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.
The country is going green, in more ways than one! Everywhere you look, people are finding new and interesting ways to garden. One of the more recent trends is the rise of the what is called “vertical gardening”. Entire websites and companies are devoted to the trend. For those looking to add a little more dimension to their lives, vertical gardening is the way to go.
What exactly is a vertical garden?
A vertical garden can take any number of forms and is basically any vegetation that exists on a plane other than a flat horizontal surface. It can be as simple as a tier of stacked planters or as intricate as a high-rise wall completely covered in vegetation. Classic forms of vertical gardens include those created with trellises and arbors, but today’s modern vertical gardens have grown to incorporate a variety of ideas, techniques, and materials.
How do I get started?
Wherever there is a blank wall or a bare fence, there is the potential for a vertical garden. There are companies that sell pre-made pockets and planters that are specifically designed to attach to walls or fence boards. However, the ideas are virtually endless for creating homemade versions. Unique ideas include converting rain gutters into vertical rows of horizontal planters, or constructing planter pockets out of heavy-duty fabrics.
What if my yard is sloped?
Well then, you have the perfect natural setting to create a vertical garden. Any gardening you do will already be multidimensional. But if you want to create something more structured and permanent, consider terracing the slope with pavers and retaining walls to create layers of built-in planters, which will define the garden areas and, at the same time, make the space more usable.
As one of the final qualifications for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, a scout must organize and complete a community service project. For his project recipient, Timothy Bedford of Troop 996 in Virginia Beach chose to help the Landing Zone Grace Warriors Retreat (LZ-Grace) build a relaxation area for special operations forces veterans returning from deployment.
“I chose the project because our family has a great appreciation for military personnel,” said Bedford, whose father is a retired Navy senior chief. “We are aware of the effects of wartime deployments on service members and their families. I wanted a project that would help those who serve our nation and sacrifice to protect us.”
With Cambridge Cobble pavers donated by Belgard and local dealer Lancaster Farms, Timothy organized over 35 volunteers to build a fire pit and patio area as a relaxing gathering spot where veterans can help each other decompress from the tensions of deployment and transition back to life at home.
The dream for the LZ-Grace retreat center was originally conceived by 32-year veteran Navy SEAL, Steve Bukowski, who himself had trouble transitioning from each deployment. But before Bukowski could achieve his dream, he died of a massive heart attack only six months after his retirement.
A little over four years later, Bukowki’s widow, Lynette, and the Bukowski family have now brought this dream to life by converting a rundown horse farm into LZ-Grace where special operations forces veterans will benefit from peer mentoring, recreation-based therapy, life skills instruction, and post-transition planning.
“Mrs. Bukowski shared her late husband’s vision of a place where service members could rest, heal, and reconnect,” Bedford said. “She told me recovery happens when people can talk over a meal or sitting around a fire. As a scout, I have always enjoyed campfires. I would have done whatever project she needed most, but my heart was to build the fire pit.”
Although, the retreat center is not scheduled to open until late summer or fall of this year, the Warrior Fire Pit, as it has been named, is already well used by the numerous volunteers working daily to renovate the property, many of whom are retired or former combat special operations forces, local firefighters or police officers, or SWAT team members.
“I often find many of the guys volunteering out here sitting around the fire talking after a full day of hard, dirty labor,” said Lynette Bukowski, LZ-Grace founder. “The comradery which naturally takes place around an outdoor fire opens a space for healing of hearts and minds and spirits in many. It’s easy to talk and tell stories around a fire. It’s also easy to sit quietly and listen and reflect.”
One of the popular trends in today’s outdoor living design is the multi-level patio or poolscape. Often, a multi-level design is simply the solution to elevation grade issues. However, adding dimension to an outdoor living space can also be a personal choice, and quite often is.
When planning a multi-level outdoor living design, there is one element of the design that requires thought, but is often overlooked…the step. There are a lot of different ways of designing steps, and here are just a few ideas to help you step up to the next level.
For more ideas, visit our Pinterest “Step It Up” inspiration board.
Looking for ideas to transform your backyard or create curb appeal that will be the envy of the neighborhood? Order your free Belgard Idea Book for ideas on how to use a variety of hardscape colors, patterns, and textures to enhance the beauty, functionality, and value of your home. From picturesque walkways and cozy outdoor fireplaces to gourmet outdoor kitchens and traffic-stopping driveways, the 2015 Belgard Idea Book will help you explore the possibilities.