Sweepstakes is Now Open!
Enter for Your Chance to Win the HGTV® Dream Home 2020

Belgard takes pride in creating dream outdoor living spaces that allow home life to be enjoyed to its fullest. That’s why we’ve been a proud sponsor of the HGTV Dream Home since 2016. As the exclusive hardscape sponsor of each home, we enjoy helping to create unique outdoor living spaces that work in harmony with the surrounding landscape and bring each designer’s creative vision to life. Set on Hilton Head Island, the HGTV Dream Home 2020 is the personification of the South Carolina Lowcountry lifestyle. With ample porches and a mixture of coastal blues and rustic neutral tones, the home is an idyllic retreat with an expansive backyard living space that embraces the lazy marshland backdrop.

ENTER NOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

HGTV Dream Home 2020 outdoor living gallery:

  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Paver Driveway
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Outdoor Living Space
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Contemporary Paver Poolscape
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Porcelain Paver Trends
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Built-in Planter Beds Outdoor Living
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Outdoor Living Space Fire Pit
  • HGTV Dream Home 2020 Grill Kitchen Outdoor Living Space

Over the next few weeks, we look forward to bringing special behind-the-scene looks at the Belgard spaces of this charming southern home.

Learn more about the Belgard backyards from our five years of sponsoring the dream:

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HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the U.S., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends at 5 p.m. ET on 2/19/20. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. For full official rules, prize disclosures, and to enter, visit www.HGTV.com. Main Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC d/b/a Home & Garden Television 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932. Photos © 2019 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; all rights reserved.

CONTRACTOR’S CORNER:
Inside the 2019 HNA Installer Championship

Hardscape contractors from across the country competed regionally throughout the year to win travel packages to Hardscape North America in Louisville, KY to battle against the best of the best. Competing for over $15,000 in prizes, regional winners were pitted against one another — along with walk-on hopefuls — to race against the clock in a test of craftsmanship at the seventh annual HNA Installer Championship held on Oct. 17-18.

Highlight reel from the regional and national HNA Installer Championship series.

When the masonry dust settled, the Belgard Master Craftsman team from Segmental Systems Inc. of Spokane, WA emerged victorious for the second consecutive year. The team received a prize package valued at approximately $11,600. The package included a cash prize of $2,550, an iQMS362 16.5″ Masonry Saw with a diamond blade, a Weber MT CF3 forward plate compactor, their name engraved on the HNA Installer Championship Cup, and a return trip to HNA 2020 to defend their title yet again.

“I’m thrilled,” said Dan Hughes, owner of Segmental Systems and member of the winning three-man team. “It solidifies that we excel in our craft. No one has ever won two years in a row. No one thought we could do it. Now, no one has won it three years in a row. Let’s what happens.”

Josh Brownlee, Dan Hughes and Jason Mucciaccio receive their first place award, presented by ICPI Director of Engineering, Robert Bowers.
The Segmental Systems Inc. three-man team of Josh Brownlee, Dan Hughes and Jason Mucciaccio receive their first place award, presented by ICPI Director of Engineering, Robert Bowers.

The two-time national champion team of Hughes, Josh Brownlee and Jason Mucciaccio have been competing together in the HNA Installer Championship program for several years, winning the Northwest Region title every year since 2016. That title came with travel expenses and free entry into the national competition, where they competed strongly each year.

“The first year, we missed the championship round by one point. The second year, we missed it by three points. The third year (2018), we won with an exclamation point, setting a record high score in the preliminary round and beating the competition by more than 50 points,” Hughes said.

ICPI judges score an installation during one of the preliminary rounds on Oct. 17.
ICPI judges score an installation during one of the preliminary rounds on Oct. 17. Teams were all given the same design and were scored on speed, safety, quality and craftsmanship.

For the preliminary round of each competition, teams are all given the same design, which they don’t see until the day of the competition. However, teams have creative control in the final round, which is where Segmental Systems shines due to strategy that begins months before the actual competition.

