Sights From the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

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As the largest hardscapes manufacturer in the nation, Belgard is once again proud to partner with the largest horticultural event in the nation as the 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show’s official hardscapes sponsor, happening now through March 19, 2017, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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Belgard booth visitors have the opportunity to register to win a Bordeaux Brick Oven.

This year’s show, “Holland: Flowering the World,” showcases the talents of our nation’s top horticulturalists and designers along with award-winning landscape and floral designers from the Netherlands. From towering windmills, wooden shoes and delectable cheeses, to the whimsical bicycles, canals and vibrant tulip fields of the iconic Dutch landscape, this year’s show shares the diverse stories of horticulture, innovative eco-design, and the modern urban greening and sustainability efforts of the Netherlands.

Vibrant floral displays throughout the show focus include the many tulip varieties indigenous to the Netherlands.
Vibrant floral displays throughout the show include the many tulip varieties indigenous to the Netherlands.

The show includes impressive floral and landscape design displays and also includes live head-to-head competitions and how-to demonstrations in the Designer’s Studio, master classes with top Dutch floral designers, presentations by leading experts on a variety of topics in the Gardner’s Studio, an interactive attraction of over 1,000 butterflies, and more.

Belgard's Joe Raboine gives a seminar on using 3-D design technology to plan landscape and outdoor living projects.
During a packed Gardner’s Studio presentation, Belgard’s Joe Raboine gives a seminar on using 3-D design technology to plan landscape and outdoor living projects.

The Belgard display has been an extremely popular spot for event-goers at this year’s show as they pose for group photos, relax in the outdoor kitchen and living room, and learn about the outdoor living design possibilities of Belgard paver and garden wall products.

Decorative Ways to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space in Colder Months

Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of decorative ways to keep your outdoor spaces livable during the winter months that add both ambiance and warmth.

Fire Features

Fire pitarbel_stone_urbana_stone_aqua_rock_horz_1_rt-newedits are currently one of the top must-haves in outdoor living, and with good reason. They easily fit into any outdoor living design and provide a spot for groups of any age to gather and enjoy the outdoors. Whether roasting hot dogs or s’mores, sharing a bottle of wine, or just having a cup of hot cocoa, everyone loves sitting around the fire pit. For design tips and trends, check out our fire pit design blog.

Outdoor fireplaces make a dramatic statement and become the focal point of your outdoor living design. Not only will it add physical warmth to your outdoor living space, it will become the favorite spot for enjoying a glass of wine or an intimate conversation. When designing your outdoor living space, remember that gas fireplaces can be placed just about anywhere, but a wood-burning version will likely need to be 10 or more feet from any structure.

Gas fire tables also make an excellent gathering spot and typically either emulate the look of a coffee table or a high-top bar. There are endless varieties available for purchase from retail outlets. However, a built-in fire table constructed with Belgard wall products will be much more durable and will actually add to the value of your home.

Decorative Heaters

tabletop1Tabletop propane heaters come in a number of sizes and decorative styles and are available from various hardware stores and online retail outlets. They typically heat a 5-foot radius and operate off of 1-pound propane cylinders that can be found at just about any hardware, sporting goods, or camping supply store. Although it will vary by heater, each cylinder only lasts a few hours, so it might be a good idea to buy cylinders in bulk to get you through the season.

Full-size propane heaters also come in a number of decorative styles. With higher heat output than the tabletop versions, they heat a wider radius (6-7 feet) and operate off of a standard refillable propane tank. Be wary of operating taller units under a porch, which could potentially cause heat damage to the porch ceiling. One way to help alleviate this possibility is to run nearby ceiling fans in “reverse” mode while heaters are in operation, which will disperse the rising heat without blowing cold air onto guests.

lamp3Endless Summer offers a line of electric patio lamp-style heaters that come in both tabletop and floor models and are available from a variety of retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon. Each heater looks like a standard lamp, but actually functions as both a lamp and a heater, offering a soft glow and heating up to 144 square feet, depending upon the model. The only drawback is that an outlet needs to be nearby.

hanging3Decorative hanging heaters are a more permanent option and are available in natural gas and infrared (electric) models. Both can be designed to operate from a wall switch and will heat a large area, approximately 10 feet in diameter, depending upon the model.

