoyed from the inside, too. Leave the curtains open and let your guests enjoy the view through the windows. If the weather isn’t too frightful, enjoy a night outside warming up next to the glowing fire from a Belgard fire pit. Grab some throw blankets and marshmallows and keep the fun going into the night.

The holiday season is a time for gathering with those you most appreciate, so we’d like to take this time of year to say Thank You to you. We appreciate your interest in Belgard and wish you much warmth and wonder this winter. Happy Holidays!

Belgard Gives Sunset Magazine Smart Homes Green Solution

For the last 14 years, Sunset Magazine has spearheaded the construction of an annual “Idea House.” This year’s project, dubbed the “Smart Homes” is a duo of townhouses that premiered this month in Palo Alto, Calif., and incorporated a variety of integrated high-tech, eco-friendly, and efficient building practices, including over 2,800 square feet of Belgard® Hardscapes permeable Catalina™ pavers, which were used to create a pedestrian deck between the townhomes over the parking area.

“Belgard Catalina pavers, in addition to being a beautiful product, offer the eco-advantages of permeability, reducing run-off and pollution,” said Kathi McCalligan, Home Programs Director, Sunset Magazine.

The permeable paver system filters rainwater through the joints and an underlying bed of gradient gravel and drains into a collection area, keeping the walkway, parking area below, and surrounding streets free from excessive runoff and performing a vital storm water management function for the entire mixed-use development where the townhomes are located.

“Storm water management is one reason Belgard permeable pavers contribute towards a number of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits,” says Gene Weddle, LEED Green Associate, Belgard Hardscapes. “Many municipal projects mandate LEED point objectives, and more and more private sector projects pursue LEED credits as evidence of environmental stewardship. Depending on project needs, the filtered water can also be harvested for gray-water applications.”

Weddle ads that in addition to storm water management, the specific color of paver selected—Catalina Montecito Blend—offers the additional benefit of reducing the “heat island” effect. “In urban areas, replacing ground cover with buildings and pavement often results in higher overall temperatures, which in turn places higher demands on energy. Catalina Montecito offers more reflectivity than darker pavements, leading to cooler surrounding temperatures, and allowing lower wattage for area lighting, reducing both energy use and long-term cost.”

The Catalina pavers also offer ADA compliance for the pedestrian walkway because of the smooth paver-to-paver transitions.

HNA Wrap Up with Belgard

Belgard Block

Belgard Display - pavers, permeable paver fountain, walls and brick veneer

This year, the city of Louisville, KY played host to the best and brightest in the Outdoor Landscaping arena. As a major exhibitor at the HNA (Hardscapes of North America) expo at the end of October, Belgard® stole the show with their displays and events. Using their most popular products, the versatility of Belgard’s pavers and walls made for a spectacular display area where visitors couldn’t help but linger and feel as if they were in a towne square. The area even included Oldcastle’s Glen Gery brick veneer product to create the appearance of real “buildings.”

Wall planter

Using pavers from the Mega Lafitt®, Lafitt and Domino pavers line, plus the new product, Anglia Edgertm, walkways meandered in the Belgard booth. With Belgard’s wall pavers, fountains created a relaxing ambiance and landscape met with colored lights, all within the expo center. Speakers were integrated throughout so that visitors were attracted from across the facility. Visitors could touch and sample the Elements Outdoor Living products which Belgard offers to create your ideal outdoor room.

The "Block"

Over the three days, many thousands of industry professionals visited the Belgard booth. Thursday the Belgard “Block Party” was the hit. It featured a day of food, live music and festivity. The event was such a showstopper, even the country group Stealing Angels stopped by.

Friday was an even more exciting day as the Belgard Street Carnival attracted visitors and more than 500 people competed for the chance to be Carnival Champion. See videos (below) with Vice President of Belgard Marketing, Ken O’Neill on 2012 trends and carving a space.

On Saturday, the “Block Party Tailgate Extravaganza” enticed visitor to experience Belgard living as they could relax in Belgard’s outdoor living space and view ESPN’s College Game Day on the big screen and compete in bean bag toss competitive games.

Ken O'Neill

Outside, Belgard’s presence was evidenced by the wafting smells of pizza cooked non-stop (over 200!) in our Chicago Brick ovens. Belgard’s Elements Collection of fireplaces, columns and firepits were on display. This area had demonstrations and discussion on some of our latest product innovations from our R&D facility.

