Kitchen of the Year Wrap Up

Relaxing outdoors

Rockefeller Center in New York City was bustling with hundreds of daily visitors on site to view the House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year, featuring both indoor and Belgard® outdoor spaces designed by Chef Tyler Florence. With Belgard’s collection of patio pavers, pillars, walls, fireplace, and fully functioning kitchen with grill and brick oven, the outdoor area was a spectacle to behold. The area was set up so that you couldn’t help but meander out one of the many double doors onto the outdoor living room, dining room or kitchen. Anytime during the day visitors found a peaceful retreat in the center of Manhattan on the couches or at the dining room table. This space did exactly what a great outdoors space is meant to do: beckon you outside.

Chef Tyler Florence outdoors

Designed by Chef Tyler Florence, the goal for this area was to create a space where people can share good company. He felt the need for the outdoor component based on his life in CA where being outdoors is possible all year long. “You want to be part of your events, so having a full kitchen outdoors brings the whole experience together,” Florence comments. This outdoor kitchen has all of his requirements: brick oven, charcoal grill, storage, fridge, and numerous chopping blocks to create work surfaces.

“The Kitchen of The Year was an incredible experience. To see all of the sponsor companies put together an exhibit of that magnitude in five days was amazing. However, I can honestly say the Belgard portion of the project was by far the best!” states Todd Sriro, Field Marketing Manager for Belgard Hardscapes.

The fireplace

Each day saw new cooking demonstrations (recipes at House Beautiful) and wine tastings. When a chef wasn’t creating a masterpiece inside, one could be found in the outdoor kitchen displaying their talents in the Chicago brick oven or on the grill. The outdoor kitchen’s U-shape allowed visitors great views while the chefs had everything at their finger tips. “Not only was the Belgard outdoor kitchen used throughout the week for cooking demonstrations and special events but it supplemented the indoor kitchen’s amenities. The outdoor sink and ice maker came in handy,” adds Mary Beth Sharp, Marketing Manager for Belgard Hardscapes who spent the week in NYC.

“It was a great experience and the outdoor living area really added a new dynamic to the event. Visitors loved the idea of expanding the home and entertaining areas outdoors,” comments Sharp. The kitchens will remain open through July. During August, the area will convert to “Bar 30” for snacks and cocktails. At the end of the summer many kitchen parts and pavers will be donated to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

An outdoor kitchen…
worthy of the…
best chefs!

At Belgard, we want to create the best space for you. Using our website, an outdoor room or kitchen for your home is a click away. You will find listings of design centersdealers and contractors in your area to help get you started. We offer tools, such as our lifestyles catalog and the online visualizer where you can discover ways to create new spaces in your back yard, for your pool or for a driveway. Our catalogonline catalog and website have 100’s of ideas and photos get you started. Belgard | Be Prepared for Company!

Kitchen of the Year Opens Monday 7/18

View from W. 50th St. into the Kitchen of the Year set-up in Rockefeller Center

Belgard® is excited about their progress on the House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year, opening Monday, July 18th in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza. The area went from a plain plaza to an indoor/outdoor chef-inspired entertaining space. Chef Tyler Florence has made the design in such a way that you can’t help but want to linger, smell the cooking and enjoy friends. They say the most popular place when entertaining is in the kitchen – and this set-up has both indoor and outdoor ones!

Belgard Elements

The outdoor space is designed around Belgard’s Bristol Elements Collection, including a U-shaped kitchen with a Chicago brick oven and a living area with a fireplace. To keep the design cohesive, the Bristol line’s coordinating kitchen pieces are used as design elements for the counters and cooking spaces. Medium Rare grills and accessories are integrated with this kitchen and come standard with the Elements line.

Outdoor living space

For the covered outdoor living room, the Element’s Bristol line outlines the living space using planters, columns and walls. In this space, seating will be abundant and the smells of Chef Florence’s cooking waft through the air. Visitors can relax and sip a glass of wine alfresco. Adding an outdoor space to your home is like adding on a new room.

Arrival of the pavers

The senses will have so much to take in, but not to be overlooked is the transformation of the grey road and sidewalk from drab to fab! The look now includes lively colors of the natural collection’s popular Mega Lafitt with its look of cut flagstone yet with the strength and long-term durability of a paver. Natural looking Mega-Arbel is used on the patio entrance and as accents, while Urbana pavers, also part of the natural collection, are used as trim throughout the project.

