Introducing:
NEW Verona™ Porcelain Pavers

Belgard is excited to announce that the new Verona™ collection of Porcelain Pavers is now available nationwide! The Verona line emulates a variety of natural stones to create distinctive contemporary outdoor living designs. Each available color was specifically fashioned to closely mimic the natural qualities of a different quarried stone, including intricate color striations and a polished stone texture.

  • Verona - Blue Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Platinum Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Taos Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Yukon Stone Porcelain Pavers

Verona Porcelain Pavers are available in 24″x24″ pieces to create stunning contemporary designs. These large-scale pavers rise above and beyond traditional paver products with a lighter weight, outstanding cleanability and durability, and an extremely high compressive strength. They offer an ultra-low water absorption rate, which creates a highly impenetrable surface. This allows the pavers to fend off surface mold, moss, dirt and other types of stains found in exterior environments (including oil and red wine). These maintenance-free pavers do not require any sealers and are unaffected by efflorescence or discoloration, making them perfect for use around water features and pools.

Another huge benefit with Belgard Porcelain Pavers is the product line’s installation versatility. Porcelain Pavers can be installed over a grass, gravel or concrete base, depending upon the application. For uneven surfaces and rooftop terraces, Porcelain Pavers can also be installed using a pedestal system, which also allows future access to utilities that run underneath. With the proper installation, Porcelain Pavers can even support vehicular loads, providing spectacular curb appeal for both residential and commercial use.

For more information, visit the Verona product page or click the image below to download the data sheet.

Verona Porcelain Pavers Natural Stone

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: ‘Simple Splash’ Backyard Makeover

Based in Minneapolis, Mom’s Design Build states that their company mission is to create outdoor living spaces that inspire the human spirit to live fully. That mission was wholeheartedly accomplished with a recent backyard transformation they titled, “Simple Splash.” This backyard makeover project took a rarely used yard with a rocky, sloped terrain and converted it to a welcoming contemporary family oasis.

  •  Nondescript patio
  • Contemporary sundeck and pool
  • Sloped backyard transformation
  • Multi-level poolscape

Project designer Heather Sweeney initially met with the family to discuss their goals for the space. The interior of their home has a modern design motif, and they felt the existing traditional paver patio was disconnected with the home’s interior and too small for their needs. The family includes two small children, a 5-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. They knew they wanted a pool that would eventually include a pool house. They wanted the design to have a contemporary feel that would flow well with the home’s interior design, but also wanted some traditional elements so that the space would be comfortable and approachable.

“A major challenge was how do we put a flat pool on this crazy hillside,” Sweeney said, “especially when the city had rules that dictated retaining walls could only be a maximum of three feet tall.”

Sweeney’s answer to that challenge was to create a tiered poolscape that includes a sundeck on the upper area, a poolside bar on the lower level, and a cozy sitting area where Mom could relax and overlook the entire space.

“Kids can sit either on the outside or in the pool,” Sweeney said of the dining bar. “Future plans include a pool house with a kitchen and a fireplace off of that area. This way, we could phase it out without making it look unplanned.”

  • Swim-Up Bar Concrete Pavers
  • Dining Terrace Pool Deck
  • Pool Sundeck
  • Built-in Lounge Paver Pool Area


The project features a mix of materials that includes Nau 2.0 porcelain pavers (Fado color), poured concrete, natural Bluestone and weathered corten steel. The retaining walls and bar are poured concrete trimmed with corten steel. Bluestone was used for the coping, step treads, stepping-stone garden and wall caps. The pool decking areas are all durable Nau 2.0 porcelain pavers, which offer the look of natural woodgrain with the stain-resistance and frost-resistance of porcelain — ensuring lasting beauty despite the harsh Minnesota climate.

“This was my first time using Belgard porcelain pavers,” Sweeney said. “I’ve been intrigued with the product. On this design, we were trying to find something that looks good that won’t burn your feet. The wood look lends to the clean-line modern look and at the same time subtly softens the look.”

For the sundeck area, the porcelain pavers were installed on a crushed stoned base like tradition pavers. Around the pool, Mom’s Design Build used a concrete sub-slab with a mat base between the concrete and paver. “I was a little nervous at first because it was a new process, but the sand locked it into place,” Sweeney said. “It looks great, and I’ve used it on additional projects since. For people who like that clean-line modern look, it works perfectly.”

