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.

TREND WATCH: Porcelain Paver Project Ideas

Since coming onto the scene just a few short years ago, outdoor porcelain pavers are quickly becoming the hottest new thing in outdoor living design. Homeowners are falling in love with the contemporary style, durability, stain-resistance and ability to mirror indoor design trends to create indoor-outdoor flow. Used on their own or as part of a mixed materials design, porcelain pavers can be used in a variety of ways. Check out the slideshows below for some inspiration on incorporating the new porcelain trend in your outdoor spaces.

Instagramable Patios and Outdoor Living Rooms

Porcelain pavers offer an excellent medium for creating sleek monochromatic looks. And with endless interpretations of stone and wood, you can also create a design with the aesthetic of natural stone or wooden planks without the fading, chipping or splintering.

  • Quartziti Pavers and Wall Veneer
  • NaMe Patio Porch Pavers
  • Noon Patio Pavers
  • Quartzi Pavers and Bordeaux™ Fireplace
  • Rail Patio Pavers
  • Stones Pavers and Bordeaux™ Fireplace
  • Stones Pavers Patio Porch
  • Verona™ Patio Pavers

Not Your Grandma’s Porch

Whether you call it creating curb envy or curb appeal, an elegant porch is a great way to set your home apart from the neighbors. For rear porches, porcelain has also proven to be a game-changer in creating seamless indoor/outdoor transitions. Porcelain pavers mirror indoor flooring design trends and often have coordinating indoor tiles and porcelain wall veneers to create a flawlessly coordinated look.

  • Noon Proch Pavers
  • Quartziti Porch Pavers
  • Stones Porch Pavers
  • Quartziti Porch Patio Pavers

Creative Transitions

Transitioning from one outdoor space to the next might involve some steps or walkways. Porcelain pavers are excellent for creating steps that accentuate a cohesive outdoor living design. You can also use them to create unique walkways, either alone or to add contrasting visual interest to a concrete paver design.

  • Noon Pavers (walkway) Mega-Arbel® pavers (patio)
  • Noon Paver Steps
  • Noon Pavers (walkway) Ardesie Pavers (stepping stones)
  • Quatziti Paver Steps PoolScape
  • Rail Pavers
  • Quartziti Step Pavers

The True Joy of Cooking Outside

Outdoor kitchens give a backyard that extra umph of livability. And this is where porcelain building materials really shine. Due to its composition and finish, porcelain pavers will not stain. Whether it is mud, oil, pizza sauce or even red wine, simply wipe it off and gone! Porcelain pavers also coordinate quite nicely with other building materials.  

  • Verona™ Outdoor Kitchen Pavers
  • Noon Outdoor Kitchen Pavers
  • Ardesie Kitchen Pavers
  • Quartziti Kitchen Pavers

Water and Fire Features that Sizzle

Fire and water make every outdoor design better. There’s just something about adding those natural elements that instantly make the space cozier. And with an extremely high compressive strength and an ultra-low water absorption rate, porcelain has a highly impenetrable surface. This includes mold and mildew, making it an excellent medium for creative water features. It can also take the heat. You couldn’t do an in-ground fire pit with a wooden deck. That would be crazy. But with wood-grain porcelain…you betcha.

  • Nau Pavers Fire Pit
  • Quartziti Pavers Water Feature
  • Noon Pavers Fire Pit Patio
  • Sundeck Pavers
  • Noon Built In Fire Pit Pavers
  • Quartziti Pavers

Spa-Worthy Poolscapes

Maintenance free and slip resistant, a porcelain poolscape is a modern take on the age-old favorite backyard addition. Porcelain pavers can be used to create sleek ultra-contemporary looks or be mixed with other materials for eye-catching inlaid designs. Porcelain is also an excellent medium for creating a stepping stone pool deck, which is a growing trend in pool deck and patio design.

  • Officine Pavers
  • Stones Pavers (accents) Lafitt® Rustic Slab (pool deck)
  • Quartziti Pavers
  • Rail Poolscape Pavers
  • Quartziti Pavers
  • Stones 2.0 Pavers
  • Quartziti Pavers

Check out how these ideas might look in your backyard with our Hardscape Project Visualizer! To find a contractor near you, visit our Contractor Locator tool.

Outdoor Transformations: Project Ideas for Overlaying Concrete with Pavers

Nothing makes a home look more dated than a tired-looking concrete slab. Stains, cracks, mold and discolorations detract from curb appeal and ambiance. But the time and expense of removing a concrete slab keeps most homeowners from replacing it. So, they try pressure-washing — which can help, but can really only do so much to improve the look. Or, they try expensive resurfacing only to find out too late that it will only last a couple of years before chipping or peeling. The better, more permanent solution: overlay concrete with thin pavers. The transformation is incredible, and Belgard pavers are guaranteed to last the life of your home.

Boost Curb Appeal

Pavers add an upscale look to a home’s exterior, significantly boosting the curb appeal of walkways and driveways. As long as the concrete slab is still sound, it can be overlaid with pavers. DriBond™ Advanced Dry Mudset is an excellent product to facilitate this type of overlay, as it installs like sand, filling in all of the cracks and seams. Once the pavers are laid in place, water is sprayed over the pavers to activate the DriBond, which then hardens and sets like concrete to bond the pavers to the original slab.

Porch and Patio Makeovers

Cross section of this project showing the overlay.

For raised homes, basement patios or concrete porches, a paver overlay will dramatically improve the look and functionality of your space. Keep in mind that the overlay will increase the elevation of the slab, so it is best to choose a paver with the appropriate thickness to avoid having to grind down the transitions. For some situations, you may need to install a french drain along the transition to avoid drainage issues.

Bring New Life to a Walkway or Entrance

Goodbye, cracks and stains! Hello, beautiful pavers. Another benefit to a paver overlay is that it allows for an expansion of the paved area without making the addition look like an afterthought.

Rehab a Pool Deck

A dated pool can become somewhat of an eyesore and can even detract from the property value. Give a concrete pool deck an eye-catching facelift with a paver overlay. The results will have you and all of your friends wanted to spend every day by your pool.

Overlay Paver Styles

Unless you specifically want to increase the elevation of your slab with an 80mm paver, the best choice for an overlay is a thinner paver. Belgard offers multiple styles in thicknesses that vary from 20mm to 60mm that work very well for overlay projects.


Porcelain Pavers are an excellent option for concrete overlay projects. They have the lowest profile (20mm), offer a upscale contemporary look and are highly resistant to stains, frost, mold and fading. And with the concrete base, they can even be used for a driveway.


Belgard offers a line of low-profile pavers specifically designed for overlay projects. These 30mm pavers offer a cost-effective way to bring new life to tired concrete living areas.


Slab pavers also make an excellent overlay option. They provide a larger format for more contemporary looks and a typical thickness of 50mm, which provides excellent stability and strength to overlay concrete and then expand the outdoor living space out further to build a fire pit or outdoor kitchen.

Watch a dated and crumbling pool deck get transformed into a backyard oasis with slab pavers.


Those looking for a contemporary plank design can also overlay a concrete surface with one of Belgard’s 60mm plank pavers.

To find a contractor who can help you with your overlay project, visit our contractor locator.