2020 Outdoor Design Colors of the Year

Tranquility. The sense evoked by this word is often lost in today’s fast-paced world. When life gets too hectic, it’s something we crave — a calm and peaceful moment to stop, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. This is exactly why outdoor living has become essential to the human spirit. And it’s why this year’s outdoor living colors of the year are centered on creating a tranquil space to unwind and reconnect with one another and with the natural world.

Belgard Pantone Color of the Year Terrarium Classic Blue

Both Belgard and the Pantone® Color Institute individually released their colors of the year for 2020. It’s no coincidence that these two color tones complement each other, or that they were both chosen for their connection with nature and a sense of tranquility.

Known throughout the world for their expertise in the realm of color, Pantone annually announces the Pantone Color of the Year, which influences purchasing and design decisions in multiple industries — fashion, home furnishings, product packaging, brand identity and more. Their selection comes after careful analysis of global factors that impact color trends including the arts, entertainment, popular travel destinations and evolving lifestyle.

Outdoor Living Fire Pit Kit

In the same respect, Belgard has long been the leader in the hardscapes industry with a definite influence on outdoor living design trends. Belgard also keeps a careful watch on architectural and lifestyle trends to anticipate the needs of the marketplace. With that in mind, the Terrarium color was selected and named for its biophilic ability to connect the built environment with the natural world. A rejuvenating hue found throughout nature, Terrarium complements the full range of colorations in the Belgard catalog and signifies growth, vitality and renewal.

Terrarium coordinates effortlessly with Pantone’s Classic Blue, which Pantone notes is suggestive of the sky at dusk and chosen for its ability to instill calm and bring a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit. Together, these two colors are perfect for ushering in a new decade, one that’s sure to be full of technological advances that continue to pull us away from that elusive state of tranquility.

Pantone Color of the Year Classic Blue Outdoor Living Design

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”

In that same line of thought, Terrarium reminds us that no matter how much we evolve, we are still part of the natural world. As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that allow us to create an outdoor living refuge where we can slow down for a moment and embrace our humanity. After all, outdoor living is not just about building or decorating a patio, it’s about living in your outdoor space.

2020 Vision:
Outdoor Living Design Trend Watch

The life of the average American homeowner seems to get more hectic with every passing year. The home, itself, has come to represent a personal sanctuary–a welcome respite from the stresses of daily life outside the home. It’s no longer just the place where we eat dinner, watch a little TV and then rest our heads until getting on the merry-go-round again the next morning. It’s now the place where we go to enjoy life to its fullest or to tune out the rest of the world for a little while.

This evolution began in the 90s with the trend of home theaters, where families could host movie nights or game-watching parties. Following the real estate crash of 2008, we saw a sharp rise in families investing in outdoor living spaces where they could enjoy a “staycation” versus spending money on travel. This trend continued to develop to the point where outdoor kitchens practically became standard for custom new home construction. As the outdoor living trend continued to evolve, we gradually saw more sophisticated thought going into outdoor design, creating spaces intended to be a true extension of the interior home instead of a mere afterthought.

Peering into the coming year, here are our top five predictions of how trends will continue to evolve.

Nature’s Influence + Material Combinations

As our lives become more entwined with technology, a natural human response has been an increased need for what is known in the design world as biophilic design elements. This can include natural elements (such as wood, plant life, rocks, water or fire) or design elements that mimic natural elements. Biophilic design allows us to maintain our connection with nature within the built environment. At the same time, however, there has been an increased demand for low-maintenance landscaping, whether due to water-conservation demands, environmental consciousness, or simply a lack of free time to devote to yardwork. Expect to see this translate into an increase in mixed-material designs and hardscape designs that are intertwined with landscaping or artificial turf. The rising trend of smooth, contemporary patios will also be “softened” with the integration of textural design elements like gravel or a textured paver border.

  • Mixed Materials Fire Pit Patio Paver Design Trends
  • Porcelain pavers and artificial turf design
  • Porcelain pavers and rock garden design
  • Wood grain porcelain pavers entangled with garden design

A Bridge Between Living and Working Spaces

The boon of technology has blurred the lines between work and home. People who work remotely, whether occasionally or full-time, want comfortable spaces to both work and relax. The need to be mobile and able to “take your work with you” has resulted in an increase in laptop usage, making the traditional “home office” a gradually disappearing element of the past. Although there will continue to be dedicated indoor work spaces, outdoor spaces often offer a change in scenery for the work-at-home crowd, creating a need for WiFi connectivity, comfortable seating, tabletop or bartop workspace, adequate lighting, and charging outlets in the outdoor space. We’ll also see more retaining walls that double as seating and a continued increase in fire features that make spaces livable year-round.