Adding to both the look and functionality of the design, Sweeney included a natural diving platform that also functions as a water feature. The feature includes an built-in light controlled with the pool controller. To add to both ambiance and safety, lighting was also installed throughout the design, including the step treads. Channels were carved under each step tread to hide LED rope lights that automatically come on at night with a photocell sensor.

tiered garden and paver pool decking

Centered on the pool is a custom built-in lounge seat surrounded by a tiered garden. The mother stays at home most of the time and wanted a place to relax and watch the kids without having to be in the pool or get splashed. Custom built from decking and 6″ foam, the result was an artistic piece that acts as a natural focal point. The overall look of the third tier was softened with a combination of low-maintenance landscaping, ground cover along the corten wall, and maintenance-free artificial turf that connects with the sundeck.

The family has future plans to extend out from the dining area to build a pool house with an outdoor kitchen, along with an outdoor living room with an outdoor fireplace. By discussing the overall plan during the design phase, Mom’s Design Build was able to prep future phases on the front end, saving a lot of time and expense down the road. “All conduits have already been run the through concrete walls for future electrical, water and gas. Everything is setup so we don’t have to redo anything,” Sweeney said. “Footings are also in place for the kitchen and fireplace. We tiled on top of the footings and will remove those sections and build up from there when the time comes.”

Sweeney reports that the homeowners love their new space and spend time outside on almost a daily basis, something they rarely did before the backyard makeover. “They didn’t use their backyard at all before. They had a tiny patio. It was too shady, damp and hilly without a lot of functional space. The mom now spends a lot of time on her lounge reading, and her daughter likes to line up her Barbies along the edge of the pool to play. And they like to entertain large groups, and this space offers them lots of seating.”

For more backyard makeover inspiration, visit Mom’s Design Build on Facebook and Instagram. To find a qualified contractor in your neck of the woods, visit the Belgard contractor locator.

Emerging Trends in Large Scale Patio Pavers

There’s an old saying that “bigger is better.” Although that’s quite often not true at all, in the contemporary world of outdoor living design, large scale pavers certainly are one of the hottest trends.

This phenomenon has a lot to do with the continuing evolution of what’s known in design circles as “indoor/outdoor living.” In layman’s terms, this design concept refers to outdoor living designs that are a continuation of the interior environment. For the last several years, popularity has continued to increase for larger tiles and wider wooden planks for interior flooring. Continuing this trend outdoors was a natural progression in creating designs that flow more easily from one environment to the other. And as demand for larger pavers continued to grow, a multitude of style options began to emerge.

Popular Paver Face Textures

Natural stone textures have been popular for the last several years — and continue to be so, particularly in certain regions — however, there’s a rising trend towards smoother faced pavers that offer crisp, clean lines. With the rise in porcelain pavers, there has also been an increase in woodgrain-textured pavers. This is reflective of a rise in the popularity of interior wood look porcelain tile — one of the hottest trends in interior flooring. This style offers the look of natural wood without any of the stain or maintenance worries, which is particularly beneficial in an outdoor environment.

Trends in Plank-Style Pavers

You guessed it…with an increase in woodgrain pavers, the plank shape naturally followed suit. In addition to porcelain styles, plank-style concrete pavers are also trending. With woodgrain porcelain pavers, wider planks are more popular, as they more closely mimic wooden decking and also reflect interior flooring trends. However, both wide and narrow planks are trending in the concrete styles, both in textured and smooth-face plank pavers. Plank shapes are also available in the Belgard’s versatile Moduline Series™, which offers an array of colors that allow designers to have some fun with their paver designs.

Large Scale Paver Shapes

It’s definitely hip to be square, and the larger the better. This can be seen in both slab-style pavers and numerous porcelain paver lines. Belgard regularly sees orders for sizes up to 24″ x 24″, with custom orders of porcelain pavers in even larger squares. However, large rectangles are also quite popular, which is more reflective of the current trends in interior flooring.

Laying Patterns for Large Scale Pavers

Popular pattern styles vary, depending on paver shape. With square pavers, a straight (or stacked bond) lay is most often seen, which is actually a contrast to the stagger patterns more often seen in interior flooring. Diagonal patterns are sometimes seen, too, but are not quite as popular. Rectangular and plank pavers are most often laid in a staggered running bond, but are sometimes seen in a herringbone pattern in more adventurous designs. Modular ashlar patterns are also quite popular, which incorporate multiple pavers shapes and sizes. A newly emerging trend is to entangle the pavers with the surrounding landscape, either by staggering the edge of the paver field or by using squares in a checkerboard or stepping-stone pattern.