Homey Accessories

Adding retractable solar shades to a porch will not only provide protection from the glaring sun in summer months, they can also help keep you warm in the winter by blocking the wind and helping to hold in any ambient warmth created by area heaters.

Comfy throws not only add a cozy look to your outdoor space, they provide that extra layer that some folks need to keep warm. Decorative outdoor bins can be a good place to store throws; however, you may want to choose an easy-to-carry basket that can be stored indoors when not in use, which will keep your throws free of unwanted critters.

A Rose By Any Other Name Still Smells as Sweet

Enhancing Your Hardscapes with Elegant Perennials

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Urbana® Stone Pavers

Nothing says “beautiful” like a colorful perennial garden. Webster refers to perennials as “being happy again and again”. The word perennial describes a plant that generally lives for two years or more while annual describes a plant that may have a one-year or single season life span. When choosing perennials, you are actually creating a look in your garden space that you can cultivate year after year without the continuous pocket drain and effort.

When looking for pops of color, many people opt for annuals, but there are so many ways to create a colorful garden from perennials. One of the perennial favorites many of us know and love is the rose. The rose is one of oldest flowers in cultivation with hundreds of different varieties. When choosing a type of rose, you might gravitate to the more fragrant varieties. As the weather warms up, you will likely be spending more and more time outside in your backyard. Now that you have created or are in the process of creating your dream backyard, why not surround yourself with the fragrant smell of roses that comes back year after year?

Getting Started

Select a sight that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day with good drainage. Roses succumb to root rot easily. They grow in all types of soil, however they do appreciate a plethora of compost or manure mixed in. When planting roses, never let the roots dry out completely, make sure to soak the entire plant overnight before planting. The canes should be about two inches below the ground in a warmer climate zone and at least four inches in a colder zone to protect from freezing. Mounding up the soil at least six inches around the root of the plant. Using mulch will help to protect your roses from both bug infestations and disease.

Catalina™ Stone Pavers
Catalina™ Stone Pavers

Companion Plants

Companion plants such as marigolds, mint, and geraniums are great because they help to keep a wide variety of pests away, as well. Be careful with the mint though; it can be invasive.

Plants in the Allium family such as garlic, shallot, and chives are a nice addition to any rose garden. It has been said that Alliums help to enhance the roses’ perfume quality. That alone is a reason to choose them. The flowers tend to be spherical and can produce pink, purple, white, and yellow flowers that are sure to add that extra pop to any garden. In addition, many are edible for humans, as well as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The Allium family is also a helpful mole control.

Other possibilities you might consider when planting and creating a rose garden will depend upon your goals. Plants like larkspur, lantana, and lavender will help to attract butterflies, add a multitude of color, and help to fill in the areas surrounding the roses. There are also many long blooming flowers that serve well as cutting flowers, ferns, ornamental grasses, and of course the classic boxwood.

One thing to remember is to choose flowers and plants that have similar soil and water conditions as roses. Roses love water, but need to have well-drained soil. You can groom and shape your roses to take on any look, or you can let them grow with wild abandon. If you treat them right, they will be back again next year to make you happy “again and again”.

Bergerac® Pavers

Fall Back Outdoor Lighting Ideas

This week, we once again had to “fall back” as Daylight Saving Time came to an end. This time of year typically has wonderful weather for outdoor living in most areas of the country — no more hot steamy nights, yet not quite cold enough to send everyone scurrying indoors for warmth. But in order to take full advantage of your outdoor living space once the clock has been turned back, it’s time to invest in outdoor lighting. Here are some of our favorite modern ideas for illuminating your outdoor living space.