“Josh is a really good artist, so he creates the design,” Hughes said. “While we’re at work all day long together, we talk about what will set us apart. He understands pavers and can draw in CAD and freehand. He knows how many cuts we can get done in the amount of time we have. In his design, he makes sure we’re using the other half of that cut somewhere. Our paver scraps won’t fill up a one-gallon bucket. He plans so well, there’s very little waste.”

The team is a well-oiled machine, having worked together on a near daily basis for the last eight years. Collectively, they have about 60 years of installation experience, with Hughes having been in the industry for 30 years, Mucciaccio for 18 and Brownlee for 12.

Jason Mucciaccio of Segmental Systems makes paver cuts during the preliminary round.
Jason Mucciaccio of Segmental Systems makes paver cuts during the preliminary round.

“Cumulatively, we’re the oldest team there,” Hughes said. “We have a lot of experience doing what we do and know how to work smoothly as a team. Before they say go, we have a good game plan.”

Each member of the Segmental Systems team has a specific role. Hughes handles much of the heavy lifting while Mucciaccio focuses on making cuts and Brownlee focuses on safety, design and managing the team.

“Josh is our eyes and the voice of our team, like a director,” said Hughes, who believes that strategy is a large factor in their success. “A lot of people don’t utilize their third man like they should.”

Segmental Systems Inc.’s winning hardscape design from the final round featured a large fleur-de-lis, the symbol of King Louis XVI of France, the namesake for Louisville, KY.

The final round was held on Oct. 18. In a nod to the hosting city, Segmental Systems’ winning design included a large inlaid fleur-de-lis in the paver field, with a seat wall flanked by two spiral columns. Although the team did not practice installing the inlay, they did do a practice run on the columns before heading to HNA to determine which degree of twist to use at each level.

“Fleur-de-lis are everywhere in Louisville — street signs, cops badges — it’s a symbol of Kentucky that’s very recognizable. Plus, it photos well,” Hughes said about the team’s inspiration for the design. “No one else has come close to doing anything like this. We figured, if we could pull it off, we stood a great chance of winning: go big or go home.”

Brownlee, who Hughes notes is passionate about art in many forms, has already begun formulating ideas for next year’s competition.

“Josh was sketching ideas on the plane ride home. He started the fleur-de-lis on the ride home last year,” Hughes said.

It remains to be seen whether any of this year’s finalists will return for a rematch with Segmental Systems in 2020. However, event organizers did note that this year’s competition was the closest scoring in HNA Installer Championship history. Although Segmental Systems had a healthy 15-point buffer with a score of 423, the race between second, third and fourth was extremely tight. General Pavers AOJ finished in second place with a score of 408, garnering a cash prize of $1,300 and an iQ 360XR 14″ masonry saw with fully-integrated dust collection plus accessories. General Pavers took third place with 405 and was awarded a cash prize of $650. First-time competitors, fellow Belgard Master Craftsman WaterQuest of Albuquerque, NM placed fourth with a score of 403.

Heartwarming Fireside Memories and Mouthwatering S’mores Recipes

Fire Pit S'mores Recipes

Last month, we reached out to our readers for submissions of their favorite fireside memories and s’mores recipes during our annual National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway. We were thrilled to receive over 5,800 submissions! As part of our celebration, a random name was chosen to receive a Belgard fire pit for making treasured fireside memories and yummy s’mores in their own backyard. Congratulations to this year’s winner:

TAMRA C. – Fresno, CA

We enjoyed reading through the wonderful stories and recipes that were submitted. Here are a few of our favorites for you to enjoy.

