Tips for Planning the ‘Phased’ Project

Sometimes, it’s just not feasible to build your dream outdoor living space all at once. When building one phase at a time, proper upfront planning can save time, money and headaches.

Tip #1:  Choose a qualified design/build contractor

A large outdoor living build-out is an important investment in your home. Don’t trust that investment to just anyone. With a smaller job, an installation contractor is fine, but in order to properly plan a job that will be built in phases, you’ll need someone with design skills. For more information, read our Tips for Choosing a Hardscape Contractor blog.

Tip #2:  Design your complete dream outdoor space upfront

You can always scale it back, but it can be much less costly to design something that is never built than to retrofit a space later. This is especially true if future footings or underground utilities will be required. Many contractors will charge a fee for the design, but often credit that back to you when the work is done. For a realistic vision of how your dream space would look in your backyard, Belgard Authorized Contractors can utilize the Belgard Design Studio to import architectural plans or photos of your home to create 3-D renderings of their outdoor living designs that include furniture placement and potential landscaping. Fly-through animation will allow you to virtually walk through the design so you can truly get a feel for how you would live in that space. This can help you catch potential issues with the layout prior to construction.

Sample Belgard Design Studio 3-D rendering of an outdoor living area that could be built out in phases.

Tip#3:  Preplan for future phases

When you’re planning an outdoor living space, think of what you would plan for an indoor living space. Think lighting, music, televisions, cooking needs, and gas or electric appliances. Consider your local climate and think about ways of keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Running utilities all at once, including those that you won’t need until later, can be a huge cost savings in the end.  And if you plan to install heavy elements in a later phase, such as a pavilion or an outdoor fireplace, be sure to plan where any footings will be needed and install them prior to laying any hardscapes in those areas.

Tip #4:  Consider your lifestyle

When planning out the phases, discuss your lifestyle with your contractor so that you can plan the phases that will work best with your budget and how you would like to live in the space. A typical scenario would be to install the flat surfaces first, then build up, then embellish. For example, if a design includes a patio with an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace, and seat walls, the phases of the plan may look like this:  1) patio  2) kitchen  3) fireplace  4) seat walls, lighting, and sound.  However, depending upon your lifestyle, you may want to rearrange the order of the phases or build in sections instead.

Tip #5:  Look for opportunities to reduce the number of phases

Construction economies can be achieved by building in fewer phases. Many Belgard Authorized Contractors offer the Belgard Preferred Payment program, which can help you build more at one time and spread the cost out over several months with same-as-cash financing options for loan amounts up to $55,000 that can include labor, materials, furniture, appliance, landscaping and more.

Coming up next week:

National S’mores Day is Thursday, August 10. Come back to the Outdoor Living Blog next week to learn how you can submit your favorite s’mores memory or recipe for a chance to win a Belgard fire pit!

New 2017 Idea Book Now Available in Print and Interactive Digital Download

The ideal outdoor living space should reflect your creativity. When it comes to putting that special place together, you won’t find a better partner than Belgard to help you dream, design and develop your vision. With that in mind, the new 2017 Belgard Idea Book is now ready to help inspire you to create your dream outdoor living space. Each Idea Book is regionally tailored by zip code to include products that are available in your area, which ensures that the designs you fall in love with can be recreated in your backyard.

2017_idea_book_3dFREE 2017 BELGARD IDEA BOOK

Order your free copy of the 2017 Belgard Idea Book for over 50 pages of vibrant outdoor living design ideas. The Idea Book walks you though all the emerging trends in outdoor living design and includes tips on planning your space and choosing a contractor. >> ORDER IT NOW

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INTERACTIVE DIGITAL VERSION

If you’re ready to start dreaming now, check out the interactive digital version, which includes videos on design trends and other interactive elements on every page. Watch the project visualizer in action, or click on web addresses or a blinking “i” for more information on any topic or product. If you want to save the book for reference, simply click the download button to save a PDF copy.  >>GO TO THE INTERACTIVE DIGITAL BOOK

The arrows above illustrate some of the interactive elements that can be found on each page.
The arrows on the screen grab above illustrate some of the interactive elements that can be found on each page of the interactive digital Belgard Idea Book.
The section on Design Basics includes videos on design trends and an animated example of the Belgard Project Visualizer, which allows you to upload photos of your home and experiment with paver options.
The section on Design Basics includes videos on design trends (left) and an animated example of the Belgard Project Visualizer (right), which illustrates how you can upload photos of your home and experiment with paver options.

When you’re ready to take the next step, visit our Contractor Locator Gallery to find a Belgard Authorized Contractor near you.

Color and Tone Considerations When Choosing Hardscapes

When selecting hardscapes, it’s important to spend some time considering the options. Belgard hardscapes are warrantied to last the life of the home, which means your new outdoor living space will become an extension of the home itself.

Hardscape Color Options

Belgard pavers and retaining walls are manufactured at multiple facilities across the nation using local natural materials and aggregates. Because of this, the exact colors available will vary by region, so it’s best to ask your contractor or dealer to show you samples. That way, you can get a better idea of the exact color palette and see how the colors look when paired with the exterior of your home and any permanent structures or existing outdoor living features, such as a pool.

