Virtual Tour of the Sunset 2018 Idea House

As the exclusive hardscape sponsor of Sunset Magazine‘s 2018 Idea House in Los Gatos, California, Belgard is excited to offer our readers a virtual tour of the outdoor spaces on this lovely 2,900 square foot 3-bedroom home that offers a modern take on traditional craftsman style architecture.

Landscape designers Tamura Landscapes and Sycamore Design took the contemporary-meets-traditional theme to heart and took a number of novel approaches to the outdoor design elements. Instead of a traditional brick or cobble driveway, the designers chose to use a staggered running bond pattern of Melville™ Plank pavers. Another unique design choice was to eliminate the traditional border and incorporate asymmetrical garden insets with low-maintenance drought-tolerant plants.

Paver driveway.

Another design theme used throughout the home was the concept of seamless indoor/outdoor living. This was facilitated in a number of ways and is immediately evident in the transition from the driveway to the front walk, which was constructed using Sundeck Porcelain Pavers. These durable wide-plank outdoor pavers emulate the look of wood and mirror the current trends in indoor flooring. Asymmetrical garden insets and a staggered running bond pattern create a coordinated look with the driveway.

Entrance walkway.
Stepping-stones walkway.

Branching off from the entrance walkway around the front porch and along the side of the home, the designers transitioned to a stepping-stone walkway of Stones 2.0 Porcelain Pavers interspersed with gravel. The gravel extends towards the home into a rock garden to facilitate adequate drainage from downspouts. Angular landscape light fixtures and warm woods add to the juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary design elements.

Folding glass doors create open flow between the indoor and outside spaces on both the front and back of the home. The front parlor completely opens to the front porch, and the living room completely opens to the back porch, allowing the residents to take full advantage of the temperate California climate.

Back porch and outdoor dining area.

A contemporary fire pit patio flows from the porch like a natural extension of the home. Sundeck Porcelain Pavers on the patio and Quartziti Veneer on the gas fire pit help emulate the look of an indoor space.

Fire pit patio.
Staggered patio transition.

Similar in concept to the asymmetrical insets on the entrance walkway and driveway, the patio incorporates a staggered transition into the yard, which is constructed of artificial turf to minimize water usage.

In addition to the contemporary outdoor living design choices, a number of ultra-contemporary touches were used throughout the interior of the home, including glass staircase rails, a minimalist kitchen design and smart-home technology that is integrated throughout the home. The Sunset 2018 Idea House has been open for tours throughout September and will be featured in the October issue of Sunset Magazine.

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All photos copyright 2018 Sunset Publishing Corporation, photos by Thomas J. Story. SUNSET is a registered trademark of Sunset Publishing Corporation and is used with permission.

Fire Pit Patio Design Trends

Research shows that fire pits have been among the top five outdoor living design trends for the last several years. As this trend continues to grow hotter with each passing season, design ideas for fire pits have evolved and taken many different forms. Whether a gas-burning, wood-burning or hybrid version, fire pit designs continue to become more unique and individualized in nature.

In-Ground Fire Pits

The appeal of an in-ground fire pit is that it creates the beautiful, primal effect of flames erupting from the ground. In terms of fire safety, there is the added benefit of lower flames that are kept more contained. However, there’s a safety drawback, as well, as there are no protective walls around the fire.

Gas Fire Tables

Gas fire tables offer a contemporary look and appeal to homeowners who prefer the ease of gas — always ready to light, no wood or ash to worry about. An added benefit of a fire table is that it has a larger surface area and can actually be used as a table, creating more of an outdoor living room aesthetic than a traditional fire pit. Fire tables can also be built at varying heights, including bar height.

Multi-Level Fire Pit Patios

A multi-level fire pit patio offers a dimensional element to the design and separates the fire pit area into a distinct outdoor room, making the fire pit more of destination spot in the backyard.

Fire Pits with Built-in Seat Walls

Built-in seating often holds a spot in the top 10 outdoor living design elements as well, so it’s only natural that seat walls would become a popular aspect of fire pit patio design. After all, where does everyone want to sit and gather? By the fire, of course.

COMING SOON: Interested in winning a free wood-burning fire pit for your back yard? Come back to the blog on August 10, when we’ll celebrate National S’mores Day by kicking off our Fire Pit Giveaway Contest!

PROJECT PROFILE: Southern California Porcelain Paver Project of the Year

Presenting the Belgard SoCal 2018 Best Porcelain Paver Project, featuring Noon Porcelain Pavers in the Ember color. The installation creates the look of interior wood flooring, yet uses durable Belgard Porcelain Pavers that won’t warp or splinter like wood are resistant to cracking, stains, mold, frost and fading. Available in two different plank sizes, this porcelain paver project uses the larger 12″x48″ planks to create an ultra-contemporary look.

