Building Patios for Disabled Veterans

The Tunnel to Towers foundation honors both firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11th, and our nation’s military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country. One of the organization’s programs, Building for America’s Bravest, builds single-family housing for disabled veterans across the country.

Belgard has partnered with Tunnel to Towers and Building for America’s Bravest by providing all materials and installation of backyard patios on the 12-15 homes scheduled for construction this year.

“Belgard is incredibly honored to lend our backyard living expertise to the men and women who have given back so much for our country, so they can fully enjoy their new homes,” stated Wade Ficklin, President APG West/Canada and Tunnel to Towers project coordinator.

The first patio was completed in Virginia in March, with pavers donated by Anchor South, an Oldcastle company, and installed by a group of Belgard representatives with assistance from contractor Chris Ianndrelli with All Seasons Landscaping and Irrigation, who installed the base. The 425 square foot patio was constructed with Lafitt® pavers (Bella color) installed in a running bond pattern and bordered with Old York™ pavers (Charcoal color). The design for the patio was created by the Belgard Design Studio, who made recommendations on the products and installation pattern and provided design renderings and materials estimates to help facilitate and expedite the project.

A Belgard team member wets the patio with a hose to activate the polymeric jointing sand, the finishing touch for the first Building for America’s Bravest patio.

“I was proud of how everyone pulled the project together on such a short turnaround,” said Sam Bond, who coordinated the volunteer effort on behalf of Belgard.

Paver installation was led by Ben Hulvey and Brandon Ford of the Belgard sales team for Anchor South, along with additional volunteers from Anchor South and the Belgard retail team.

The group installed their second patio this month, this time for a newly constructed home in Sumerduck, Virginia, with the project led by Belgard sales team members Ben Hulvey and Todd Stiffler. Assistance on this project was provided by Marc Salafia of The Stone Center of Fredericksburg, who provided all of the base materials, and Jim Mauro of M&M Hardscaping who assisted with hardscape installation.

“Jim Mauro was especially excited to have the opportunity to be part of this charity installation because he has a brother who is a firefighter and other family members who are servicemen,” said Hulvey.

This second patio also included a retaining wall to control the slope of the backyard. The project included 940 square feet of pavers:  Lafitt® Grana Slab (Bella color) trimmed with Old York™ Pavers (Charcoal color). Bordering the project is an attractive 272 square foot Celtik® Wall (Bella color).

The second Virginia patio includes a covered area, shaded by an overhead balcony, and a multi-tiered retaining wall.

This same group plans to install three more Building for America’s Bravest patios int he Maryland and Virginia area this year. The remainder of teh projects will be installed by other Belgard teams in various locations across the country. The Belgard Design Studio will continue to work with each group to provide designs and materials needs.

The next patio installation is currently in progress in Pompey, New York, with two additional patios currently in the design phase in Texas. Additional locations planned through the end of the year include sites in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Maryland, Florida, Boston, Upstate New York and Southern California.

Patio Design Trends:
Large-Format Pavers

Over the last few years, one patio design trend that continues to grow in popularity is the increased size of patio pavers. Although the classic styles of smaller cobble and brick pavers still have a strong following, particularly in neighborhoods with more traditional architecture, homeowners with contemporary architecture have a tendency to lean towards the fashionable lines of larger pavers. Some attribute the style shift to the European and Mediterranean design influences that have been infiltrating American architecture and both interior and exterior design for the last couple of decades. Others attribute the shift to the design strategy of using larger pavers to make a smaller outdoor space appear more spacious and less cluttered. Whatever the reasons, large-format pavers have become an undeniable trend in contemporary patio design.

Back to Nature

Likely driven somewhat by the green movement, as well as European design influences, many homeowners are drawn to the look of natural stone. Belgard offers a variety of large format pavers that emulate the look of natural stone, with the added benefits of reduced costs and increased durability. Many Belgard pavers and retaining 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. But unlike natural stone, pavers can be laid in a pattern that deceptively looks random but installs much more easily.

Mega-Arbel®:  Mega-Arbel offers the texture, shape, and random look of natural flagstone to create outdoor spaces that flow into the surrounding landscape. Each irregularly shaped stone is roughly 15″x21″ and fits together into a cloverleaf pattern that installs more quickly than natural flagstone. False joints create the illusion of randomly-laid multiple sized pieces, including large stones that meet the needs of contemporary design trends.