Illuminated planters

Flower pot by day, light source by night, illuminated planters are a chic and modern way to shed a little light on your outdoor living space. Outdoor-rated LED illuminated pots are available from a number of retailers in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Or for the DIY-er, a quick browse through Pinterest will help you generate unlimited ideas for your own unique creations.

Pendant lights

Today’s trendy outdoor living rooms and kitchens emulate the look of their indoor counterparts. One of the easiest ways to create an indoor look for an outdoor room is to install outdoor-rated pendant lights over bars, coffee tables, and dining areas. With thousands of fixtures available, design options are endless. In addition, the nature of designing outdoors allows for bolder, and more creative choices.

Hardscape lighting

If you’re planning to install pavers, garden walls, or Belgard Elements kitchen or fireplace units, be sure to plan a lighting scheme prior to installation. Low voltage lighting can be affixed directly into the hardscapes during installation to provide attractive ambient lighting throughout your outdoor living areas.

Hardscape lighting

String lights

Nothing says “outdoor entertaining” like string lights. From bare bulbs to Japanese lanterns, today’s string lights are available in a variety of motifs that complement any outdoor living design scheme and add a festive atmosphere any time of year. To put up permanent string lights, consider having an electrician install outlets into the eaves of soffits and porches with a conveniently located light switch to turn everything on or off at once.

Upgrade Your Curb Appeal

Research shows that one of the top ways of increasing the value of your home is to boost your home’s curb appeal. Anything that can make a home stand out in a positive way will automatically increase the perceived value by others, but can also affect the homeowner’s own personal sense of fulfillment, creating value for the homeowner as well. Even simple changes can make a big difference. Dramatic changes can be a bit more costly, but can also pay bigger dividends in the long run.

A World of Color

MLRS_RES_BEL2013_Edger_AngliaEdger_Patios_LafittRusticSlab_001One of the easiest ways to add character is to add color. Landscaping, whether do-it-yourself or professionally installed, is a quick and easy way to add curb appeal. The options are literally endless and can range from simple flower gardens to multidimensional vertical gardens. Pathways and walkways also add a charming element. The photo to the right shows a simple, yet colorful flower garden with a stone Anglia Edger border that coordinates with the Lafitt Rustic Slab pavers of the walkway. The clean lines and sweeping curve of the hardscapes combine with the tasteful flower selections to create an understated, elegant look. Other garden ideas that will boost your curb appeal include container gardens and built-in planters.

Show Your Personality

When guests arrive at your home, they should immediately get a sense of the type of person who lives there. Are you carefree or conservative? Whimsical or stylish? From clay pots to antique doorknobs, every element you choose can combine to illustrate your personal sense of style. The following image shows a home with a unique sense of curb appeal. All of the elements of the design combine to create an earthy feel, including the natural wood shutters and door, the stacked stone veneer, and the man-made creek. The eclectic plant and flower selections in the garden create a random look that appears both natural and manicured. The Bergerac pavers of the walkway and Celtik Wall of the steps both emulate stone textures that combine with the landscaping and architecture to create a country-cottage atmosphere.

Belgard 2010 ~ AmcorSmall Touches Can Make a Big Difference

The right accent item can go a long way in upgrading your curb appeal. The objective of using an accent piece is to create a focal point to your landscape design that will draw the eye and add dimension and character. This accent item doesn’t need to be grandiose, like a fountain or gazebo. Inexpensive ideas include building a stone mailbox, picket fence, or wooden arbor.

 

New 2015 Idea Books
Hot Off the Presses

IdeaBookLooking for ideas to transform your backyard or create curb appeal that will be the envy of the neighborhood? Order your free Belgard Idea Book for ideas on how to use a variety of hardscape colors, patterns, and textures to enhance the beauty, functionality, and value of your home. From picturesque walkways and cozy outdoor fireplaces to gourmet outdoor kitchens and traffic-stopping driveways, the 2015 Belgard Idea Book will help you explore the possibilities.

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Click here to order your free Idea Book today!