Southern California Porcelain Paver Project of the Year

Created by Pacific Outdoor Living for the Pasadena Showcase House of Design, this tranquil outdoor living space is nestled in a lush mature garden adjacent to the home’s swimming pool. Bamboo sunscreens and draped awnings add to the comfort and help create a cozy space reminiscent of a Japanese garden that feels like it’s both indoors and outdoors.

An intimate sitting area features rattan and bamboo furniture that ties the look together.

porcelain pavers, rattan and bamboo furniture

A gorgeous concrete dining table doubles as a water feature, with water flowing through a rock garden down the middle of the table, creating a unique dining experience that is both communal and serene.

outdoor porcelain pavers noon

Natural rock gardens and Asian-inspired landscape lighting are incorporated throughout the space, enhancing the ambience.

wood look porcelain pavers

Before & After Outdoor Renovations of the 2018 Southern Living Idea House

After viewing over 35 homes with an agent and combing neighborhoods for any “For Sale by Owner” sign, the design team settled on a fixer-upper located in the Northwest Hills area of Austin, Texas, for the 2018 Southern Living Idea House.

“I was so flattered to be asked to work on this project,” said landscape designer Julie Blakeslee of Big Red Sun. “They gave me a lot of freedom in the design, and it was lovely to be trusted in that way.”

As the official hardscapes sponsor of the Idea House, Belgard is thrilled to give you a tour of the outdoor living renovations of this Texas-sized makeover project.

Front Yard Makeover

Although the house was chosen for its “good bones,” it was definitely in need of modernization both inside and out. The front of the home had decent curb appeal, but a dated, formal look with boxy landscaping, undersized shutters, and a nondescript concrete walkway and porch.

Front Yard Makeover Design Ideas Before
Front yard before. (photo courtesy Virtuance)

The curb appeal was modernized with new working shutters, squared columns, updated light fixtures and fans, more informal and colorful landscaping, and a new paver walkway and porch.

Front Yard Makeover Design Ideas After
Front yard after. (photograph by Hector Manuel Sanchez)

“We had a limited budget and were stressed out about having to use the original walkway, but the Oldcastle products allowed us to work with that restriction,” Blakeslee said.

Front Porch Makeover Design Ideas Before
Front porch close-up.
(photograph by Hector Manuel Sanchez)

Techniseal® DriBond™ was used to overlay the existing concrete walkway and porch with pavers, saving the design team a tremendous amount of time and expense over demolishing and removing the existing concrete — a much-needed shortcut for the project. Holland Stone pavers were overlaid in a herringbone pattern, which paired well with the classic West-Indies architectural style of the home. Copper lantern light fixtures, wooden rocking chairs and a lush container garden added a welcoming southern touch.

“Everything blended together to give the front of the house an elegant, finished look,” Blakeslee said.

Back Porch Makeover

The existing porch was in poor shape, with a good deal of rotten wood and an old hot tub, plus an outdated look of heavy limestone columns, ornate wrought iron railings and “star of Texas” light fixtures.

Southern Living Idea Design Back Porch Before
Back porch before. (photo courtesy Virtuance)

The hot tub was removed, and the remodeled bright and airy southern-style porch included new weather-resistant ChoiceDek Foundations™ composite decking, skylights, ceiling fans, copper light fixtures and a welcoming sofa-sized porch swing.

Southern Living Idea Design Back Porch After
Back porch after. (photograph by Ben Porter)

Backyard Makeover

Plainly stated, the backyard was a hot mess and was basically unusable due to the slope and rocky quality of the terrain. “We wanted as big a terrace as possible to provide some outdoor flat space and create a funnel to a natural path at the foot of the property that leads down to an arroyo (dry creek),” Blakeslee said.

Backyard renovation design ideas before
Backyard before. (photo courtesy Time Inc.)

Blakeslee designed a multi-level terraced Dublin Cobble® paver patio to turn the sloped yard into a highly functional space with multiple entertainment zones. “The smaller format of the cobbled pavers gave us the vintage look we were going for and allowed us to create a sophisticated entertainment space,” she said.

Backyard upper terrace paver design ideas
New backyard upper terrace. (photograph by Hector Manuel Sanchez)

Extra-wide steps and landings throughout the design serve as additional seating space for large gatherings. Built-in Weston® Stone planters provide the medium for dimensional gardens throughout the space. Additional container gardens add an eclectic, informal touch. Curved transitions between the terrace levels add an elegant look to the design.

“It was a challenging installation, but we were very happy with the look and quality of the products and the end result,” Blakeslee said. “The curves make the space feel more gracious.”

