Readers’ Choice Top Outdoor Kitchen Designs

With National Grilling Month coming up in July, we reached out to the more than 80,000 subscribers of our monthly Outdoor Living by Belgard eNewsletter to visit our Outdoor Kitchen and Outdoor Grill Island Pinterest boards and vote on their favorite designs. The votes have been tallied, and here on the top 5 outdoor kitchen designs in each category.

Top 5 Outdoor Kitchen Designs

Belair Wall Outdoor Brick Kitchen
#5 – Featuring the chiseled stone look of Belair Wall®, this al fresco kitchen includes both a gas grill and a wood-fired outdoor brick oven with a built-in wood box. This well-equipped kitchen also includes an ice-maker, outdoor dishwasher, custom bar sink and multiple durable stainless cabinets.
Lafitt Rustic Slab Outdoor Kitchen Design
#4 – This L-shaped kitchen is positioned adjacent to a covered Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio that offers ample seating for guests to visit with the outdoor chef during meal prep. Stacked-stone veneer adds a rustic elegance to complement multiple stainless outdoor appliances and a double grill.
Weston Stone outdoor kitchen design
#3 – This contemporary Weston Stone® outdoor kitchen includes a multi-functional granite countertop that provides a large linear area to accommodate food prep, serving and dining space. Weston Stone was also used for an adjacent landscape wall to visually tie the design together.
Weston Stone outdoor brick oven kitchen design
#2 – A raised bar opposite the grill allows guest to enjoy conversation with the outdoor chef during meal prep in this lovely Weston Stone® outdoor kitchen. A quaint lantern-style light fixture adds both ambiance and functionality to the wood-fired brick oven. Weston Stone was also used to construct a coordinating decorative wall that adds charm to the overall design.
Belair Wall Stone Outdoor Kitchen Design
#1 – This simple, yet elegant Belair Wall®outdoor kitchen garnered the most votes from our readers. The perfect space to entertain, this kitchen includes an oversized granite countertop that provides ample prep and serving spaces, as well as bar-style dining. The L-shape design puts everything within arm’s reach and opens to a covered Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio with additional seating, which creates a communal atmosphere.

Top 5 Grill Island Designs

Weston Stone L-shaped Grill Stone Kitchen Outdoor
#5 – This Weston Stone® L-shaped grill island offers clean, contemporary lines and a raised bar opposite the prep area for dining. Coordinating shades of Urbana® Stone pavers are laid in a running bond pattern on the adjacent patio to add a cohesive look to this eclectic space.
#4 – Rustic rough-hewn Celtik® Wall pairs with a contemporary granite countertop to create an L-shaped grill island that is the perfect complement to this eclectic outdoor living space. The flagstone design of Mega-Arbel® pavers help define the cooking area of the Lafitt® Grana Slab patio. Charcoal colored Old York™ pavers tie in with the color of the countertop to add a contemporary geometric border design.
Stone Patio Outdoor Kitchen Design
#3 – A built-in arbor made of reclaimed wood and wrought iron accents adds rustic charm to this attractive Weston Stone® grill island. Coordinating tones in the Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio complement the design.
Stone Outdoor Kitchen Design
#2 – The simple lines of this Weston Stone® grill island allow it to blend seamlessly with the structure of the adjacent home. A raised backsplash and granite countertops add a tailored look. The angled extension allows for additional prep and serving space without overpowering the sitting area of the Mega-Lafitt® paver patio.
Tandem Modular Grid Outdoor Stone Kitchen Design
#1 – This contemporary design garnered the highest number of votes in the grill island category. The versatile Tandem® Modular Grid provides the structure for the grill island, as well as a base for the arched arbor and a raised platform for the dining table.

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NEXT WEEK: Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog next week for a chance to win a free prize in our National Grilling Month giveaway!

Virtual Reality: The New Game-Changing Technology in Outdoor Living Design

Not long ago, the thought of virtually walking through a project that was only in the design phase would have seemed like science fiction. Today, the Belgard Design Studio offers a way to do just that.

Originally developed for the entertainment and gaming industries, virtual reality technology is now used by the Design Studio to give homeowners a total 360-degree 3D view of their future outdoor living space, complete with imagery of the home, furniture, appliances and landscaping. The experience is incredibly realistic and completely free of charge when working with a Belgard Authorized Contractor.

Outdoor Living Design in VR
To view a sample 360-degree view of a virtual reality outdoor living design from the Belgard Design Studio, click the image and then scroll up and down using your mouse or finger.