Everything’s Better Around the Fire

Recently we were flooded from our home and were homeless. We went up to my parent’s place back in the country and to cheer my kids up, my grandmother had sent s’mores makings to my mom’s house. We all sat around a fire and had s’mores and had a great time helping to forget the bad things happening to us that night. — B. Bluey / Latrobe, PA

Whenever daddy was deployed and the kids were so sad, I broke out the s’mores stuff. It was amazing. They perked up, and we were able to laugh and talk, and for a moment, even if it was only for that moment, the kids were happy. — K. Backowski / Olathe, KS

Under the towering pines of Colorado, we sat outside around the fire pit…my children’s faces lit up with joy, and starlight…downing s’mores. They each called out how they wanted their own marshmallows …either gooey or crunchy-crusted. We sang and told stories while the fire died down. Chocolate still on their cheeks, they nodded off, grinning, and had to be carried in to bed. — D. Patton / Dallas, TX

First time I ever had a s’more, I didn’t realize it was ok to blacken the marshmallow, so I kept throwing them away. Next thing I knew I used up the entire bag trying to make the perfect s’more. We had to run to the nearest store to buy more marshmallows so everyone else could have a s’more. — O. Chansombat / Oklahoma City, OK

Roasting marshmallows for my s’more at age 11, it caught fire. I shook it instead of blowing it to put it out. It flung off the stick across the fire and landed all melty on my aunt’s lip. Good times. — T. Locke / Jasper, AL

I remember as a teen, my sisters and I would write our wishes on slips of paper. We would toss them into the fire thinking as they burned, our wishes went to our guardian angels. — M. Scott / Joplin, MO

Some of my favorite fireside memories are of fixing lemonade and watching the grandchildren play and run with water guns and bubbles. Just listening to their screams of excitement as they played. We laughed because they did! — J. Burney / Kennesaw, GA

The first time I ever had s’mores was at Girl Scout Camp with my lifelong best friend, Lisa. A few months later, my family and I moved 2,000 miles away. Every summer for the next 4 years I came back and we had s’mores at the lake. We grew up, got married, had kids, lost touch. 20 years later, I made a visit back “home” with my family and showed up at Lisa’s door with a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and some chocolate bars. It was like we’d never been away from each other. — Anon / Denton, TX

New Versions of Everyone’s Favorite Fireside Treat

We got lots of submission that suggested switching out the standard milk chocolate bar for a favorite candy bar. Some yummy suggestions included using an Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Ghirardelli Squares. Those ideas all sound pretty darn awesome! Here are some other intriguing recipes submitted by our readers:

Graham crackers, pumpkin flavored marshmallows, Hersey bars and a smear of peanut butter. — R. Walker Conrad / Kingbury, TX

Drizzle caramel sauce over toasted marshmallows before putting chocolate on and sandwich between peanut butter cookies. — Anon / Reno, NV

Adult S’mores: Strain the juice out of a jar of cherries and soak the cherries in rum overnight. Push the cherry into the center of the melty marshmallow before assembling the s’more. — Anon / Eeau Claire, WI

Graham crackers, Nutella, chocolate squares, sliced fruit. Always went to campgrounds every weekend with my whole family. My grandparents always made them like this. We still all get together and have camping nights with s’mores. — C. Black / Marion, OH

Mexican S’mores: Tortilla, chocolate, and marshmallow — deep fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. — Anon / Gomez, CA

I live for sliced strawberries in between my s’mores. I also recently fell in love with chocolate and toasted marshmallow in between an open Oreo cookie. The more burnt, the better! — A. Church / Rockledge, FL

Key Lime Pie S’mores: Honey graham crackers, key lime marshmallows and white chocolate. We topped them with a little bit of lime zest and voila! The perfect tropical s’more. — R. Dutton / Ashville, NC

Vanilla wafers and starbursts. Soften the starbursts over a fire, then place on top of a vanilla wafer. — M. Fullmer / Logan, UT

Belgard Enhances ‘Smart Homes’ for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans

  • Belgard Enhances 'Smart Homes' for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans
  • Cavalier 'Smart Homes' for Disabled Veterans

When Belgard’s parent company Oldcastle APG, a CRH company, learned of the Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program, the company’s senior leadership knew that an outdoor living partnership with the philanthropic program was a must.

“Outdoor living has become a large part of American culture over the last several decades. Each Smart Home recipient was catastrophically disabled while protecting the American way of life. Belgard is incredibly honored to lend our backyard living expertise so they can fully enjoy their new homes,” said Wade Ficklin, President of Oldcastle APG West and APG’s Tunnel to Towers project coordinator.

