Introducing the Weston Stone® Line
of Outdoor Living Kits

The antiqued tumbled-stone appearance of Weston Stone® instantly transforms a simple patio or back yard into a welcoming outdoor living space that compliments any architectural style. With a look that coordinates well with both classic and contemporary design themes, Weston Stone is a versatile wall product that can be used to construct retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, built-in seating and a variety of outdoor living structures and accents.

Now, it’s easier than ever to create beautifully coordinated outdoor living designs with Belgard’s new Weston Stone® line of outdoor living kits (availability varies by market). Each kit features an average build time of four hours or less and includes all the needed materials to construct each element, including the required number and sizes of Weston Stone wall blocks, Structure Bond™ masonry adhesive and an applicator gun. Because of the reduced number of masonry cuts required and the step-by-step contractor instructions, these convenient kits add beauty and function to outdoor living spaces for less time and with less waste, which translates to lower overall costs.

Weston Stone® Grill Island Kit

Weston Stone Outdoor Living Grill Island Kit

Whether part of an outdoor kitchen or as a stand-alone feature, the Weston Stone Grill Island Kit offers both style and performance with a Napoleon® Prestige 500 grill and matching stainless doors. The efficient design of the Grill Island Kit requires a total of only eight masonry cuts, ensuring quick and efficient installation.

Weston Stone® Linear Fireplace

Weston Stone Linear Outdoor Living Fireplace Kit

Transform a patio into a charming outdoor living room with the stylish Weston Stone Linear Fireplace Kit. Featuring open-air European styling, the Linear Fireplace Kit includes a burner kit. With only three cuts required during installation, the marshmallows will be roasting in no time!

Weston Stone® Linear Fire Pit

Weston Stone Linear Outdoor Living Kits Fire Pit

The ideal centerpiece for a sitting area, the rectangular Weston Stone Linear Fire Pit Kit offers ample surface area for resting drinks or propping up feet to relax. The Linear Fire Pit kit includes a burner kit and requires only 14 cuts during installation.

Classic Weston Stone® Fire Pit Kits

Weston Stone Outdoor Living Fire Pit Kits

An affordable way to add beauty and functionality to any back yard outdoor living design, the classic wood-burning Weston Stone Fire Pit Kit is available in either a square or circular shape, depending upon the market. Kits include a metal insert that adds durability and provides a finished look. Upgrade options include a variety of coping and wall caps to add an elegant touch.

Sample Color Options

Weston Stone Outdoor Living Kits Color Options

Weston Stone outdoor living kits are available in a variety of color options to coordinate beautifully with other Belgard pavers and retaining walls. Due to the use of local aggregates in the manufacturing process, however, exact color options vary by market. For more information, click here to find a Belgard Authorized Contractor or Dealer near you.

Product Availability

Weston Stone Classic Fire Pit Kits are available nationwide, but shape varies by region, with some areas offering the round fire pit kit and others offering the square kit. The Weston Stone Grill Island, Linear Fireplace and Linear Fire Pit kits are currently available in Florida, Nevada and California with availability planned for additional markets in the future.

Regional Trends in Pavers and
Landscape Walls

Most people would agree that despite the old saying, things are not necessarily the same all over. Whether we’re talking about clothes, food or interior design, what’s popular in New York isn’t always as popular in the Colorado or Florida. The same is true for hardscapes. As the leading manufacturer of pavers and landscape wall products, Belgard knows this better than any other hardscapes brand. Looking at our regional sales over the last three years, we can offer insights on which styles and colors are rising in popularity in different areas of the country and which styles are currently less en vogue.

Trending Paver Styles

When looking at which styles of pavers are trending, we looked at regional preferences in face textures, pavers shapes and color families. Nationally, the trends lean towards smooth-faced pavers in large-format square or rectangular shapes in “greige” color families (mixture of grays and tans). However, regional preferences vary regarding these various style attributes.

Paver Face Trends

We examined preferences regarding paver face texture and divided the concrete pavers into three different categories: smooth, natural stone and antiqued (or tumbled). Belgard porcelain pavers are available in a various interpretations of stone and wood grains, but they have a very different look than concrete and so were placed in their own “face” category. Introduced in 2015, interest in Belgard porcelain pavers continues to rise nationally, but they are most popular in the Northeast and Central regions. Nationally, smooth-faced pavers are the hottest trend but are most popular in the Southeast and West. Natural stone textures and antiqued pavers are still popular in those regions, too, but are not the prevailing trend.

Paver Shape Trends

Nationally, the hottest trending paver shapes are larger format pavers in modular patterns. Regionally, we see some variations on those trends. Rectangular and plank style pavers are gaining ground — a trend that is likely to continue to grow — but modular shapes are still the prevailing trend in the Northeast and Southeast. Traditional brick and cobble pavers are still popular in most of the country, and there will likely always be those who prefer that classic, timeless look; however, this style is losing a bit of favor in the Central region. Irregular shapes were extremely popular just a few years ago, but that trend has declined a bit over the last couple of years.