Designing a Sustainable Outdoor Space

By Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes

Product: Eco Dublin® permeable pavers.

The intent of outdoor and landscape design has always been to create beautiful, functional spaces for clients and homeowners. However, the industry is seeing a shift in the mindset of consumers, as more individuals learn about sustainable spaces and seek a more balanced lifestyle with nature. As the environment is spurring conversations about sustainable practices, homeowners are looking for ways to make a positive impact on both their immediate surroundings and the world as a whole.

In addition, individuals are focused on creating spaces that allow them to spend more time outdoors, which has a positive impact on their lives and overall wellness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, which equates to less than one hour per day outside, directly impacting stress, anxiety and mental health. By creating a functional and sustainable outdoor space, we can improve our own lives, the lives of our family, friends and our local communities.

These eco-friendly and beneficial spaces can be created by considering three key elements: materials, design and plants.

Materials

Materials and products used in a project play a significant role in the overall sustainability of an outdoor space. Though they might not immediately come to mind, concrete pavers offer a number of benefits and should be considered as landscape architects and designers plan projects. The first benefit to consider is lifespan; most hardscaped outdoor spaces boasting concrete pavers can last 60 to 80 years, if installed properly. Compared to other materials, such as a wooden deck that may last 20 years, hardscapes offer longevity and reduce waste. In addition, concrete pavers are often locally sourced, which reduces transportation costs and environmental impact.

Concrete pavers are also being designed for the specific purpose of offering a sustainable design to contractors and clients. Permeable pavers hit the market decades ago, but have been used mostly in commercial applications up until recently. Now, residential builders, architects and contractors are beginning to realize the benefits for their for residential applications as well, including patios, driveways and walkways.

Permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) are a system of concrete pavers with layers of varying-sized stone – or aggregate – underneath that filter and direct stormwater to underground aquifers. These pavers mimic the way natural land absorbs water; any rain that falls on the patio or walkway seeps back into the ground, reducing the burden on storm drains. Water filtration is also a benefit that many are not aware of – as rainwater hits a normal surface such as concrete or asphalt, it picks up pollution elements such as oil or gas, which in turn enters the ground water. With permeable pavers, bacteria grow within the aggregate below, which helps break down those materials and harmful toxins, filtering them out before the water goes back into the ground.

Lighting is also considered as part of a larger outdoor project, which has also made strides toward eco-friendly options. LED lighting offers a huge reduction in electricity usage. Contractors can light a typical outdoor living space for less than 100 watts of power, whereas less than 10 years ago, the same space would have required 500 watts or more.

Design

The design of a permeable paver system also lends itself to creating a more sustainable space. With enhanced techniques, a permeable paver system can be designed and installed to harvest and recycle rainwater. The collected water can then be used to water plants, wash cars or for other landscaping maintenance.

On a larger scale, biophilic design is another trend that is growing in both the commercial and residential space, as an innovative way of designing spaces where we live, work and learn. Though the concept applies more immediately to interior design – as employers seek to reconnect people with nature, which has proven health benefits – it naturally expands to a landscaped space. By including a living wall, pergola or covered patio that incorporates more greenery, the designed space creates a natural, blended transition into the outdoors. Overall, landscape design should incorporate a mix of natural and modern materials throughout a landscaped space.

Though a larger outdoor space may offer more options for creating a sustainable environment, eco-friendly design is not limited to an expansive space. For those who have smaller real estate or are perhaps restricted by homeowner’s associations, raised beds and vertical gardens are a great option. In addition, community gardens that might incorporate any of these elements are increasingly popular.

Plants

When considering a sustainable design, native plants are always a safe selection for helping the environment. As they are accustomed to the local environmental conditions, they require less water, and are easy to maintain. In addition, the local wildlife benefits from having their native plants available to support the local ecosystem. Each state’s landscape and nursery associations and university system has information readily available on ideal plants for each area of the state.

As homeowners become more educated on the benefits of creating an eco-friendly outdoor space, there are many training and educational resources available to contractors. The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) offers courses on permeable pavers and design. In addition, certain manufacturers of permeable pavers will staff engineers and experts in-house that are available for consultation while a project is being designed. Though it might be overwhelming at first to explore a new product and installation process, the educational tools needed are available, which will allow contractors to design outdoor spaces that benefit both the homeowner and the local environment.