'Smart Homes' for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created in memory of New York firefighter Stephen Siller who raced on foot from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers in full bunker gear during the 9/11 attacks, losing his life that day in the act of saving others.

The Smart Home Program was developed by T2T as a way to help catastrophically disabled veterans returning from conflicts in the Persian Gulf, an ongoing struggle that began as a result of the events of 9/11. The first surviving quadruple amputee from the Gulf War (Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, U.S. Army) came from a community near Siller’s former home on Staten Island. Due to the local connection, the foundation board felt compelled to do something for Sgt. Morracco, and thus the first Smart Home was built in 2011.

“From there, our Smart Home program was born,” said Charlie Percia, Smart Home Program Construction Manager. “Due to an outpouring of support from companies like Oldcastle APG, we have now committed to building 200 homes. We continue to get more sponsors and larger sponsors every year, which has allowed the program to continue to grow.”

Since beginning its partnership with T2T in 2017, Belgard has donated products for and helped install nearly a dozen outdoor living spaces to date, with several more in progress and a continued partnership commitment moving forward. Recipients choose the location of their Smart Homes, and the foundation builds across the country. Oldcastle APG donates the materials, while Belgard team members and local hardscape contractors donate their time to construct each outdoor living project.

“The original agreement was to build 12′ x 12′ patios, but in the course of building some of the houses, Oldcastle has stepped up to help with needs that have arisen like retaining walls,” Percia said. “Some of the installers have built fire pits—whatever they personally want to do. Each project is unique.”

The foundation is pleased with the partnership with Belgard to provide attractive outdoor living spaces for so many of the Smart Homes.

“Pavers are a lot nicer than concrete and brighten up the landscape for the recipients,” Percia said. “With Oldcastle donating the products and coordinating the installation, it alleviates us having to raise funding for that part of the house. It’s an awesome thing. Quite frankly, we couldn’t complete projects this nice without the support.”

To date, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has delivered, started construction, or is in the design stage of 85 Smart Homes.

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For more on Belgard’s involvement with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its Smart Home Program, read our blog: Belgard Team Members Build, Walk, Run & Climb for America’s Bravest.

Help us Celebrate National S’mores Day and Enter to Win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit

National S'mores Day, Win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit

August 10 is one of our favorite days of the year — that special day dedicated to ooey, gooey, chocolaty marshmallowy goodness! In honor of this delectable fireside treat, we invite you to join us in celebrating our third annual National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway. Each year, we reach out to our readers and ask them to submit their unique s’mores recipes or stories about enjoying a warm fireside moments with friends and family. One lucky entrant will win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit to enhance their backyard!

Belgard Fire Pit Kit

ENTER NOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

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As part of our celebration, here are some links for you to enjoy:

Gourmet S'Mores Recipes

Gourmet s’mores recipes: Looking for a new way to s’more? Get delicious Greek-inspired s’mores recipes from last year’s Fire Pit Giveaway winner and Greek chef, Elaine Pitenis.

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Design Patio Around Fire Pit Ideas

5 tips for designing a patio around a fire pit: When adding a fire pit to your backyard, these design tips will help you to create a warm and inviting outdoor living space.

. . .

S'mores Recipes

2018 fireside memories and s’mores recipes: Look back at some of our favorite submissions from last year’s National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway.

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Outdoor Fireplace and Fire Pit Design Ideas

Fire pit and outdoor fireplace design ideas: If you’re considering adding a fire feature to your backyard outdoor living space, check out our Pinterest boards for design inspiration.

And the Outdoor Design Innovations Keep Coming!

As leaders in the paver and landscape wall industry, Belgard spends over 20,000 hours annually on research and development and takes pride in constant innovation to drive the trends in outdoor living design. We are excited to showcase some of our newest innovations that are currently regionally available with plans to expand into additional markets.