Paver Color Trends

Gray color tones are definitely sweeping the nation as the most popular trend in hardscapes, especially when combined with tans to produce blended tones that pair well with both cool and warm color families. Black and dark charcoal are trending as hot accent colors, particularly in Northeast and Southeast. Reds are definitely losing favor across the board, but browns and tans are still popular in certain areas, particularly the Southeast and West. Gold tones are comparatively new to paver design and are rising in popularity in most regions. Another interesting trend is a spillover from the monochromatic white and light cream schemes of the interior design world. A popular outdoor living trend is to create designs that flow from the interior to the exterior of the home, a movement that has created an increase in the popularity of white and light cream pavers. This look is particularly easy to achieve with porcelain pavers, which are stain resistance (important for maintaining that crisp white look) and can mimic the look of interior flooring.

Trending Landscape Wall Styles

We divided wall styles into two categories: face texture and wall pattern. Nationally, the prevailing trends center on walls that are constructed using a contemporary modular pattern in color tones that complement the paver field. However, face texture preferences, in particular, vary widely by region.

Landscape Wall Face Trends

For many years, the prevailing trend in landscape walls was the rough-hewn split-stone look. This trend is still the most popular in the Southeast and Central regions. However, the more tailored chiseled-stone look is on the rise, especially in the West. Tumbled stone offers a more contemporary look and is rising in popularity, as well, especially in the Northeast.

Landscape Wall Pattern Trends

A random wall pattern offers the old-world look of a hand-built stone wall. For many years, this was the prevailing trend in landscape walls, and is still popular in the Central region. The tailored linear look had gained in popularity in recent years and is still very popular in the Central and West regions. However, the most popular trend, by far, is the modular pattern, which adds a more contemporary look to any face style.

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.

Belgard Virtual Reality Designs Help Spark Career Interest in the Landscape Industry

Belgard Virtual Reality VR Landscape Design
A Platte Valley High student uses VR goggles to view 3-D virtual reality hardscape designs from the Belgard Design Studio. (photo: Cara Doyle)

Platte Valley High School students in the rural community of Kelsey, Colorado, are often treated to guest presentations from a variety of professions that serve the agriculture industry — ranging anywhere from welding to dairy science.

“We try to get a good array of different career paths that include both trades and college tracks,” explains Agriculture Studies teacher Desirea Weber. “Our community has a lot of farms, but that’s also changing. Not all kids are cut out for college, so we want to present a wide variety of options for them.”

As part of the guest speaker series, the school regularly invites Cara Doyle to present to students. Cara and her husband, David, own Summit Lawn and Landscape in nearby Fort Collins. The company originally became involved with Platte Valley High through its membership in the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC), which reaches out to high schools with its “Career Pathways” program in an effort to lure more people into the landscape labor force.

“The landscape and hardscape industries have been hit pretty hard by the labor shortage,” Doyle explains. “We’ve been fortunate in that it hasn’t affected us as much because we’re located in a college town and get a lot of labor through the university, but we still enjoyed working with the Career Pathways program.” She notes that in addition to providing networking connections between schools and industry professionals, ALCC’s Career Pathways also provides workshops for teachers, training them on installation techniques that they can bring back to the classroom. These workshops have resulted in the construction of a 40’x108′ greenhouse at the school that is flanked by a paver patio with a pergola.

Doyle’s most recent visit to Platte Valley High introduced students in the Future Farmers of America club to the various technologies involved in the landscape design industry — including estimating software, virtual reality design technology from the Belgard Design Studio, and aerial drone photography.

“Very few of the students had ever used VR or drones before, and they were blown away by the technology,” Doyle says, noting that the students particularly enjoyed the experience of putting on the VR goggles and looking up to see the sky, looking down to see the pavers, and virtually experiencing a complete 360-degree view of the design. Doyle used the VR designs and drone photos to illustrate how the technologies can help take a landscape project from concept to installation.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words…

Below are design renderings and drone images of a project installed in Estes Park, Colorado, by the Doyles and their company, Summit Lawn and Landscape.

Photorealistic design rendering from the Belgard Design Studio were created using actual photos of the home to provide a realistic immersive design experience. To access a simulation of the virtual reality version of this design, click the image, then use your mouse or finger to navigate the 360-degree image.

“I don’t think the kids realized these technologies could be used in this industry,” Weber explains. “For them to see that you can design a landscape and then use virtual reality to see what it will actually look like was really cool. A couple of kids already had an interest in the field, and it showed them some more opportunities that were available.”

Weber adds that she’s extremely grateful to Doyle’s partnership with the school. “We don’t always have access to this type of technology and industry knowledge, and it’s great to be able to show the students what’s possible.”

Weber plans to reach out to Doyle in the future to get some expertise on helping the students expand their outdoor classroom by adding raised planting beds and paver walkways.

How Would the Outdoor Living Spaces of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019 Look in Your Backyard?

Photo: HGTV. HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC.  Photos © 2018 Scripps Networks, LLC.  Used with permission; all rights reserved.