Below are some pictures of the building process. Using Belgard products makes installation a breeze! The Element’s items arrive in pre-made components, so they are set into place. All Belgard pavers are designed with the simplicity of installation in mind.

Come back next week to see photos of the final product! Click here for the schedule of events. Read previous posts.

Outdoor area being prepped
Starting the paver installation
Elements components
The U shaped kitchen keeps work and cooking areas within easy reach
Awaiting appliances
Appliances being installed
Brick Oven being “cured” = excess moisture removed
Come out & relax by the fire in the outdoor living space
Outdoor area before
Now a fabulous entertaining space

Creating a New Walkway

Two paths converge

Can installing pavers versus concrete make a different in the look of your yard? This project gives a resounding “YES!”

At Sunset headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, the aging and cracked concrete was a deterrent to the beauty of the gardens and rolling grassy areas. It is common for concrete to expand and contract in areas with varying climates. This causes unsightly and dangerous cracks, which with the addition of rainwater, or even water from sprinklers, will increase over time.

To create a more inviting and visually appealing landscape, “Belgard’s Cambridge Cobble pavers were selected to pave the garden walkways. More than 10,000 square feet of asphalt walkways were replaced in the Autumn Blend color. This color provides a rich accent to the lush green garden,” states Sarah Smith of Sunset Magazine.

Excavation of old concrete

“Sunset Magazine is all about showcasing the best of the region’s unique lifestyle, so much of which is related to the outdoors. Their gardens were intended to be an extension of that mission, but the asphalt walkways were detracting from the beauty,” says Ken O’Neill, Vice President of Belgard Hardscapes. “Cambridge Cobble offers a tailored look that embodies their corporate image.”

Sunset’s Event

The high-traffic capacity of Cambridge Cobble was put to the test earlier this month when the magazine hosted its annual Celebration Weekend. Over 18,000 readers and travellers converged on the grounds for product demonstrations, food exhibits, gardening tips, artisan exhibits, and what the magazine called its “glam camping” exhibit showcasing ways of roughing it with style.

Creating a New Walkway
For the homeowner, replacing a walkway, no matter the size, requires knowledge and skill. Although many will take it on as a DIY project, others leave it to the pros. Belgard has contractors throughout the US trained in installation (click here to find one near you). The Belgard website also offers a “Visualizer” tool which allows you to upload a photo of your home and add products and colors to “visualize” various outcomes.

If you are looking to replace your dirt, concrete or asphalt walkway or patio, Belgard’s pavers are today’s answer.

Arbel’s Natural Look
  • Paving stones are several times stronger than concrete.
  • Paths and patios can be installed in any weather.
  • Concrete is hard and “brittle” and thus prone to cracking and cannot be repaired without leaving “scar” marks.
  • Permeable pavers allow rainwater to return to the soil, eliminating runoff.
  • Paving Stones are set in a friction base sand mixture, thus they do not move around at all, but remain flexible. This flexibility allows cold and hot weather  expansion and contraction.
  • Paving stones are even earthquake resistant.
  • Paving stones can be easily replaced should the need ever arise.
  • Most importantly paving stones add beauty and aesthetics to your environment and value to your home.
Circular pattern

Picking your product can be fun and here are a few tips to keep in mind. Color. Ask your dealer what colors are available in your area. You will want to consider your home’s color and landscaping elements. Shape. Depending on the product, Belgard offers squares, rectangular, and irregular/natural stone shapes. Textures and Patterns. Belgard offers numerous options with regards to texture and patterns. You can choose from smooth squares to the look of rough natural stone. Depending on the pattern you choose, the layout created can be a simple running bond, to circular, to multi-patterned.

Belgard’s Cambridge Cobble Pavers

The choice of Cambridge Cobble for Sunset’s project combines rich, earth tone colors with textured surfaces and creates an authentic “old world” appearance. Consider the patterns available with your product. Sunset’s existing paths weaved around the landscape, so they needed a pattern with a serpentine flow.

Once you have your plan and product, you can start getting your hands dirty.* This project started with extensive demolition. After removal of existing hardscape, you will need to prepare the area by staking out the path or patio. Then get excavating! The depth depends on the level of traffic and the size of the pavers. Compaction of the exposed surface is important – by machine or by hand.

Running bond
Adding pieces
Varied pattern

The addition of a base to create a level surface is a must. Use crushed stone or aggregate and compact. Start with a few inches and compact. You can move on to the next layer when you can walk on the surface without leaving footprints. Repeat until you are within the depth of your desired grade. Then add edging restraints, and start laying out the pavers. Cutting pavers will allow for a better fit and a more professional look. Then, enjoy!