  • Outdoor Paver kitchen design and kitchen table
  • Comfy lounge chairs are a relaxing spot for responding to email.
  • Outdoor bartop seating can be a change of pace for the at-home worker.
  • Paver Fire Pit with Seat Wall

Unique Shapes and Patterns

As interior design trends continue to make their way outdoors, expect to see the shapes and patterns of outdoor design mimic interior trends to bring a retro feel and playfulness to outdoor spaces. Geometric shapes like hexagons and trapezoids make a statement in features like paver shapes, pillows and textiles, rugs and more. In addition, large format shapes and asymmetrical, almost jagged edges will continue as popular styles. Also expect to see a continued rise in faux rug paver patterns, which reinforce the “outdoor room” concept and also help to create a visual separation from one space to the next.

Warmer and Muted Tones Making a Comeback

While cool grays made a splash in residential design and edged out tans and beiges in recent years, 2020 is expected to bring a shift back to warmer hues and softer muted colors. These tones will make their way back into outdoor design as a way to create sanctuary spaces for rest and relaxation. Also expect to see a decline in strict monochromatic design with pops of color that liven up the space or add a touch of whimsy.

Curb Appeal and Front Porch Living

For several years, homeowners had retreated from the front yard, preferring the privacy of backyard living. However, front-of-the-home outdoor living spaces appeared as a design trend in 2019 and will continue to become a focal point in 2020. As lot sizes continue to get smaller, we’ll see more front porches and paver patios that are not only a greeting area, but also used as gathering and living space. Picturesque driveways and welcoming paver walkways are also rising in popularity as homeowners seek out “Instagrammable” curb appeal.

2019 HNA Project Award Winners

Each year in October, the Hardscape North America trade show honors the best paver and landscape wall designs in the nation with their HNA Project Awards. Battling against a record number of award entries in 18 categories of residential and commercial hardscape design, Belgard projects garnered an impressive 13 honors at this year’s award ceremony. Belgard was particularly honored to sweep all awards in both the residential and commercial porcelain paver categories.


Porcelain Paver (Winner): Lotz Residence – Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Pavers of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Water Element of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Driveway of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Patio of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Pool Deck of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Walkway of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Porcelain Paver Fire Element of Lotz Residence - Irvine, CA
  • Contractor: Richard Lusk Landscape & Design – Newport Coast, CA
  • Designer: Aaron Sevilla
Porcelain Paver (HM): Otero Hinckley Project – Hinkckly, OH
  • Porcelain Paver Tiles
  • Porcelain Pavers
  • Indoor Porcelain Paver Tiles
  • Kitchen Pavers
  • Porcelain Paver Tiles
  • Indoor Pool Pavers Porcelain Tiles
  • Contractor: Otero Signature Homes – Chagrin Falls, OH
  • Designer: Ted Otero
Combination of Hardscape Products – under 4,000 SF (Winner): Rustic Paradise – Omaha, NE
  • Backyard Pavers Rustic Paradise in Omaha, NE
  • Rustic Paver Patio Rustic Paradise in Omaha, NE
  • Retaining Wall Blocks Column Rustic Paradise in Omaha, NE
  • Belgard Pavers Fire Element
  • Backyard Hardscapes Pavers Rustic Paradise in Omaha, NE
  • Rustic Backyard Patio Paver Ideas
  • Contractor: Executive Outdoor Living, LLC – Omaha, NE
  • Designer: Jake Johnson
Concrete Paver – over 3,000 SF (Winner): Tuscan Retreat – Timnath, CO
  • Concrete Paver Project of Tuscan Retreat in Timnath, CO
  • Concrete Pavers of Tuscan Retreat in Timnath, CO
  • Outdoor Living Space Pavers of Tuscan Retreat in Timnath, CO
  • Belgard Pavers of Tuscan Retreat in Timnath, CO
  • Contractor: Lindgren Landscape – Fort Collins, CO
  • Designer: Georgia Perry
Concrete Paver – under 3,000 SF (HM): Poolside Retreat – Bennington, NE
  • Concrete Paver Ideas of Poolside Retreat in Bennington, NE
  • Concrete Pool Deck Pavers
  • Pool Deck Pavers
  • Retaining Wall Pavers of Poolside Retreat in Bennington, NE
  • Paver Patio Backyard Design Ideas of Poolside Retreat in Bennington, NE
  • Paver Patio Pool Deck Design Ideas of Poolside Retreat in Bennington, NE
  • Pool Coping Pavers
  • Contractor: Executive Outdoor Living, LLC – Omaha, NE
  • Designer: Susan Gregory – Executive Outdoor Living, LLC
Outdoor Living Features (HM): Backyard Entertainment Venue – Kingman, AZ
  • Pool Paver Design Ideas
  • Outdoor Living Features of a Backyard Entertainment Venue in Kingman, AZ
  • Outdoor Kitchen Design Ideas
  • Unique Paver Design Ideas
  • Outdoor Pool Patio Paver Design of a Backyard Entertainment Venue in Kingman, AZ
  • Outdoor Living Space Design of a Backyard Entertainment Venue in Kingman, AZ
  • Pool Deck Patio Paver Ideas
  • Contractor: Innovative Stoneworks & Landscaping – Kingman, AZ
  • Designer: Kevin Wilkerson
Combination of Hardscape Products – over 4,000 SF (HM): Desert Highlands – Scottsdale, AZ
  • Hardscape Products of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Hardscape Patio Pavers of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Belgard Patio Pavers of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Living Space Design of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Hardscape Paver Products of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Paver Patio Design of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Paver Pool Deck Design of Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Contractor: G&T Custom Homes – Scottsdale, AZ
  • Designers: Lynn Tenney and Kori Tichenor


