NALP’s ‘Top 5’ 2019 Outdoor Living Trends Focus on Bringing the Indoors Outside

A recent National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) survey reveals the top outdoor design trends that will influence the design and maintenance of backyards across America in the year ahead. As outdoor design continues to focus on functional spaces that bring the indoors out, homeowners are turning to their backyards as an extension of the home and truly enjoy using their space.

NALP Outdoor Living Trends 2019
*Information sources: Associated Press, NALP

These outdoor living trends for 2019 show that homeowners and design innovation are transforming the backyard from a simple patio into a functional outdoor oasis. For inspiration on transforming your space visit our inspirational outdoor design Pinterest boards or go to Belgard.com/inspiration. To find a qualified contractor near you, visit our contractor locator page.

Crafting a Sustainable Modern Art Masterpiece: Your Personal Urban Garden

Create a Personal Urban Garden Design

Whether it is a window sill herb display or a rooftop installation, urban gardening is quickly transforming itself into the “next big thing” in sustainability. Aside from polishing courtyards and sprucing up terrace appeal, city-dwellers are increasingly investing time to ensure almost year-round access to attractive flora and freshly-picked fruits, herbs and vegetables. As you know however, keeping this on par with building ordinances and more importantly personal landscaping flair requires careful planning and coordination. For those of you looking to transform your urban venue into the likes of a Monet, sit back as we navigate you throughout the jungle of urban garden design.

First Thing’s First

Before going out and splurging your hard-earned money on a bunch of exotic ferns from your local Lowe’s, utilize this time instead to ascertain what you really want. Do you want a home farm-to-table experience? Do you want to propagate moss on your outdoor fireplace to give it a more rustic feel? Do you want to create a forest-like aesthetic on your roof? Needless to say, the possibilities are endless when it comes to urban gardening.

Tying the Knot Between Form and Function

A garden in the city is a bold step in the right direction. Sometimes it’s just a therapeutic escape from the concrete and steel atmosphere of urban living. Sometimes it’s a way to ensure access to organically grown food. Perhaps you gourmet chefs out there could experiment will exotic peppers and herbs grown on your window sills. Perhaps you canning aficionados can create the next best jam or pickle with homegrown produce from the vertical garden on your balcony. Whatever the case, gardening in the city is a true blend of practicality and elegance. Once you have figured out what you want, consider hiring a contractor to help you design and install permanent structures for your garden that will not only stand up to the elements every growing season, but will enhance the overall look of your space.

Go Big and Stay Home

Your home is your palace, your castle, your Shangri-La. You have worked long and hard to get to where you are now. Your home should reflect this and then some! In terms of sustainable gardening ideas, you have many options to pull this off. An attractive yet durable raised plant bed, a paver courtyard with a container garden, water features and an outdoor fireplace — you hold the cards! Creating a lasting urban garden for the ages can be tricky, but you can count on Belgard to pave the way with ideas that will transform your balcony, terrace, courtyard or rooftop into the masterpiece you deserve!

Built-In Planter Ideas

Courtyard or Terrace Design Ideas

  • Celtik Wall Vertical Urban Garden Design Ideas
  • Brighton Fireplace with Container Garden Design Ideas

For more outdoor living design ideas, visit our Inspiration Gallery and Pinterest Boards.

NEXT WEEK: Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog next week for creative ideas on enhancing your gardens with edgers, borders and planters.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: ‘Simple Splash’ Backyard Makeover

Based in Minneapolis, Mom’s Design Build states that their company mission is to create outdoor living spaces that inspire the human spirit to live fully. That mission was wholeheartedly accomplished with a recent backyard transformation they titled, “Simple Splash.” This backyard makeover project took a rarely used yard with a rocky, sloped terrain and converted it to a welcoming contemporary family oasis.