Visit the Belgard website for more ideas. We also offer matching products to create an entire outdoor living space. Belgard…be prepared for company.

* the instructions listed here are generalized. Please consult a contractor or the Belgard site for more installation procedures.

Belgard at a Home Show Near You

Have you noticed signs about upcoming Home and Garden shows? Then you know Spring is here! Although the Northeast may have had a blistery April Fool’s Day, it is time to till the garden. Belgard has been the feature at many of the country’s largest shows. Below is a sample of the top of the line displays created for homeowners to be inspired. Double click on any photo to enlarge. Don’t forget to visit our website for inspiration.

Virginia Mid-Atlantic Show

Outdoor Kitchen Area
Garden Seat Wall
Lighting Adds Polish

Belgard’s Elements outdoor kitchen area was the main showcase. With a variety of Belgard pavers, including Old World and Arbel® Stone, plus Celtik® Wall and BelAir Wall® creating seating, and integrated lighting, you felt as though you were outdoors. You will see how Belgard pavers, plus an Elements Bristol Collection kitchen and fire place, work together. The complete look is fabulous.

Southern Spring Home & Garden Show, Charlotte, NC

Seat Walls
Contrasting Patterns
Lighting Adds Drama

The Southern Spring Home and Garden Show featured a stroll through “Belgard Gardens.” Within the Park Expo Center, a true romantic presence was felt. A circular path of Belgard’s Arbel Stone pavers and a seat wall from the double-sided Weston Collection invited you to linger. Lighting installed directly into the walls gave the beautiful landscaping a fairytale feel as well as its functional purpose, to light the path.

Mixing the paver products of Arbel and Lafitt pavers, allows two paths to come together in a carpet-like manner. One leads off through a castle gate towards a Belgard free standing Belair Wall®. Many design tips can be collected from this amazing display.

Southern Ideal Home Show, Greensboro, NC

Fire Pit, Column, Wall
Elements Kitchen
Mobile Show Room

Belgard’s Mobile Show Room parked outside the Southern Ideal Home Show. Visitors were welcomed by the Elements Bristol Collection and its unlimited possibilities of matching seat walls, cabinets, kitchens, and more.

Inside the show, Belgard Arbel® Stone pavers created a handsome flooring and Weston Wall™ created convenient seating, column and fire pit. Adding one (or more) of these features completes a backyard so the outdoor enjoyment continues throughout the year.

Rochester Home Show

Looking Great from the Back
Chicago Brick Oven

The Rochester Home Show set up a Chicago Brick Oven and Element Bristol Collection full kitchen display with seat walls.  The back of the kitchen and brick oven are as handsome as the front. You might consider planting a vegetable or herb garden. Pull off some fresh basil leaves and add to your homemade pizza!

This kitchen features a MediumRare grill, stainless steel cabinets, a cocktail station, bar, sink, and electricity – all part of Belgard’s Elements. The Bristol collection uses a granite counter top, edging of Dublin cobble, and Urbana banding. With Belgard, the attention to detail is impeccable. Using Elements, your outdoor kitchen planning is a snap, and it installs within a day or two.

Elements Brighton Fireplace, Water Features and Seat Wall
An Amazing Backyard Dream

The area also included an Elements Brighton fireplace with water features and matching seat walls. It coordinated with Arbel® Stone pavers in a circular fashion which delineates the outdoor living space. The dining area features Lafitt pavers and a Weston wall to add seating and separation.

Foot Bench Built-In

Milwaukee Realtor Show

This show took Belgard’s BelAir Wall™ and created a fabulous outdoor bedroom with built-in lighting! Notice the head and foot boards created from the Arbel® Stone Collection. The outdoor bath tub was a must-see. The look was completed with Belgard’s environmental line of permeable pavers from the Subterra® collection. Permeable pavers allow rainwater to be absorbed by the ground where nature filters the water, instead of becoming runoff.

Outdoor Bedroom Ideas

Read our past post featuring Belgard’s Elements Collection.

Follow A Backyard Transformation – Completion

After four days of work, the backyard and entrance of the Simoneaux’s home in Covington, La, is completed. “It has been a total transformation! We have always enjoyed our backyard, but now it is a true extension of our home,” states Christi Simoneaux. “It’s almost too good to be true.”