Porcelain Pavers (Winner): 30 E. Huron – Chicago, IL
  • Porcelain Pavers 30 E. Huron - Chicago, IL
  • Porcelain Paver Design 30 E. Huron - Chicago, IL
  • Porcelain Paver Tiles
  • Porcelain Paver Tile Design
  • Porcelain Patio Pavers 30 E. Huron - Chicago, IL
  • Contractor: TOPIARIUS – Chicago, IL
  • Designer: Delph Gustitus
Porcelain Pavers (HM): Sky Harbor Towers – Phoenix, AZ
  • Porcelain Pavers at Sky Harbor Towers in Phoenix, AZ
  • Belgard Porcelain Pavers at Sky Harbor Towers in Phoenix, AZ
  • Belgard Hardscapes and Pavers at Sky Harbor Towers in Phoenix, AZ
  • Porcelain Paver Walkway at Sky Harbor Towers in Phoenix, AZ
  • Outdoor Porcelain Paver Tiles at Sky Harbor Towers in Phoenix, AZ
  • Contractor: Re-Create Companies – Phoenix, AZ
  • Designer: Sharon Miller
Combination of Hardscape Products (Winner): SkyDeck at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift – Gatlinburg, TN
  • Combination of Hardscape Products for SkyDeck at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, TN
  • Gatlinburg Sky Lift SkyDeck Hardscapes Pavers
  • Belgard Pavers Hardscape Products for SkyDeck at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, TN
  • Retaining Wall Pavers Hardscape Products for SkyDeck at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, TN
  • Paver Hardscape Products for SkyDeck at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, TN
  • Contractor: Hickory Hardscapes – Knoxville, TN
Concrete Pavers – under 15,000 SF (HM): Phoenix Corporate Center – Phoenix, AZ
  • Concrete Pavers - Phoenix Corporate Center - Phoenix, AZ
  • Belgard Concrete Pavers - Phoenix Corporate Center - Phoenix, AZ
  • Decorative Concrete Pavers - Phoenix Corporate Center - Phoenix, AZ
  • Phoenix Corporate Center Concrete Pavers
  • Design Concrete Pavers - Phoenix Corporate Center - Phoenix, AZ
  • Phoenix Corporate Center Paver Design
  • Contractor: European Pavers Southwest Inc – Phoenix, AZ
Segmental Retaining Walls (Winner): Encore Dealership – Mobile, AL
  • Segmental Retaining Walls for Encore Dealership - Mobile, AL
  • Segmental Retaining Walls for Encore Dealership - Mobile, AL
  • Commercial Retaining Wall Blocks
  • Encore Dealership Retaining Wall Installation
  • Building a Commercial Retaining Wall
  • Installation Commercial Retaining Wall
  • Encore Dealership Retaining Wall Building
  • Contractor: Synergy Earth Systems LLC – Daphne, AL
  • Designer: Synergy Earth Systems LLC
Segmental Retaining Walls (HM): FedEx Ground Distribution Hub – Middletown, CT
  • Segmental Retaining Walls at FedEx Ground Distribution Hub - Middletown, CT
  • Large Retaining Wall Pavers
  • Fedex Shipping Center Retaining Wall
  • Fedex Shipping Center Retaining Walls
  • Fedex Shipping Center Retaining Wall Blocks
  • Contractor: Earth Retention Systems – Danielson, CT
  • Designer: Advantage Engineers, LLC

Enviable Outdoor Living Room Designs

The difference between a simple patio and an “outdoor living room” is in the details. Think in terms of visually recreating an interior space outdoors. These five unique outdoor living rooms utilize a variety of interior design concepts while taking advantage of the outdoor venue. By incorporating some of these ideas, you can create an enviable outdoor living room that will have the Joneses wanting to keep up with you.

