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Mastering the Craft with Chip Wade and Tim Ortman 

December 12, 2023
Chipe Wade and Joe Raboine

In episode 17 of Inside Out with Belgard, Joe and his guest co-host Tim Ortman, President of Oldcastle APG, are joined by Chip Wade, an Atlanta-based contractor, master carpenter, and HGTV® host. Chip has worked on numerous projects with Oldcastle APG and Belgard, spanning 15 years. In episode 17, the trio sits down to discuss current and past projects, industry trends, and offer insights and tips for other contractors and outdoor professionals. 

Crafting the Canvas 

Outdoor living has changed drastically over the past five years. What was an afterthought is now a focal point for many homeowners and those looking to buy a home. Outdoor projects have become more extensive and complex as people reconsider what their outdoor space means to them. Backyards now feature pools, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and all the above.  

Creating the core fundamental spaces, or what Chip refers to as “crafting the canvas, starts at the inception of the design process. This is what separates a great project from an everyday project. Once you understand the design and the process needed to complete the project, such as preselecting the materials and the quantity, then the aesthetics and other details layer on top. 

Strategic Design for Seamless Integration  

As a contractor, it’s essential to sit down and design the space before any construction has happened. This way, you can better utilize the pre-existing building design and harmoniously integrate the outdoor living space.

Many houses don’t flow with their outdoor space or use the area well because the structure is designed without hardscapes and outdoor elements in mind. Mixing materials is a crucial component of elevating any project. Pair together different textures, colors and products to add depth and contrast while keeping a cohesive look.  

Belgard and Chip’s most recent project, Pinhoti Peak, is a perfect example of how the design of a house and outside elements blend seamlessly to create a space that feels intimate and private but is also excellent for entertaining and hosting.  

Pinhoti Peak outdoor space
A well planned and executed design, like the one featured at Pinhoti Peak, create stunning spaces.

Think through ways the outdoor design can make a better physical and visual connection with the inside of a home. Folding glass walls or simple French doors are an accessible feature to build that connection and encourage homeowners to get outside. Outdoor dining, outdoor seating areas, outdoor bars, as well as comfy outdoor furniture will make them want to use their backyards more often, whether for small intimate gatherings or backyard parties with family and friends.

  • Pinhoti Peak outdoor living spaces
  • Pinhoti Peak pool design
  • Pinhoti Peak views

Adapting the Design  

Some of the best projects are an adaptation of the original design. When going into a project, stick to the fundamentals of the design but allow yourself room to tweak the space. In a remodeling project, try driving the outdoor living area first. This will be helpful to integrate the backyard into the design of a home rather than it being an add-on or afterthought.

It’s important to keep in mind the end result and who you are making this for. Ultimately, that should guide the design and build process to create a dream space for your client.


Belgard pavers at Pinhoti Peak
Belgard pavers and retaining walls are heavily featured in the design at Chip Wade’s Pinhoti Peak.

Understanding the Process 

New products, processes, technology, and equipment are changing how we work on job sites in the outdoor living industry. In episode 17, Chip shared that during initial client consultation, he brings in outside partners to help add value to the conversation and increase expertise in all areas. Bringing in other experts can help you think outside your own realm of processes and design to reimagine a space and envision the project in a different light.    

“Success comes from recognizing who is going to help make this space better,” says Chip. 

Bringing a spectrum of knowledge can get your clients answers and better results in a shorter amount of time. Understanding the project’s process and materials used is important from start to finish. Utilize the resources around you and learn from everyone possible, such as painters, hardscapers, landscape architects, and more. Absorb whatever design tips, small tidbits, and information from other professionals in the space to expand your portfolio.   

Chipe Wade and Joe Raboine
Chip Wade and Joe Raboine chat in the outdoor kitchen at Pinhoti Peak.

Listen To The Full Episode and More  

You can hear the entire conversation with Joe, Chip and Tim on episode 17 of Inside Out with Belgard. Keep up with the series by downloading and subscribing today. Inside Out with Belgard is available wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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