How many times have you flipped through the pages of a magazine or watched a makeover TV show and wondered, would that design idea work for my house? Often, we love how something looks in one environment only to find out we’re not as in love with it in our own. Well, if you’ve fallen in love with the beautiful outdoor living spaces of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019 (and who hasn’t) and would like to visualize what those products would look like in your personal home environment, Belgard has the online tool for you!

Belgard’s new online Project Visualizer will allow you to upload photos of your home and experiment with design ideas using the products that created the stunning outdoor living spaces of the HGTV Dream Home in Whitefish, Montana. Whether you’re interested in renovating your driveway, converting your patio to an outdoor living room, adding an outdoor kitchen, or enhancing your backyard in some other creative way, upload photos of your existing space and use the easy-to-navigate tools to position Avalon Slate pavers, Noon porcelain pavers, Tandem® Wall, Tandem® Columns, UNICO Bullnose step units, and the Bordeaux™ Elements fireplace and grill island into your design.

The click-and-drag tools will allow you manipulate the shape of paver fields and walls and will even allow you to create curved walls. All elements are kept to scale, appearing smaller or larger depending upon where it is positioned in the design–adding to the realism of the design. You can also rotate design elements to make the paver pattern flow in a different direction or change the angle of any of the three-dimensional elements. When you’re finished with your creation, you can even save and share the project.

Try the Belgard Project Visualizer Now

Virtual Tour of the Outdoor Spaces of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019

Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

As a proud sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2019, Belgard is excited to offer you this virtual tour of the spectacular views and inviting outdoor living spaces of this fabulous mountainside retreat. Plus, beginning at 9:00 am EST on December 28, you can click the link below to enter for a chance to win this amazing home!

Enter the HGTV Dream Home 2019 Sweepstakes

Located in the picturesque outdoor paradise of Whitefish, Montana, this year’s HGTV Dream Home was designed to take advantage of the dramatic mountainside views. With an abundance of picture windows and stack-back folding glass walls, this modern mountain lodge offers contemporary indoor-outdoor flow that allows the breathtaking outdoor living areas to be a seamless continuation of the indoor environment.

Outdoor Living Virtual Tour Video

Created by the Belgard Design Studio, this animated photorealistic video will take you on a virtual tour of the pre-construction outdoor living design with an aerial fly-through of the home’s expansive outdoor living room, dining area and porches.

Outdoor Living Photo Tour

Next, peruse images and design commentary of the home’s completed outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor Living Room
Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

The outdoor living room and patio were positioned at an offset angle so as to not interrupt the panoramic skyline of Glacier National Park. The design is anchored by a Bordeaux™ Series Outdoor Fireplace with matching wood boxes. The stacked-stone look of the Bordeaux pieces blends well with the natural environment, adding a rustic elegance to the design. Avalon Slate pavers are laid in a contemporary ashlar pattern to add a modern touch, and feature a slate-like texture and color blend that mimics tones found in the surrounding mountainscape. Wicker sofas, additional bench seating and rustic accessories enhance the eclectic look.

Grill Island and Dining Area
Photo: Tomas Espinoza

The outdoor living room patio steps down to the dining area to create two distinct outdoor rooms. A Bordeaux™ Series Grill Island coordinates with the stacked-stone look of the adjacent outdoor fireplace. The grill island is positioned to allow the outdoor chef to take in the lovely view of Whitefish Lake during meal prep. The ample patio allows for additional gathering space for entertaining larger groups. Rustic wooden dining furniture lends a classic touch to the space.

 Built-In Seat Wall
Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

The chiseled-stone look of Tandem® Modular Grid coordinates with the tones and textures of the paver field, providing the framework for post columns and a built-in bench seat at the foot of the dining area. The seat wall and columns not only add a sophisticated touch to the porch, but provide permanent seating. Throw pillows soften the look, add a touch of comfort and help tie the design together.

Indoor-Outdoor Flow

Every first floor room facing the back of the home features folding glass doors that act as picture windows during the winter months and open to create seamless indoor-outdoor living during the milder months. The kitchen window also features bar seating for indoor-outdoor entertaining. The porch is divided into distinct conversation zones, including a Scandanavian-style hot tub and a cozy private sitting area off of the master bedroom.

Photos: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

 

 Striking Entryway

In addition to the backyard, Belgard also provided Noon Porcelain Pavers for the home’s dramatic entryway. The eclectic design of the entry sets the architectural tone for home’s contemporary/rustic design theme. Stone veneer provides a classic mountain look, but with contemporary color blends. The front door, beams and light fixture offer classic touches that are offset by the landing’s contemporary paver design. Planters add pops of color and a finishing touch to the eclectic look.

Photo: Tomas Espinoza.

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the U.S., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends at 5 p.m. ET on 2/18/19. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. For full official rules, prize disclosures, and to enter, visit www.HGTV.com. Main Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC d/b/a Home & Garden Television 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932. HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC.; Photos © 2018 Scripps Networks, LLC.; Used with permission; all rights reserved.