Cozy Retreat

Cozy Outdoor Living Room Designs
Mirroring a classic indoor living room design, the outdoor fireplace serves as the focal point of this outdoor living room and includes a nearby bar for serving guests. Privacy fencing provides a backdrop to make it feel more intimate. Tropical plants, textured pavers, water features and an additional fire feature work together to add an exotic quality.

Villa Veranda

Villa Veranda Outdoor Living Room Designs
This Mediterranean-style home uses a mixed-material design to visually define the living room area of the outdoor space. Vibrant color blocks in the paver design help reinforce this by creating the look of an oversized area rug. The fire pit design incorporates an extra-wide wall cap, allowing it to also function as the coffee table of the furniture grouping.

Entertainment Mecca

Fireplace Outdoor Living Room Designs
A terraced design divides this outdoor living room into separate entertainment zones. The upper level offers an intimate conversation area with furniture facing the fireplace. The lower level features a stunning waterfall fire feature that serves as the base for a weatherproof outdoor TV. The expansive patio area surrounding the fire feature allows for multiple furniture groupings, perfect for movie nights or backyard tailgating.

Light and Airy

Outdoor Back Deck Living Room Designs
Outdoor lighting design plays a major role in this relaxing outdoor living room. An oversized fire pit, uplights, edison-style string lights and lanterns all add to the ambiance. Attractive pendant lights hang over the seating area to add additional illumination and create the aesthetic of an interior room. A faux rug paver design reinforces the living room concept.

Terraced Sitting Rooms

Enviable Outdoor Terrace Living Room Designs
This multi-level terrace design creates the look and functionality of multiple sitting rooms. Utilizing retaining walls to convert a sloped backyard into usable entertainment space, the design incorporates a contemporary paver pattern to mimic the look of interior carpeting. Contrasting paver banding and landscape walls create visual separation between each distinct sitting room. Wall caps mirror the color of the banding to tie the look together.

For more outdoor living room design ideas, visit our Stylish Roomscapes Pinterest board.

Installing Our Own DIY Stone Fire Pit

By Christi Simoneaux, Oldcastle APG copywriter

DIY Stone Fire Pit Installation
Not bad for two novices! If we can put together this Ashland Fire Pit Kit, you can too.

When you work in marketing for Oldcastle APG, you very quickly fall in love with their Belgard product line and want your own Belgard backyard. In fact, I had a Belgard Authorized Contractor help us transform our backyard back in 2011. But after continuing to learn and write about hardscape installations for all these years, I wanted to see whether I could put that theoretical knowledge into action and install a DIY project on my own.

My family owns a fishing camp on a lake in Mississippi, and one of our favorite things to do when we have a group there is to gather around a fire in the evenings with a guitar. Over the years, we’ve tried various incarnations of store-bought fire pits, all of which fall apart after a season or two. The most recent incarnation was a hodge podge of poorly stacked concrete masonry blocks. I really wish I had taken a “before” photo of it because it was an absolute mess — haphazard, weeds growing all through it, several blocks cracked or crumbling. You could hardly even tell it was a fire pit. It just looked like a pile of hurricane debris.

My husband and I decided to stay at the camp for our anniversary weekend, and since it was the season’s first cold snap, I really wanted to be able to build a fire. So the first thing I suggested when we arrived was to go to Lowe’s and buy a Belgard Ashland Fire Pit Kit. Building a fire pit was not my husband’s idea of a relaxing anniversary weekend, so he trudged to the store with me begrudgingly. I assured him that it would be an awesome project for us to do together, despite the fact that neither of us are what you would call “handy.”

Between info from the online installation guide and guidance from the helpful folks at Lowe’s, we left the store with everything we needed to do the installation:

The fire pit kit came packed together on a pallet, and we didn’t have a pickup truck or a trailer (which would have worked better), but the Lowe’s folks helped us disassemble the kit so that we could load it into our SUV. We almost had to make two trips because of the weight, but were able to squeak by with one.