Mega-Lafitt­™: The most natural-looking texture in a modular paver, Mega-Lafitt offers the look of hand-cut stone in a modular paver. Various modular shapes, including a large piece that is nearly 16″x16″, allow for a great deal of design flexibility that works well with a variety of architectural styles.

Lafitt™ Rustic Slab: With the look of natural slate, Lafitt Rustic Slab offers the modular lines of Mega-Lafitt, but with a less rugged texture and larger pieces, the largest of which is roughly 15″x23″. Lafitt Rustic Slab has the added benefit of the ability to overlay an existing concrete patio, making it ideal for backyard makeovers.

Sleek Contemporary Style

Although some gravitate to the natural stone look, others prefer more of a postmodern or avant-garde style, with sharp or clean lines. Belgard offers two paver lines that coordinate well with this type of design.

Mirage® Porcelain Pavers: Imported from Italy, Mirage Porcelain Pavers are the latest addition to the Belgard paver line and offer the utmost in ultra-contemporary outdoor living design. With over 40 interpretations of stone, concrete and wood (yes, wood) designs, these pavers come in standard sizes up to 24″x24″ — 18″x36″ in some markets — with the option to special order larger pieces.

Lafitt Grana SlabLafitt™ Grana Slab: Laffitt Grana Slab offers the same sizes, shapes, and overlay options as Lafitt Rustic Slab, but with a smooth finish, instead of the textured finish. Without losing the benefit of slip resistance, the sleek, clean lines of Lafitt Grana Slab create outdoor living designs that work well with any contemporary architectural style.

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For more patio design ideas, visit our patio inspiration page. To find a contractor or dealer near you, visit our locator gallery.

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.

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

Belgard at the Ultimate Beach House

Outdoor diningroom with Mega Lafitt pavers

Homeowners dream what their home will look like when its “done.” The finished product is what homeowners strive for, but the hard work of planning and making it happen (usually on a budget) can be the challenge. Belgard® has many offerings of products, from pavers to full kitchen to entire outdoor rooms, can put you on the right path.

Before

This blog will show you the 2011 Coastal Living Magazine Ultimate Beach House in Norfolk, Virginia. Belgard provided pavers for the outdoor areas. This exceptional three-story home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in East Beach has more than 1,500 square feet of outdoor living space.

Belgard’s Mega-Lafitt™ pavers were chosen to complement the beach feel of the home. Mega-Lafitt pavers offer the natural, flagstone appearance throughout the driveway and patio areas. Produced in numerous colors, these pavers look at home anywhere, whether at the beach or in the mountains.

For this home, pavers in the “Mega” or larger size are from the modular collection, which come in a three or four-piece shapes that layout in a particular, repeating yet natural pattern. With a simple installation, the three-piece pavers were used in the outdoor garden rooms to give it a more intimate feel, while the four-piece modular pavers were used for the driveway allowing for an expansive appearance. Both offer the strength and the durability that Mega-Lafitt pavers provide plus the Belgard lifetime warranty.

Pavers installed

Even though the garden rooms were scaled down to a smaller size to fit this house’s limited outdoor patio space, Belgard pavers made this backyard area a “dream” outdoor living area for beach living. Never overlook a side yard – it may become your next favorite spot!

Mega Lafitt Driveway

The Belgard driveway of your home will scream “Look at me!” While your neighbors might settle for a poured concrete driveway, you can make your dreams come true with Belgard. Plus, you will sleep better knowing your driveway won’t crack like concrete.

Not only does Belgard provide pavers, but you can also think about other decorations for your outdoor living areas. When the seasons get cooler, you don’t have to come inside. Belgard can enlighten and warm your outdoor space with an ever-popular fire pit or more elaborate outdoor fireplace.

Belgard also offers many different collections that can appease your lifestyle anywhere. Each paver has a lifetime warranty and you can count on your local Belgard contractor to get the job done for you new outdoor area.

For you to get a taste of what it’s like to experience Belgard pavers along the coast, The Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House will be open for tours from now until November 27, and it will cost $10.

Finished side yard