  •  Nondescript patio
  • Contemporary sundeck and pool
  • Sloped backyard transformation
  • Multi-level poolscape

Project designer Heather Sweeney initially met with the family to discuss their goals for the space. The interior of their home has a modern design motif, and they felt the existing traditional paver patio was disconnected with the home’s interior and too small for their needs. The family includes two small children, a 5-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. They knew they wanted a pool that would eventually include a pool house. They wanted the design to have a contemporary feel that would flow well with the home’s interior design, but also wanted some traditional elements so that the space would be comfortable and approachable.

“A major challenge was how do we put a flat pool on this crazy hillside,” Sweeney said, “especially when the city had rules that dictated retaining walls could only be a maximum of three feet tall.”

Sweeney’s answer to that challenge was to create a tiered poolscape that includes a sundeck on the upper area, a poolside bar on the lower level, and a cozy sitting area where Mom could relax and overlook the entire space.

“Kids can sit either on the outside or in the pool,” Sweeney said of the dining bar. “Future plans include a pool house with a kitchen and a fireplace off of that area. This way, we could phase it out without making it look unplanned.”

  • Swim-Up Bar Concrete Pavers
  • Dining Terrace Pool Deck
  • Pool Sundeck
  • Built-in Lounge Paver Pool Area


The project features a mix of materials that includes Nau 2.0 porcelain pavers (Fado color), poured concrete, natural Bluestone and weathered corten steel. The retaining walls and bar are poured concrete trimmed with corten steel. Bluestone was used for the coping, step treads, stepping-stone garden and wall caps. The pool decking areas are all durable Nau 2.0 porcelain pavers, which offer the look of natural woodgrain with the stain-resistance and frost-resistance of porcelain — ensuring lasting beauty despite the harsh Minnesota climate.

“This was my first time using Belgard porcelain pavers,” Sweeney said. “I’ve been intrigued with the product. On this design, we were trying to find something that looks good that won’t burn your feet. The wood look lends to the clean-line modern look and at the same time subtly softens the look.”

For the sundeck area, the porcelain pavers were installed on a crushed stoned base like tradition pavers. Around the pool, Mom’s Design Build used a concrete sub-slab with a mat base between the concrete and paver. “I was a little nervous at first because it was a new process, but the sand locked it into place,” Sweeney said. “It looks great, and I’ve used it on additional projects since. For people who like that clean-line modern look, it works perfectly.”

Adding to both the look and functionality of the design, Sweeney included a natural diving platform that also functions as a water feature. The feature includes an built-in light controlled with the pool controller. To add to both ambiance and safety, lighting was also installed throughout the design, including the step treads. Channels were carved under each step tread to hide LED rope lights that automatically come on at night with a photocell sensor.

tiered garden and paver pool decking

Centered on the pool is a custom built-in lounge seat surrounded by a tiered garden. The mother stays at home most of the time and wanted a place to relax and watch the kids without having to be in the pool or get splashed. Custom built from decking and 6″ foam, the result was an artistic piece that acts as a natural focal point. The overall look of the third tier was softened with a combination of low-maintenance landscaping, ground cover along the corten wall, and maintenance-free artificial turf that connects with the sundeck.

The family has future plans to extend out from the dining area to build a pool house with an outdoor kitchen, along with an outdoor living room with an outdoor fireplace. By discussing the overall plan during the design phase, Mom’s Design Build was able to prep future phases on the front end, saving a lot of time and expense down the road. “All conduits have already been run the through concrete walls for future electrical, water and gas. Everything is setup so we don’t have to redo anything,” Sweeney said. “Footings are also in place for the kitchen and fireplace. We tiled on top of the footings and will remove those sections and build up from there when the time comes.”

Sweeney reports that the homeowners love their new space and spend time outside on almost a daily basis, something they rarely did before the backyard makeover. “They didn’t use their backyard at all before. They had a tiny patio. It was too shady, damp and hilly without a lot of functional space. The mom now spends a lot of time on her lounge reading, and her daughter likes to line up her Barbies along the edge of the pool to play. And they like to entertain large groups, and this space offers them lots of seating.”