Cool Versus Warm Colors

In general, cool colors are considered to be calming and include blues, greens, and deep purples. Whereas, warm colors are associated with excitement and energy and include reds, oranges, yellows and browns. Neutral colors (like beige and gray), can lean to either warm or cool, depending upon the color blend. In terms of hardscape selection, the choice to go with warm or cool color blends is typically a personal preference; however, you should choose a color scheme that is complementary to that of existing structures.

Fun with Paver Colors and Patterns

You can also take advantage of color options to create interesting and unique paver designs, like laying out pavers to create the look of a faux rug or integrating bold color choices to create intricate designs. Belgard also has a variety of Porcelain Paver options that emulate the look of wood and other natural materials.

Tone Considerations

Tone refers to the darkness or lightness of a color. Again, choosing lighter or darker tones are mostly a matter of personal preference; however, there are some additional considerations. Darker tones can make a space seem smaller or more cozy, and lighter tones can make a space seem more open and bright. Another consideration when choosing hardscapes is that lighter tones will reflect more of the light and absorb less heat, whereas darker tones (especially really deep tones) will absorb more light and heat.

Continuing the Design Beyond the Hardscapes

After the hardscapes have been installed, you’ll need to continue making color choices in terms of furniture, area rugs, cushions, throws, light fixtures, umbrellas, accessories and landscaping. Keep in mind that bigger spaces allow for bolder design choices, and bold colors and patterns are becoming increasingly popular. According to the leading interior and exterior design experts at Pantone, popular color choices this season will be oranges, pinks, golds and rich floral hues. Although it’s often wise to use bright colors sparingly indoors, outdoor settings can handle more color without feeling cramped. Even if the majority of your outdoor design is muted or monochromatic, adding a few accents of turquoise, mango, lime or some other bright, cheerful color will make a statement and brighten your outdoor space. Pantone is also predicting a resurgence of black and white designs, as well as an increase in unexpected color combination and pixilated, digitized patterns for fabrics and rugs.

Design scheme examples

Red pillows and pink flowers add pops of color to complement the warm color scheme of the Urbana Stone® and Bergerac® pavers.
The cool muted color scheme softens the look of the Castle Manor™ seat wall and Weston Stone® fire pit to create a relaxing environment.
Vibrant cool tones and patterns contrast with the warm hues of the Lafitt® pavers and Brighton Elements fireplace to create an eclectic design.

Tips for Keeping Your Cool

With triple-digit heat indexes spanning the lower half of the country, many people are now scurrying indoors to avoid the heat, forced to enjoy their beautiful outdoor living spaces from the comfort of the kitchen window. However, there are a number of design tips and tricks that can alleviate some of the heat and allow you to get more use from your outdoor living spaces during those dog days of summer.

Advantages of Pergolas

A pergola can provide multiple design benefits for an outdoor living space. The open-air aspect allows for unrestricted air movement while still defining the space to visually create the look of an “outdoor room”. Additionally, the structure itself both filters the direct sunlight and can provide the framework for a outdoor-rated ceiling fan. To provide additional shade and add to the visual interest, flowering vines — such as Wisteria or Morning Glory — can be trained to grow atop the pergola.

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Outdoor Living Structures

The benefit of a roofed structure, as opposed to an open-air pergola, is that it provides a little more protection from the elements, including both sun and rain. Although late afternoon sun and driving rain will still creep in, you’ll still have increased shelter, as well as additional opportunities for fans, lighting, audio/visual equipment and appliances.

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Made in the Shade

There are a variety of affordable products available that can help increase the amount of shade in your outdoor living space, particular during that unbearably hot time of the day when the sunlight comes in at just the right angle to make you feel like you can fry an egg right on the patio flooring. Attractive options include indoor/outdoor curtains, retractable solar shades, and colorful sun canopies.

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Permeable Paver Water Features

Particularly in hot climates with lower humidity, water mist can significantly reduce the ambient temperature of a localized outdoor area. An alternate option to a traditional water-misting system is to install a water-recycling permeable pavement system that incorporates a water feature. The paver system can collect and recycle rainwater and provide a fun activity for kids, all while releasing mist into the air that will help alleviate some of the oppressive heat.

Adding Color & Texture to Outdoor Spaces

Adding Color & Texture to Outdoor Spaces

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.

Color

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

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.

For more tips to help you plan your outdoor space and get inspired, order a free Idea Book.

Wow Your Neighbors with Unique Hardscape Designs

You put a lot of personal time and effort into decorating the interior of your home to create an environment that showcases your individual sense of style. Today’s outdoor living design is all about making your outdoor spaces function as a true extension of your home as an additional reflection of your personality. So, it’s time to take that sense of individuality outdoors and create some unique looks, and hardscapes give you the ability to do just that. Here are a few idea starters.

Idea #1

Use splashes of color to create whimsical, eye-catching designs.

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Idea #2

Turn a patio into an outdoor living room with a faux rug.

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Idea #3

Create the illusion of separate rooms by using different pavers for different areas.

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Idea #4

Use permeable hardscapes to build a fountain play area.

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Idea #5

Add dimension to your design with built-in seating or planter boxes.

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Ready to create your own unique outdoor space?

Click here to find a contractor or dealer near you.