This event was made possible from the hard work of the following companies:

See videos on the trends for 2012 as Ken O’Neill, VP of Marketing, speaks about hardscapes trends on the horizon.
Hardscape Trends for 2012

Carving out space

Outdoor Living Trends for 2012

Belgard Helps the Environment

Today, we are encouraged to be green, use green, and buy green. People who are familiar with the “go green” theme strive to help save the environment. Belgard®, with their line of Environmental Pavers is no different.

Subterra Permeable Paver

But how about, “Go Blue!” with regards to a watershed. A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of water, such as a pond, lake, stream, or other body of water that collects runoff from surrounding areas. Rainwater landing on the non-absorbing surfaces, such as parking lots, walkways and roofs eventually journeys as runoff to a larger holding area. Unfortunately, this runoff collects surface debris and chemicals, such as car fluids, fertilizers, animal waste, and debris, carrying it into our waters.

A watershed may be as large as the Mississippi River spanning 33 states or more communal like Diamond Lake of Minneapolis. The 2010 Blue Community Makeover Program known as “Go Blue!” was developed by residents to improve water quality when their Diamond Lake received the grade “F” because of pollutants and heavy sedimentation in the river from storm water runoff.

“My theory on life is that you should leave the world a little better than you came into it,” said resident of Lake Diamond Community. “This is one way I can help make the earth a little greener and a little happier,” she commented next to her new, serene rainwater-fed pond and gutter rain barrels.

Subterra

Many residents became very interested and involved in this program by installing rain gardens and water recycling systems, which help to reduce direct storm water runoff. Belgard was called upon to take up the gauntlet. Their Environmental Collection of permeable pavers played a huge role in the fight to improve the situation by reducing water runoff.

With the installation of permeable pavers, pollution from rainwater runoff can be reduced by as much as 100%. Permeable pavers can be installed in any landscape, from a home patio to community streets. Belgard is pleased to offer three types: Subterra Stone, Eco Dublin and Aqua Roc.

Subterra

Aqua Rock

Turfstone

Eco Dublin

Subterra® Stone brings in a more natural chiseled look to your outdoor areas. This paver comes in two different patterns. The modular shapes allows easy installment. The newest addition, Eco Dublin™combines cut stone with contemporary material, to provide a classic look. Aqua Roc™is the strongest out of the permeable pavers. This paver can withstand heavy vehicular traffic, yet subtle enough for a small project. Turfstone, with its high tech design, not only allows water to be absorbed naturally in the soil, but it also prevents erosion. Plus, greenery can grow through it, disguising it, thus working in harmony with nature.

The reason these pavers are so environmentally friendly is their installation. Gaps between pavers, which are filled with sand, gravel or filler, allow water to seep through and into the soil below. Through this process, may contaminants are removed from the water that will eventually make its way to a watershed.

With any one of these permeable pavers, not only will you be able to enjoy your new outdoor area, but you’ll also be environment friendly! Remember, you can always count on a Belgard Contractor when it comes to installing these pavers. Also, local dealers can help and provide color samples for your outdoor living area. Belgard offers its lifetime guaranty with all products.

Nothing is more precious to life than clean water.  Because of this, it makes sense to do all we can to instill, in our people (and most especially our youth) an understanding of water and watersheds, and how the activities of man affects them. Make a difference!

Click for more on Go Blue!

For case studies on Belgard Permeable Pavers, visit our site.

Belgard pavers can be used commercially too.

Go Big! with Belgard

Mega Arbel Belgard Pavers

When it comes to your home, you want to achieve the best outcome for your investment. In today’s economy, it’s not only prices consumers are concerned about. Getting the best products, with a lifetime guaranty, are a must. Belgard® knows homeowners want the “biggest” bang from their buck – and we deliver!

Belgard offers “Mega” outdoor pavers: a larger scaled paver option. Belgard pavers are the best choice for your outdoor hardscape project: they look great, come in a variety of size and color options, and have a lifetime warranty.

If you have ever installed natural stone, it can be nerve-wracking. If it’s not done right, there can be an imbalance of the overall design. If you don’t pick your stones individually, their varying thicknesses can potentially mean dangerous dips or humps. Having evenly spaced joints may require multiple cuts with a wet saw. Last, creating the look requires sample placement, assessment, moving stones, and sometimes repeating the process all over to achieve a random, yet balanced appearance.