For more backyard makeover inspiration, visit Mom’s Design Build on Facebook and Instagram. To find a qualified contractor in your neck of the woods, visit the Belgard contractor locator.

What Other Bloggers are Saying About the Belgard Outdoor Spaces of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019

Congratulations to former Indiana preschool teacher Beverly Fulkerson, winner of the HGTV Dream Home 2019 in picturesque Whitefish, Montana. The beautifully furnished designer home was part of a prize package valued at $2.3 million.

The stunning HGTV® Dream Home 2019 has been getting lots of interest from design bloggers around the country. As the exclusive hardscape sponsor, Belgard is excited to be part of all the buzz. Even though it’s too late to win this stylish mountainside retreat, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get inspiration from the design ideas to create your own beautiful spaces. Take a look at what some of the most influential design bloggers are saying:

Southern State of Mind

HGTV® Dream Home 2019 in Whitefish, Montana
This southern blogger looks right at home on the fabulous doorstep of the mountainside retreat. (Photo credit: Southern State of Mind)

Heather is an Atlanta blogger who has been featured in regional and national magazines and specializes in Southern style and living. Read this southern girl’s take on the exterior and interior design of the HGTV Dream Home 2019.

Run to Radiance

Obsessed with DIY projects, blogger Tania lives in Dallas with her real estate agent husband, Scott. The couple regularly relocates from fixer-upper to fixer-upper with Tania blogging about each renovation project along the way. Together, they took a trek to the HGTV Dream Home 2019 to get ideas for renovating their current home.

Belgard Design Studio Outdoor Living Space Rendering
Design rendering of Tiana’s and Steve’s current home. (Image credit: Belgard Design Studio)

During their visit to Montana, Tania and Scott viewed the Belgard Design Studio’s virtual reality design renderings of the backyard of this year’s HGTV Dream Home and were blown away by the realism. They then worked with the Design Studio to develop outdoor makeover ideas for their current fixer-upper. Read about it in the blog below.

Wit & Delight

HGTV® Dream Home 2019 Outdoor Fireplace Patio Living Space
Kate Arends writes about how outdoor fireplaces make the perfect venue for meaningful memories. (Photo credit: Wit & Delight)

An award-winning marketing consultant for the design industry, Kate Arends is a St. Paul-based blogger renowned for working with brands like Target and Fossil. See what this design expert had to say about the experience of visiting the HGTV Dream Home 2019.

Coco Kelley

HGTV® Dream Home 2019 Outdoor Fireplace in Winter
Coco Kelley blogger Cassandra LaValle writes about how the design focuses on the view and the expansive outdoor living spaces. (Photo credit: Coco Kelley)

Based in Seattle, Coco Kelley is a platform dedicated to a “well-styled life” from design and entertaining to food and travel. So, traveling to scenic Whitefish, Montana, was right up founder Cassandra LaValle’s alley. Get her take on the home’s indoor/outdoor living concept.

Gardening Know How

Shelley writes about how the Belgard outdoor spaces make the perfect setting for enjoying the outdoors during every season. (Photo Credit: Shelley Pierce)

Of course, no blog about outdoor design bloggers would be complete without a foray into the world of gardening. Despite the snowy landscape during the December launch of the HGTV Dream Home 2019 Giveaway, gardening guru Shelley Pierce found a lot to blog about, thanks to the home’s ample natural light and indoor/outdoor living concept. Not only did she cover the topics of bringing the outdoors in, but also offered sage advice on tackling Montana’s challenging gardening season — from plant choices to protecting your garden from hungry elk.

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HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved.