Immersing Yourself in Your Future Outdoor Living Space

This “gaming” technology is now changing the game for homeowners interested in an outdoor living makeover. Embarking upon a large-scale home improvement project can often be a stressful experience for those who have a difficult time visualizing the end-result of their design choices.

Belgard Virtually Reality VR Outdoor Living DesinAs lifelike as the 3D pool design image above is, the experience is even more realistic when viewed through Belgard virtual reality goggles. When you tilt your head up, you see the roof or the sky. When you tilt your head down, you see the patio pavers. For the most realistic experience, it’s best to sit in a swivel chair so that you can slowly turn in a complete circle to take in the entire immersive design, as though you’re sitting right in the middle of your future outdoor living space.

What Makes these Outdoor Designs so Realistic?

Your contractor will submit “before” photos of your home and simple design sketches of your future space to the Belgard Design Studio, along with your choices of any Belgard pavers, landscape wall products, outdoor kitchen pieces or outdoor fire features. The Design Studio integrates all of this information so that your personalized design includes imagery of your existing home. If your home hasn’t been built yet, they can also integrate architectural drawings of your future home into the design.

The Benefits of Virtual Reality Design

Belgard’s virtual reality designs not only help you visualize your future space, they help to ensure that you and your contractor are on the same page. It also gives you the opportunity to make changes in the design before products are ordered, potentially saving you a great deal of money and headaches. For example, you may decide to change the size of a design element or choose a different paver style or color. In addition, placing furniture in the virtual design will ensure you’ve allotted enough room for seating, gathering and traffic flow. Virtual reality designs can also help you create a long-term plan for a dream outdoor space that you can construct in more affordable phases.

Interested in learning more? Click here to find a Belgard Authorized Contractor near you, or call 877-BELGARD (877-235-4273).

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Next Week:  What’s your favorite outdoor kitchen design? Visit the Belgard Outdoor Kitchen Pinterest board to cast your vote by pinning or saving your favorites. In next week’s blog, we’ll publish the results!

 

Built-In Planters That Add Dimension to Your Outdoor Living Designs

No matter how beautiful the construction materials, an outdoor living design can look dull and lifeless without pops of color or dimensional design elements. A built-in planter constructed with retaining wall block will provide a permanent receptacle for adding color, texture and dimension to your spaces and can coordinate with your pavers and landscape walls to tie the overall look together.

Add curb appeal

Make a statement as soon as visitors arrive with planters along the driveway or a sidewalk in front of your home.

Highland Stone®Built-in Planters Retaining Wall
Highland Stone®
Create a grand entrance

Planters along walkways and near doorways create a welcoming effect and add architectural interest to the front of your home.

Edge a terrace

Soften the look of an angular wall or add a buffer zone along the terrace edge with planters of various shapes and sizes.

Dress up a retaining wall

Large retaining walls are often necessary, but can be visually boring. Add dimension and visual interest to a large retaining wall with planters at the base or at higher points along the wall.

Create a focal point

Add drama to a patio, walkway or driveway with a large planter that can create a visual focal point for the design.

Belair Wall® Retaining Wall Blocks & Built-in Planters
Belair Wall®
Flank a fire feature

Add pops of color and foliage to soften the look of larger structures and help coordinate the space with the surrounding landscape.

Flank Stairs or Steps

Stair or step planters can take a variety of shapes and styles. Options can include symmetrical tiers, terraced landings, or a singular accent planter.

Emphasize a tree

A tree planter box or wall can add design elements to larger open spaces or provide an area for installing a flower garden.

Add dimension to a patio

Planter gardens are a great way to add dimension and visual interest to an open patio. In addition, locating a planter near an outdoor kitchen can provide an outdoor chef with a space to grow fresh herbs.

Soften the look of a column

Incorporating a planter into the top of a column or pillar softens the look and adds a natural textural design element to your outdoor living structures.

Home is Where the Hearth Is

Products: Belair Wall® (fireplace and seat wall) and Mega-Lafitt® pavers.

The outdoor living room has been one of the fastest growing trends in outdoor design over the last few years. When considering the popularity of this trend, the question arises: What’s the difference between a patio and an outdoor living room? The answer is simple: Livability.

Products: Bristol Elements™ fireplace and Lafitt® Rustic Slab pavers.

An outdoor living room is more than just a grouping of chairs with a coffee table. It’s a cozy and inviting space that evokes a sense of relaxation, a space where people want to spend time both alone and enjoying the company of others. To achieve this effect, it’s important to apply interior design techniques to creating your outdoor space.