Melville™ Wall

  • Melville Wall Garden Dimensional Brick Pavers
  • Melville Landscape Wall Pavers

Contemporary outdoor living trends are gravitating towards sleek designs with monochromatic color schemes, clean lines and smooth surfaces. The Belgard Metropolitan Collection offers numerous pavers that complement this design style. Examples include the modular Lafitt® Grana Slab, the multi-shape Moduline Series™ and the linear Melville™ Plank. New Melville™ Wall was designed to coordinate with these paver styles to create beautifully coordinated contemporary outdoor living spaces. Melville Wall can be installed in a straight lay to create landscape walls with a crisp, clean look. Or, it can be installed in a staggered pattern to offer a dimensional avant garde look. Melville Wall is currently available in the southwestern region.

TrueColor™ Technology

TrueColor™ Brick Paver Sealant

After pavers have been installed, sealants and color boosters can help keep them looking brand new but can fade or need to be reapplied as the years pass. Belgard’s TrueColor™ is an exclusive cutting-edge technology that uses propriety admixtures and in-line treatments during the manufacturing process to enhance color and protect our products before they are installed. This revolutionary technology provides richer color depth that is more resistant to fading, UV rays, stains and everyday wear without giving the pavers a glossy finish. TrueColor also optimizes the dimensional look of any surface texture, ensuring that your pavers are as beautiful on day 1,000 as on day 1. TrueColor Technology is currently available in the northeast and midwest regions and is coming soon to the south central region.

Tandem® Modular Block

Watch how easy it is to install the new Tandem® Modular Block system.

The Tandem® Wall System line has transformed the outdoor living design industry with its ease of use and versatility to quickly create multidimensional outdoor living elements such as outdoor kitchens, built-in seating, planters, accent walls, columns and more. With the new innovative Tandem® Modular Block, installation of Tandem® Wall is now easier than ever. Instead of clipping into place with pins, Modular Blocks offer a rear lip that slides into a backer block to hold the face in place, further reducing installation time and costs. Face styles include Ashlar (chiseled stone), Melville (smooth) and Lamina (stacked stone). Tandem Modular Block is currently available in eastern Canada and will be launching soon in the southwestern U.S. region. All other Tandem® systems — including Tandem® Wall, Mega-Tandem® Wall, Tandem® Column Kit and Tandem® Modular Grid — are available in all U.S. and Canada markets.

Agilina™ Plank Pavers

Inspired by the clean lines of modern design trends, new Agilina™ Plank is a marriage of old-world aesthetics and contemporary lines. With the subtly textured face of natural cut stone, Agilina™ Plank pavers are available in multiple size formats to create numerous looks and patterns for stylish outdoor living designs. Varied widths and lengths allow for multiple running bond patterns to create either a random or more stylized look, depending upon preference. Agilina™ Plank also works well as a border for mixed paver designs and when using the longer planks, requires fewer cuts. Launched in test markets in 2018, Agilina™ Plank has been well-received and is now available throughout the eastern seaboard and in the midwest.

Noon Porcelain Wall Veneer

Belgard’s Noon Porcelain Paver collection has been getting a lot of attention from the design community since its nationwide release in 2017. The rustic barnwood look and texture offers stain- and fade-resistant durability and mirrors interior flooring trends in both style and shape — making the collection a fantastic addition to Belgard’s contemporary line of Porcelain Pavers. In 2018, Belgard released two styles of Porcelain Veneers to coordinate with the Porcelain Paver line (Quartziti and Ardesie). Since their release, the veneer line has racked up innovation awards from The Old House, Qualified Remodeler, Building Design + Construction, the American Association of Architects, and Architzer. Now, Belgard is excited to announce the addition of Noon Porcelain Wall Veneer. Featuring the same durability and distressed wood aesthetics, Noon veneers work well as a compliment to Noon pavers or to provide a striking contrast with other architectural materials. Noon Porcelain Veneers are offered in four rich colors ideal for achieving a modern farmhouse aesthetic. Porcelain veneers are also perfect as an indoor accent to add rich textures or for creating indoor/outdoor flow. Noon pavers and veneers are currently available in all U.S. markets.