Readers’ Choice Top Outdoor Kitchen Designs

With National Grilling Month coming up in July, we reached out to the more than 80,000 subscribers of our monthly Outdoor Living by Belgard eNewsletter to visit our Outdoor Kitchen and Outdoor Grill Island Pinterest boards and vote on their favorite designs. The votes have been tallied, and here on the top 5 outdoor kitchen designs in each category.

Top 5 Outdoor Kitchen Designs

Belair Wall Outdoor Brick Kitchen
#5 – Featuring the chiseled stone look of Belair Wall®, this al fresco kitchen includes both a gas grill and a wood-fired outdoor brick oven with a built-in wood box. This well-equipped kitchen also includes an ice-maker, outdoor dishwasher, custom bar sink and multiple durable stainless cabinets.
Lafitt Rustic Slab Outdoor Kitchen Design
#4 – This L-shaped kitchen is positioned adjacent to a covered Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio that offers ample seating for guests to visit with the outdoor chef during meal prep. Stacked-stone veneer adds a rustic elegance to complement multiple stainless outdoor appliances and a double grill.
Weston Stone outdoor kitchen design
#3 – This contemporary Weston Stone® outdoor kitchen includes a multi-functional granite countertop that provides a large linear area to accommodate food prep, serving and dining space. Weston Stone was also used for an adjacent landscape wall to visually tie the design together.
Weston Stone outdoor brick oven kitchen design
#2 – A raised bar opposite the grill allows guest to enjoy conversation with the outdoor chef during meal prep in this lovely Weston Stone® outdoor kitchen. A quaint lantern-style light fixture adds both ambiance and functionality to the wood-fired brick oven. Weston Stone was also used to construct a coordinating decorative wall that adds charm to the overall design.
Belair Wall Stone Outdoor Kitchen Design
#1 – This simple, yet elegant Belair Wall®outdoor kitchen garnered the most votes from our readers. The perfect space to entertain, this kitchen includes an oversized granite countertop that provides ample prep and serving spaces, as well as bar-style dining. The L-shape design puts everything within arm’s reach and opens to a covered Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio with additional seating, which creates a communal atmosphere.

Top 5 Grill Island Designs

Weston Stone L-shaped Grill Stone Kitchen Outdoor
#5 – This Weston Stone® L-shaped grill island offers clean, contemporary lines and a raised bar opposite the prep area for dining. Coordinating shades of Urbana® Stone pavers are laid in a running bond pattern on the adjacent patio to add a cohesive look to this eclectic space.
#4 – Rustic rough-hewn Celtik® Wall pairs with a contemporary granite countertop to create an L-shaped grill island that is the perfect complement to this eclectic outdoor living space. The flagstone design of Mega-Arbel® pavers help define the cooking area of the Lafitt® Grana Slab patio. Charcoal colored Old York™ pavers tie in with the color of the countertop to add a contemporary geometric border design.
Stone Patio Outdoor Kitchen Design
#3 – A built-in arbor made of reclaimed wood and wrought iron accents adds rustic charm to this attractive Weston Stone® grill island. Coordinating tones in the Lafitt® Rustic Slab patio complement the design.
Stone Outdoor Kitchen Design
#2 – The simple lines of this Weston Stone® grill island allow it to blend seamlessly with the structure of the adjacent home. A raised backsplash and granite countertops add a tailored look. The angled extension allows for additional prep and serving space without overpowering the sitting area of the Mega-Lafitt® paver patio.
Tandem Modular Grid Outdoor Stone Kitchen Design
#1 – This contemporary design garnered the highest number of votes in the grill island category. The versatile Tandem® Modular Grid provides the structure for the grill island, as well as a base for the arched arbor and a raised platform for the dining table.

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NEXT WEEK: Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog next week for a chance to win a free prize in our National Grilling Month giveaway!

Virtual Reality: The New Game-Changing Technology in Outdoor Living Design

Not long ago, the thought of virtually walking through a project that was only in the design phase would have seemed like science fiction. Today, the Belgard Design Studio offers a way to do just that.

Originally developed for the entertainment and gaming industries, virtual reality technology is now used by the Design Studio to give homeowners a total 360-degree 3D view of their future outdoor living space, complete with imagery of the home, furniture, appliances and landscaping. The experience is incredibly realistic and completely free of charge when working with a Belgard Authorized Contractor.

Outdoor Living Design in VR
To view a sample 360-degree view of a virtual reality outdoor living design from the Belgard Design Studio, click the image and then scroll up and down using your mouse or finger.

