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.
FREE 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
To create a modern poolscape, not only must you think about the design of the pool itself, but the surrounding environment as a whole. Modern pool designs incorporate a cohesive look that flows through the entire back yard—from the back door to the outdoor kitchen, garden retaining wall, outdoor fireplace, pool and the surrounding patio.
“Countless pool designers and contractors prefer our paver products for pool decking because of the versatility and ability to create an entire environment that all works together as one unified and gorgeous design,” says Ken O’Neill, Executive Vice President of Belgard.
The options for creating a cohesive pool design scheme are endless. Gone are the days of the standard blue rectangle with a wrap-around concrete deck. “I grew up in the pool business, and concrete decking was always a necessary evil. But, the durability and look of pavers has revolutionized how we do business,” said Danton Townsend, designer with Leisure Pools in New Braunfels, Texas. “Almost 100 percent of our pools now use paver decking. Customers love the look, the warranty and the maintenance-free aspect.”
In addition, the versatility of Belgard products enables multi-dimensional designs that are as unique as the individual owner. “Belgard’s products allow us to build a pool with a lot of different elevations with walls, steps, raised decks and multi-level seating areas,” said Townsend.
The same products used to create the pool decking and coping can also be used in the surrounding poolscape design to create that cohesive look. “A multi-step water feature can be built right from the decking into the pool, a fire box can be added at the edge of the water feature, and the same products can be used to build a retaining or garden wall,” added Curt Mansfield, hardscape designer with Stone Deck in Austin, Texas, who has often worked with Townsend on hardscape installations for his pool designs.
To continue the cohesive design to the rest of the outdoor living area, the same hardscape products used in the poolscape can also be used to build an outdoor kitchen, a custom fireplace, seat walls, patios, walkways, column wraps, and more. The end result is an elegant resort-like environment that is an extension of the homeowner’s personal sense of style, whether a classic tailored look or a backyard oasis.
“Many people today are trending towards a very natural look,” said Mansfield. “Belgard offers a number of products that look so natural, you get the look and feel of a lagoon that was chiseled out of European stone, but with the benefit of a manufactured product that has a lifetime warranty. Natural stones can get brittle or crack and just don’t hold up to a salt water system.”
Although creating a cohesive outdoor living environment and poolscape from scratch is a simpler process, there are also a number of techniques that can be used to keep a pool renovation or addition from looking like an afterthought to an existing design.
“Once the poolscape is designed, you can easily work the new hardscapes into the pre-existing living areas in the form of seat walls, planter boxes, trim, and various embellishments,” says O’Neill. “We also offer a number of products that can install over an existing concrete deck, like Lafitt™ Rustic Slab, Lafitt™ Grana Slab or Mirage® Porcelain Pavers.”
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Click the video image below to watch a dramatic poolscape makeover using Lafitt Rustic Slab.
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
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
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.
Whether working with a large open space or a diminutive courtyard, creating a sense of intimacy in outdoor design can often be illusive due to the inherent openness of the outdoors. However, through the use of dimensional design elements, such as Belgard retaining and freestanding walls, an intimate outdoor nook can be merely a garden wall away.
Create a Feeling of Closeness
Adding walls to an outdoor design, whether an 18 inch seat wall or an 8 foot retaining wall, will help to develop a feeling of closeness, which is the first step to creating an intimate nook. It works well to design with walls around 18-20 inches in height. This size wall offers multiple uses and can define an area without creating a boxed-in feel, while at the same time offering additional seating for large gatherings.
The Organic Rule of Thumb
If an outdoor space looks cold and uninviting, odds are there are not enough organic materials mixed into the design. Elements like wooden arbors or various levels of vegetation can add texture, provide shade, soften the space, and add to the feeling of closeness. Wood, either painted or natural, makes a space more inviting. Stone adds richness, but organic materials add comfort.
The ultimate in organic design includes incorporating the elements of water or fire. There’s nothing more intimate than a fire pit. It touches people of all ages. Place a 6-year-old girl, a teenage boy, and a 70-year-old man around a fire pit, and they’ll sit and tell stories to each other for hours. And in the summer, you can add a plastic liner, fill the pit with ice, and use it as a drink station. No matter what time of year, it will be everyone’s favorite spot.
Use Elevation and Dimension to Your Advantage
A sloping landscape, although attractive, can typically be unusable space. Belgard products can be used to create a terracing effect. By combining steps, pavers, planters, and retaining walls, you can create a series of planes at various elevations that now become areas of usable space with walls that can be used as a backdrop for an intimate nook. And, you can do all of this without concrete footers, which eliminates a lot of the costs, code issues, and headaches of masonry.
Even consider how pattern integration in your paver design can complete the look. By varying color, texture, or pattern, pavers can further define the perimeter of the nook or create a rug-like design to add to the cozy feel.
Lighting is Key
Whether your intimate nook is next to the back door or at a destination location across the property, proper lighting is a key component to completing the design. Lighting should be bright enough to allow for visual comfort in the darkness without overpowering the space and ruining the mood.
Texture creates intimacy, and proper lighting will enhance texture at night. If you uplight a stone wall, the texture is incredible. It gives a warm feel and draws you out into the space. But, even some low voltage lighting can be too intense if placed improperly. You want to bathe the space in gentle light without blowing it out.
The goal of this project was to create a backyard getaway where the homeowners could enjoy family time within the outdoor environment. The outdoor living room, complete with Belgard patio and outdoor fireplace, was designed as an extension of the home’s existing wood deck. The installer also included a mix of shrubs, trees, plants, and large boulders to enhance the natural feel of the landscape.
The installer was able to include many different types of natural and man-made products to create a unique sitting area that includes a beautiful fireplace for friends and family to enjoy. The homeowner also liked the way the patio looked after a rain storm, so Belgard suggested to clean and seal the patio and utilize Belgard’s BG-2295 color boost sealer, which enhances the blended colors throughout the entire patio.
This comfortable and intimate outdoor patio was created using Lafitt™ Rustic Slab, which offers the look and texture of cut slate. This fantastic foot-traffic paver uses elegant modular lines in a rich range of color options and can either be used to overlay an existing patio or can be installed using standard paver patio construction. Multiple sizes allow laying patterns that mimic natural stone without the cost.
Retaining and seat walls add dimension to the patio design and allow the patio to feel as though it is cut out of the countryside. The landscaped water feature adds to the natural feel and serves as both a serene backdrop and a visual anchor to the overall design.