Prepping the Site

First we dug out the nasty old fire pit, keeping a watchful eye for any black widow spiders that might have taken up residence in the structure. They love that type of dark, moist environment — and we did dispose of more than one during the process. We then dug out a circular section of topsoil about 45″ wide and 2″ deep, making sure the spot was level when we finished.

Installing the Base

We filled the excavation with about 1.5″ of paver base, wet it and tamped it down with the hand tamper. I have to admit, I had fun handling the tamper. We then filled in the rest of the base and tamped it down again, making sure everything was level.

Laying the First Layer

As suggested in the installation guide, we placed the ring in the paver base to make an impression to use as a laying guide. The stones in the kit are specially shaped to fit together in a perfect circle, so it’s pretty dummy proof (even for us). But after we laid the first layer, we placed the ring over the layer to make sure that everything was lining up correctly, just in case. We then checked to make sure everything was level and used the mallet to make adjustments as needed.

Laying Additional Layers

For each of the next two layers, we beaded some masonry adhesive on the layer below and laid the stones so that the seams were staggered. We tapped each stone with the mallet to secure the adhesive and checked to make sure everything was level. Before moving on to the third level, we checked to make sure the ring still fit and that we weren’t getting off-course, using the mallet as needed to make adjustments.

Finishing Touches

DIY Fire Pit Installation
We probably should have broken the branches up to fit inside the pit better, but that would have been too much work.

We placed the metal ring atop the inside of the fire pit, which gave it a nice finished look. We then filled the bottom of the interior with a few inches of lava rock. We then took some of the sod we had removed earlier and placed it around the exterior. The only thing left to do was gather some fallen limbs from the nearby woods, open up a nice bottle of bourbon and celebrate the rest of our anniversary by enjoying the fruits of our labor.

5 Tips for Better Outdoor Kitchen Designs

TIP #1: Shed some light.

Lighting design is a crucial element of any outdoor kitchen. You want enough lighting to be able to see what you’re doing without spoiling the ambiance. To give your outdoor kitchen the feel of an indoor kitchen, think pendants. Low-voltage hardscape lighting attached to masonry walls will add delicate textural light. Lighting inside of cabinets and near cooking surfaces will help with functionality. String lights can add a festive touch and can be put on a circuit that’s controlled by a switch. Commercial grade string lights are often dimmable, so keep that in mind. Rule of thumb: plan all lighting before installing your kitchen so you can run all of the wiring, outlets and switches on the front end instead of having to retrofit. It’s always a good idea to include some overhead outlets in your plan, just in case you want to add string lights seasonally.

TIP #2: Think long-term.

The primary thing to remember about an outdoor kitchen is that everything is exposed to the elements. Be sure to choose durable building materials and outdoor-rated products that are designed to take the abuse. Yes, sometimes that means spending a little extra money on the front end, but the money will go further in the long run when everything lasts longer. It’s also wise to protect your investment by sealing porous surfaces and purchasing covers for exposed appliances.

TIP #3: Sometimes bigger is better, but read the fine print.

Think about how you plan to use the space and plan accordingly. Bar-sized sinks save counter space and will do the trick for washing your hands or rinsing a glass. But if you plan to actually rinse a platter or fill a pitcher, you’d do better to install a standard kitchen sink. When purchasing appliances like grills, refrigerators and ice-makers, read the specs carefully. The dimensions don’t always equate to cubic feet of usable space. Also, you’ll often go through ice quickly, so make sure the unit you buy can keep up with your production needs. If you plan to entertain often, roll-top beverage coolers hold significantly more cans and bottles than a standard counter-height refrigerator. That’s exactly why restaurants and bars use them.

TIP #4: You’ll want more space than you think.

At the the end of the day, you’ll likely wish you had more prep space, more outdoor seating space, more storage space or more cooking space. It’s often hard to conceptualize the finished space in the planning phase. However, if you’re working with a Belgard Authorized Contractor, you can get free virtual reality designs. When you put on the VR goggles, you can immerse yourself in the design and look up, down and all around to make sure you will have all the space you need.

TIP #5: Plan ahead.

First of all, you can never have enough outlets. Someone always wants to plug in something — a blender, a lamp, a charger, a laptop, a streaming device. Some of those outlets should include usb ports, too. Also think about what you might want to add to your kitchen down the line. Even if you don’t plan to use any gas now, it’s not a bad idea to plumb a natural gas line, even if you just cap it for now. You never know when you might want to add a fire feature, outdoor heater or a high intensity burner. Constantly changing out butane tanks is a pain, and retrofitting for natural gas later can be a costly endeavor.

For inspiration and kitchen design ideas, visit the Belgard Outdoor Kitchen Pinterest Board.