Natural Look

Enter Mega Arbel®.

With the look of natural flagstone, and available in numerous hues of grey and reds, these concrete pavers are all the same thickness, pre-cut, and developed as interlocking pieces. Using up to twelve different shapes, and a simple pattern chart, you can achieve a natural appearance without the challenge of installation. Your guests will marvel at the beauty Belgard creates.

Mega Lafitt

Open the door for Mega LafittTM.

Our newest addition is already a hit! This 3-piece modular paver, plus a large square, offers various laying patterns to create a natural feel of rectangular, smooth flagstone. The larger size, as opposed to regular it sister, Lafitt Patio Pavers, gives a grander feel. In browns and reds, Mega Lafitt is the easy answer to your next landscape project. Its classic style will create a look to last generations.

Mega Begerac

Step out on to Mega Bergerac®.

Another of the Mega product lines, the Bergerac paver resembles a well-worn, hand-chiseld cooble stone. You can create different patterns using its 3-piece grouping, or add the large square for a different look.

Large square

The large paver, over 14” square, can interchange colors to create a checkerboard look. Offered in browns, greys and reds, this cobble stone look will last a lifetime while adding old world charm to your outdoor project. As the others, Belgard’s attention to detail with the texture of this paver, gives your outdoor living space a high-end look, with a down-to-earth price.

For each paver line, their natural appearance is due to Belgard’s advanced research and development department. “Many of our pavers and 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,” says Len Browning, Hardscape Technical Advisor for Belgard. “But unlike natural stone, pavers can be laid in a pattern that deceptively looks random but installs much more easily.”

If you are looking to achiece a natural, sophisticated look for your outdoor living areas, Belgard is here to help you make your next move.  Belgard…Invite Possibility.

Click for a dealer or contractor, or colors in your area. Try our online visualizer to see how Belgard pavers can create a new look for your outdoor space.

Create a grand entrance with Mega Lafitt

Warming Cool Nights: Add A Belgard Fire Feature

Pure beauty: Belgard Elements fire pit & water feature

As summer starts to dwindle down, kids go back to school and football starts up, that can only mean Fall is right around the corner. Homeowners may think being outside in the  cooler temperatures isn’t thrilling; it’s chilling. However, Belgard fire features are now becoming one of the popular trends for your outdoor living area. They extend the outdoor experience into the winter in the North, and all year long in the cooler Southern states.

Belgard fire pit

Belgard gives homeowners a variety of fire features from which to choose with their fire pit and fireplace options. Using Belgard products and an Authorized Belgard Contractor, your custom possibilites are limitless. Yet, Belgard is pleased to offer pre-made fireplace units through the Elements Collection. This collection makes it easier than ever to have a fire feature (plus coordinationg pieces – read out blog) installed on any budget – in less time. Both gas and wood burning options are available.

As for the increasingly popular fire pit, Belgard offers the highly affordable standard Weston Wall. Fire pits are easy to maintain and create a natural space for friends to congregate. Imagine the crackling of the fire, the taste of roasted marshmellows and s’mores, plus the company of friends: create special memories for years to come.

With fireplaces, each collection uses Belgard pavers and wall products so that you can create an entire space with a seamless look. The Bristol Collection combines the Arbel and Urbana pavers, providing elegance and good looks great with any landscape. The Nottingham Collection integrates BelAir Wall and tumbled paver accents. This natural appearance will have you feeling right at home. The Wexford Collection incorporates tumbled block featuring the Old World accents, which provides a rugged yet defined look to your home. See the catalog for more photos and ideas.

Nottingham Collection

Not only can you add fire features to your backyard, but why not coordinate furniture to highlight them. Think about adding Adorandock or lounge chairs for a relaxing experience. Maybe the sound of a nearby Belgard water feature will add to the mood. With Belgard, items can be added at a later time, so it’s best to discuss your full hopes and dreams with your contractor at the start of the project.

Country Manor

Fire table

With any one of these collections in your backyard, you and your family can enjoy an evening outside.  Create that intimate setting you’ve been looking for! Be Prepared for Company!

Remember when it comes to fire, think about safety first. Your contractor can help you decide the best location for installation.

Walls, pavers and fire pit by Belgard