The 2018 Southern Living Idea House will be open for tours through November 8, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For ticket information, click here.

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All photos used with permission from Time Inc., including its Southern Living division. SOUTHERN LIVING is a registered trademark of Time Inc. and is used with permission.

Take a Sneak Peek at the Outdoor Living Spaces of the 2018 Coastal Living Idea House

2018 Coastal Living Idea House Outdoor Living Spaces

In the shade of majestic moss-draped oak trees lies the quaint planned waterfront community of Habersham, South Carolina. The distinctively southern style of this award-winning sustainable community and its picturesque marsh views make the ideal backdrop for this year’s Coastal Living Idea House.

Belgard is proud to be the exclusive hardscapes sponsor of the project. Both the builder and the designer for this year’s Idea House weighed in on the value this partnership brought to the look and functionality of the home’s outdoor living spaces.

“The outdoor rooms of the Idea House were critical design elements,” says designer R. Eric Moser of Moser Design Group, Inc. “Belgard offered the ideal products and services extending from the raised courtyard and summer kitchen, to the pervious paver motor court, to the fire pit on the marsh.  The materials create rich textures and inviting spaces. I was delighted with the result.”

“The outdoor living area provided the main visual feature for the outside of the house,” adds builder J. Allen Patterson IV of Allen Patterson Residential, LLC. “Not only was it beautiful, it was also functional and durable.”

Belgard is excited to offer to offer this exclusive sneak peek at the outdoor living spaces of this charming coastal cottage.

Outdoor Living Spaces Stepping Stone WalkwayStepping Stone Walkway

A Lafitt® Grana Slab stepping stone walkway adds casual curb appeal and provides a welcoming entrance to the raised coastal cottage. A Lafitt® Grana Slab landing adds a finished look to the foot of the entrance stairway leading to the wide country-style porch.

Outdoor Living Spaces Permeable Paver DrivewayPermeable Paver Driveway

An Urbana® Stone eco-friendly permeable paver driveway protects the neighboring low country marsh from the harmful effects of stormwater runoff and provides an attractive route to the rear of the home, leading to the two-car garage and the home’s welcoming outdoor living spaces. The driveway design includes a grassy median and is flanked by a colorful flower bed.

Raised Terrace Patio

The terraced Lafitt® Grana Slab patio includes a built-in grill island and a comfortable sitting area bordered by raised planters. The planters and terrace edge are finished with bullnose Eastwood Coping. Lafitt® Grana Slab was also used for treads on the terrace steps and a breezeway to the garage, to create a cohesive look for the terrace design.

Outdoor Built-in Grill Island Design IdeasBuilt-in Grill Island

The centerpiece of the terrace patio is the built-in grill island. The chiseled stone look of Tandem® Modular Grid creates the framework for the island and was also used for a backsplash and to flank the back stairs, adding elegance to the home’s rear entrance.

Fire Pit Patio

A permeable fire pit patio provides a destination spot at the end of the driveway looking out into the peaceful marsh. The Weston Stone™ Fire Pit sits on a bed of crushed stone and is surrounded by the same Urbana® Stone permeable pavers used for the driveway, creating a seamless transition to the driveway and garage area.

The 2018 Coastal Living Idea House will be open for tours now through October 28, Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here.

NEXT WEEK: Belgard is also a sponsor of the 2018 Southern Living Idea House! Come back to the blog next week for a sneak peek at the Texas-sized makeover of the outdoor living spaces of the Southern Living Idea House located in Austin, Texas.

PROJECT PROFILE: Southern California Outdoor Living Project of the Year

Southern California Outdoor Living Project of the Year - ©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build
©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build

Presenting the Belgard SoCal 2018 Best Outdoor Living Project featuring Lafitt® Grana Slab in Montecito and Toscana color blends. The spectacular outdoor living space of this San Diego home features a classically shaped pool with a paving stone pool deck and a raised spa that doubles as a water feature.

Outdoor Kitchen Paver Patio - ©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build
©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build

Adjacent to the pool sits a well-equipped raised outdoor kitchen that features a paver patio, multiple cooking surfaces, ample storage and built-in  stainless appliances. The kitchen is accented by industrial string lighting and flanked by a rustic covered outdoor living room and dining area.

Natural Stone Outdoor Fireplace - ©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build
©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build

An eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional design elements, the covered area includes a stunning natural stone outdoor fireplace, infrared heaters, a built-in television cubby, and a large dining area — making it the ultimate year-round outdoor entertaining spot. Installer Western Outdoor Design & Build incorporated natural stone accents throughout the space to tie the design together.

Pool Patio Paver - ©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build
©2018 Western Outdoor Design & Build