New bar area off the main house

“Every time I walk outside, I still can’t believe this is my backyard,” agrees sixteen-year-old Carter Simoneaux, who can’t wait to invite a few friends over to celebrate his birthday later this month. Not to be outdone, younger brother Dustin is already planning a gathering for his 7th grade class at the end of this school year. “It won’t come soon enough for me,” states Dustin.

Design Studio Rendering

The transformation process began a month ago with ideas and plans. When the installer, Rod Trahan of La Pavers was chosen, the difficult choices had been made. Using the Belgard’s Design Studio, the Simoneauxs had a clear picture of the final project. “Using Belgard’s Design Studio saves potential problems because the homeowner sees the outcome, thus avoiding misconceptions, which equals delays,” states Trahan who is using it for future products.

Front entrance before
Completed project


The whole installation took a total of four days. “Can you believe we had concrete removed, pavers installed and an outdoor kitchen completed in such a short time?” Simoneaux questions. Trahan replies, “That is the beauty of Belgard products, especially the Elements line. Everyone wants an outdoor kitchen these days. Yet a typical project with this effect can take weeks. Belgard’s Elements install in one day and the homeowner knows exactly what they will get.”

The project that was initially planned to be phased out over a number of years, due to cost, was able to be completed all at once thanks to the Belgard Preferred Payment program. “Being able to spread the cost over 12 months with same-as-cash financing was one of the factors to help us realize our dreams now,” says Simoneaux. “Our house, from the entrance to the backyard, is totally transformed. Thank you Belgard!”

Products used: Pavers are Mega Lafitt® & Old World; Grill and bar are from the Bristol Collection of Belgard Elements. Download a pdf catalog from the Elements Collections website.

Before and After

Follow a Backyard Transformation – Construction

The project is underway! The Simoneaux family of Covington, La have been eagerly awaiting this moment for years – a new front entry, pool patio additions, and a new Belgard Elements bar and grill station from the Bristol Collection. After initial planning, meetings with designer Mike Miles with the Belgard Elements Collection and Harmony Outdoor Living and contractor Rod Trahan of La Pavers, the project was ready to start. “It’s been quite a production! There are vehicles of all shapes and sizes for two blocks,” Christi Simoneaux reports. The plumber and electrician were on site to run lines for the new items.

Cutting existing concrete

First, the area was excavated, which included removing seven inches of top-soil for the pavers, as well as several sections of existing concrete. One area of concrete was over 10 inches thick, requiring use of a jack-hammer and a hydraulic concrete breaker. “It was somewhat surreal to see this huge piece of equipment right outside my living room window. But before I knew it, the concrete was gone and hauled away,” said Simoneaux.

The next step was to install the patio areas, which is a multi-layer process. First, black felt is rolled out to cover the bottom of the excavated dirt areas. Next, a bed of limestone is shoveled in and compacted, followed by a layer of sand that is leveled and compacted.

Black Felt
Black Felt
Leveling sand
Compacting Sand

Finally, the pavers were laid and cut to fit the design. This project included Belgard’s Mega Lafitt® pavers edged by Belgard Old World pavers. Once the pavers were in place, polymeric sand was brushed into the crevices and activated with water to form grout lines.

Cutting to fit
Polymeric Sand

With the patios complete, next came the Elements Bristol Collection bar and grill station.

Concrete Slab for the bar/grill

The bar arrives pre-manufactured in three pieces. Once placed into position, they are ready for use, as opposed to a multi-day on-site construction. “We chose the Elements for their ease of installation. Not only does it save a lot of time and headache, it also saves money on installation costs,” Christi said.

Even though the access to the backyard was very tight, and the space was limited due to the pool and porch overhang, La Pavers’ installers didn’t miss a step. “Installing the bar was a well-choreographed dance… up an inch, lower an inch, to the right a half inch, raise a quarter inch, now back up again.  There were three pieces, and it took about two hours to set them in place. Compared to the two weeks it would have taken to build it in place, I have no complaints,” Christi said.

Installation of the 3-piece bar/grill

After three days of work, the installation is mostly complete. Day four brings the appliances and plantings. “I feel like I live in a resort now. All my friends keep asking what time the party starts,” Christi jokes. “I think we’re going to plan a get-together for next weekend, but for now our family is enjoying our own private getaway, right in the back yard.”

Contact an Authorized Belgard Dealer for more information. Download a pdf catalog of the Elements Collections.

Next up – Completed project.