This article was originally published on LandscapeBusiness.com. Reprinted with permission.

The Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

When planning a paver project, it’s important to know that not all pavers are equal. When comparing concrete pavers versus brick pavers, it’s particularly essential to understand the differences between the two, and the multiple benefits of choosing concrete pavers over traditional clay brick.

Paver Sizes & Shapes

Size and Shape Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers come in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes –- from small 4″x8″ and 6″x6″ all that way up to 24” slabs, as well as irregular and plank shapes.  Clay brick pavers typically only come in 4″x8″ sizes.

Paver Finishes & Styles

Finishing Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

While brick pavers all have a similar face, concrete pavers are available in an endless array of finishes — including smooth finishes, natural stone textures, cobbled looks, antique tumbled looks and more.  Most concrete paver finishes incorporate blends of colors, and many have unique faces created with specialized aggregates.

Paver Colors

Color Benefits Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Clay brick pavers are typically only available in a limited number of shades or color blends. However, concrete pavers are available in a wide array of hues and color blends — including warm color tones, cool color tones, deep shades, and variegated color blends. This allows for greater design flexibility and the ability to create more coordinated outdoor designs. Unlike most brick pavers, some concrete pavers also have built-in protectants to help prevent the color from fading over time.

Consistent Paver Sizes

Sizing Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers are made in a highly controlled environment, allowing for more uniformed and consistent shapes and sizes within a particular style. This allows for more efficient installation. Brick pavers can often be warped as part of the firing process, which can make installation more challenging.

Coordinating Design Elements

Coordinating Elements of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Concrete pavers are often designed to specifically coordinate with adjacent vertical products — such as retaining walls, outdoor kitchen and fireplace kits and fire pit kits — in terms of style, texture and color.  This makes it easier to plan coordinated outdoor living spaces. Although clay bricks can be used to construct vertical design elements, doing so is a longer, more complex masonry process.

Paver Design Flexibility

Design Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

With brick pavers, designs are limited to running bond, herringbone and basket-weave paver laying patterns. However, with concrete pavers, the design options are endless. You can mix and match various shapes, sizes, finishes and colors to create unique outdoor living designs.

Paver Durability

Durability Benefits of Concrete Pavers vs Brick Pavers

Clay is fairly unpredictable, and some clay bricks are prone to cracking in freeze/thaw environments. Belgard concrete pavers are manufactured to handle extreme weather conditions and come with a lifetime transferable warranty against cracking or breaking.

Introducing the Chiseled Stone Look of New Coventina Coping

Belgard’s newest hardscape product answers the call of two major design trends for outdoor living spaces: large-format materials and natural textures. Coventina™ Coping features chiseled edging, a lightly textured surface and unique color blends that emulate the look of large pieces of natural slate for a fraction of the cost. The perfect accent for a variety of trim applications, Coventina Coping can work with both contemporary and traditional designs and complements a variety of paver styles.

Stone Pool Coping

Coventina Stone Pool CopingCoventina Coping works well with traditional pavers, plank-style pavers, and contemporary porcelain pavers as an elegant chiseled stone trim for swimming pools, spas and water features. The large-format shape creates a clean stone look with a minimal number of seams.

Wall and Step Trim

Conventina Stone Wall Trim, Stone Step TrimCoventina Coping can be paired with a variety of Belgard landscape wall blocks to add a stylish finished look to multi-dimensional outdoor living design elements such as fire pits, landscaping walls, seat walls and built-in planters. Coventina Coping can also be used to create stair steps and terrace transitions. This versatility allows Coventina to be used in trim applications throughout an outdoor living design to pull the entire look together.

Natural Stone Looks

Natural Stone Coventina CopingChiseled edges, a gracefully textured stone top surface and variegated color blends combine to mimic the aesthetics found in nature.  A cost-effective alternative to natural stone, Coventina Coping emulates the look and feel of slate with the added benefits of uniform sizes, durability and slip-resistance.

.   .   .

Coventina™ Coping is currently available in various markets along the East Coast and the Gulf South. Plans to expand distribution to other regions will be announced at a later date. For more information regarding availability in your local market, visit the Belgard contractor and dealer locator page.