Weston Stone® Fire Pit Giveaway at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Belgard is once again excited to be the exclusive hardscapes sponsor of the most fabulous horticultural event in the country — the annual Philadelphia Flower Show — which began on March 2 and runs through March 10, 2019. In honor of the event, Belgard is giving booth visitors a chance to enter to win a charming Weston Stone® Fire Pit to enhance their backyard. Those who can’t make it to the show can still enter to win by clicking the image below!

Those attending the show will be treated to amazing displays across the ten-acre Flower Show floor. The world’s leading floral and garden designers used this year’s theme of “Flower Power” to explore how flowers convey a wide range of messages in a universal language that transcends cultures and borders. Stunning landscapes, vibrant gardens, and breathtaking floral displays interpret flowers’ power to inspire and enrich our lives. Through imaginative exhibits, concepts like community, healing, peace, transformation and hope have been brought to life in surprising, vibrant ways.

The Belgard display booth at the Flower Show was designed to emulate the experience of walking through the lush outdoor spaces of a beautiful home, from the front paver walkway and garden entrance through the Ultimate Backyard. This year’s backyard design features raised planters, a vertical garden, an outdoor theater, and a fireside conversation area with two fire features: a Bordeaux™ Series Fireplace and a contemporary linear gas fire pit. In a nod to the “Flower Power” theme, the display showcases how flowering plants and lush greenery can be incorporated with a wide variety of pavers and landscape walls to create welcoming outdoor living spaces for both relaxation and entertaining.

In addition to use in the Belgard booth, Belgard paver and retaining wall products were used in displays throughout the show in a variety of creative ways. Click on the galleries below to peruse images from the show.

Image Gallery: Belgard’s Ultimate Backyard Booth

VIDEO: Panoramic View of the Belgard Backyard

Image Gallery: Philadelphia Flower Show Displays

Introducing New ‘Collections by Belgard’ for Coordinated Outdoor Design

Designing well-coordinated outdoor living spaces just got easier! Say hello to Collections by Belgard, launching in the Southwest, Midwest, and Southeast regions for this year’s building season with a nationwide rollout to follow. Collections combines complementary products in a way to more effortlessly pair hardscapes with a home’s style or design aesthetic, simplifying the design and planning process. Collections by Belgard features six unique looks, which each relate to architecture trends and styles across North America.

Legacy Collection

Belgard Legacy Collection

Perfect for evoking old-world charm or providing a timeless accent, the Legacy Collection represents the traditional aesthetic and classic spirit of Belgard. With soft edges and ground or split-face textures, the Legacy Collection creates a time-honored look that never goes out of style. You can also look here for border inspiration and accents to enhance the look of any design.

Heritage Collection

Belgard Heritage Collection

Where traditional style meets modern convenience, the Heritage Collection allows for a time-worn aesthetic without the wait. Antiqued and tumbled so that every piece is unique, this collection adds charm and warmth to neutral palettes.

Natural Collection

Belgard Natural Collection

The Natural Collection embraces the casual spirit of life without borders, featuring natural stone textures with organic warmth. With laid-back, design-forward products, this collection is perfect for combining old and new, living in harmony with its natural surroundings.

Metropolitan Collection

Belgard Metropolitan Collection

Strong lines paired with smooth textures give the Metropolitan Collection a bold, modern look. This streamlined, contemporary aesthetic emphasizes natural light and neutral tones with wood accents to give a modern flair that is cozy, not cold.

Porcelain Collection

Belgard Porcelain Collection

Versatile and ultra-contemporary, the Porcelain Collection is stunning with a streamlined, upscale appearance and superior performance. Compact, resistant and virtually non-porous, this collection provides a modern aesthetic best complemented by blacks, whites and other pale neutrals.

Environmental Collection

Belgard Environmental Collection

A true marriage of form and function, the Environmental Collection ensures that homeowners can be water wise and house proud. Classic lines and smooth finishes complement the traditional and the modern, providing a stunning solution to standing water and irrigation needs.

To find more information on Collections by Belgard, visit Belgard.com/locator to find a Belgard Authorized Contractor near you.