With that in mind, what tends to be the centerpiece of most interior living rooms? The answer, of course, is a fireplace. The reason for this is multifaceted. Historically, a fireplace would be added to the living room to heat the home. But as this need diminished in necessity over the years, the popularity of an interior fireplace did not. That is because the warmth that exudes from a fireplace is not only physical in nature, but emotional, as well. Spending time in front of a fire with a loved one often creates a deeper connection with that person on an instinctual or primal level. Fire, good.

That’s why one of the easiest ways to create an emotional sense of warmth in an outdoor living room is to add a fire feature, which has the added benefit of physical warmth during the colder months, allowing you to use your outdoor living room year round. Another benefit to fire features — like fireplaces, fire pits and fire tables — is that they appeal to people of all ages. When multiple generations gather around a fire pit, the generation gap disappears, and they can all relate to one another on a purely human level. It’s no wonder that fire pits have been on the top of the “must haves” list in outdoor design for the last several years.

A fire feature, like this welcoming fire pit at the HGTV® Dream Home 2018, instantly converts a simple patio into an outdoor living room. Products: Belair Wall® 2.0 (fire pit) and Urbana Stone® permeable pavers. (photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

When adding a fire feature to an outdoor living room, be sure to leave ample space for seating and traffic because it will instantly become everyone’s favorite gathering spot. If it’s a wood-burning fire feature, it will also need to be an adequate distance from any structures, as a safety precaution. In fact, some municipalities and HOA’s have specific regulations about this, so be sure and do your homework.

To complete your outdoor living room, add other interior design touches — such as tables, accent lighting, pillows, throws and other accessories. But be warned, once you create an inviting outdoor living room, get ready for company!

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For fire feature design ideas, read our blogs on Fire Pit Design Ideas and  Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas For more design inspiration, visit the Belgard Pinterest boards.

NEXT WEEK:  Don’t let the frigid temperatures fool you. If you want your new pool to be ready for swimming season, it’s time to start planning now.

Front and Backyard Transformations of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018

Again this year, Belgard is proud to be a sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018. Located in Gig Harbor, Washington, this year’s home is a contemporary waterfront retreat overlooking the picturesque Henderson Bay, an inlet of Puget Sound.

As the official hardscapes sponsor, Belgard is excited to walk you through the dramatic transformation of the home’s outdoor living areas, which now includes multiple entertaining zones overlooking the spectacular view.

Front Yard – Before

Front Yard – After

The home received a tremendous upgrade to its curb appeal. The disjointed driveway and entryway landing were demolished and replaced with an an attractive, eco-friendly permeable paver system. Urbana® Stone permeable pavers were laid in a modular ashlar pattern to complement the contemporary architecture. The new permeable paver system will allow rainwater to infiltrate through the joints and percolate through a bed of aggregate and into the ground below. This will not only provide a safer environment by keeping water from pooling on the surface, it will also help remove impurities from any infiltrated water to help reduce pollution to the local receiving waterways. To add even more curb appeal, the driveway was trimmed with a border of Avalon Slate pavers in a contrasting darker color. Both Urbana Stone and Avalon Slate pavers have a natural stone texture, which coordinates well with the surrounding wooded landscape.

Photo: David A. Land

The design team also removed the aging raised planter bed and constructed a new planter bed using Belair Wall® 2.0 retaining wall, which features a rustic chiseled stone texture. Quarziti 2.0 porcelain pavers were used to add an elegant, finished look to the entryway landing to complement the new glass doorway and angular portico.

Photo: Thomas Espinoza Photography
backyard before
Backyard after

The deteriorating retaining walls and wooden deck were demolished and replaced. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a low-maintenance vertical garden of native plants, and a new covered composite deck was built, which includes a waterfront dining area and a stairway down to a lower landing on the water’s edge.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Urbana® Stone walkways now lead from the deck and back patio to a newly constructed fire pit paver patio. The fire pit, as well as a nearby seat wall, were constructed with rustic Belair Wall® 2.0. The paver patio and walkways are trimmed with an Avalon Slate border to provide a cohesive look that ties in with the color of the deck and the look of the driveway, thus creating a continuous design throughout the entirety of the home’s exterior.

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography
Back patio before

back patio after

The existing concrete of the back patio was overlaid with Quartziti 2.0 porcelain pavers to coordinate with the entryway and provide an elegant transition from the interior spaces to the outdoor living spaces. Belair Wall® 2.0 provided the structure for a built-in stainless grill.

Photo: David A. Land

For more information on the HGTV Dream Home 2018, including an aerial video of the exterior, design videos, and photos of the interior transformation of the home, click here.

To enter for a chance to win this spectacular home, click here.