Immersing Yourself in Your Future Outdoor Living Space

This “gaming” technology is now changing the game for homeowners interested in an outdoor living makeover. Embarking upon a large-scale home improvement project can often be a stressful experience for those who have a difficult time visualizing the end-result of their design choices.

Belgard Virtually Reality VR Outdoor Living DesinAs lifelike as the 3D pool design image above is, the experience is even more realistic when viewed through Belgard virtual reality goggles. When you tilt your head up, you see the roof or the sky. When you tilt your head down, you see the patio pavers. For the most realistic experience, it’s best to sit in a swivel chair so that you can slowly turn in a complete circle to take in the entire immersive design, as though you’re sitting right in the middle of your future outdoor living space.

What Makes these Outdoor Designs so Realistic?

Your contractor will submit “before” photos of your home and simple design sketches of your future space to the Belgard Design Studio, along with your choices of any Belgard pavers, landscape wall products, outdoor kitchen pieces or outdoor fire features. The Design Studio integrates all of this information so that your personalized design includes imagery of your existing home. If your home hasn’t been built yet, they can also integrate architectural drawings of your future home into the design.

The Benefits of Virtual Reality Design

Belgard’s virtual reality designs not only help you visualize your future space, they help to ensure that you and your contractor are on the same page. It also gives you the opportunity to make changes in the design before products are ordered, potentially saving you a great deal of money and headaches. For example, you may decide to change the size of a design element or choose a different paver style or color. In addition, placing furniture in the virtual design will ensure you’ve allotted enough room for seating, gathering and traffic flow. Virtual reality designs can also help you create a long-term plan for a dream outdoor space that you can construct in more affordable phases.

Interested in learning more? Click here to find a Belgard Authorized Contractor near you, or call 877-BELGARD (877-235-4273).

 

HGTV® Dream Home 2018 Winner Announced

HGTV Dream Home 2018 Winner

As a proud sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home 2018, we congratulate this year’s winner of the fabulous waterfront retreat in Gig Harbor, Washington, overlooking the picturesque Henderson Bay, an inlet of Puget Sound.

Emily Muniz HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2018 Winner
Emily Muniz, middle, is surprised by HGTV designer and host Tiffany Brooks with the news that she is the winner of the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2018. (photo courtesy HGTV)

Emily Muniz, a 29-year-old from suburban Nashville was randomly selected from over 123 million entries to win the grand prize package valued at more than $1.8 million. The giveaway includes the completely remodeled and fully furnished home, a new Honda Accord and $250,000 from national mortgage lender Quicken Loans®.

This formerly outdated home was selected by HGTV and completely renovated into a contemporary maritime retreat. Belgard was honored to be a part of this renovation as the exclusive hardscape sponsor. Belgard products were used to help facilitate complete front and backyard transformations, adding contemporary curb appeal and providing multiple entertaining zones for taking in the spectacular views of Henderson Bay.

Aerial view of the outdoor living areas of the HGTV Dream Home 2018. (Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

“The outdoor space at the HGTV Dream Home 2018 in Gig Harbor made it truly our dream home,” Muniz said. “From the back porches overlooking the sound, to the gathering area around the fire pit and the ‎grilling area for summer cookout, it’s a gorgeous property that has multiple spaces that are perfect for gathering with family and friends.”

Urbana Stone permeable pavers
The HGTV® Dream Home 2018 is outfitted with Urbana® Stone permeable pavers to help protect neighboring Henderson Bay from potential pollution from stormwater runoff. (Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

In addition to providing upgraded aesthetics and functionality to the home, the new paver driveway, walkways, and fire pit patio are also environmentally friendly. Paved with Belgard Urbana® Stone permeable pavers, these areas filter any rainwater or other runoff of impurities before absorbing it into the ground below and returning it to local receiving waters.

To view before and after images of the outdoor renovation, read our transformation blog.

For more information on the HGTV Dream Home 2018, including an aerial video of the exterior, design videos, and photos of the interior transformation of the home, click here.

Best Pavers and Paver Patterns for Driveways

Chuck Taylor, Belgard National Hardscapes Advisor, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on pavement systems. He joins us on the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog this week with advice for planning paver driveways.

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A paver driveway will boost your curb appeal and improve the value of your home. But as with any other home-improvement project, there are multiple considerations including paver style, color, laying pattern and overall design. The ultimate goal, of course, is to create a beautiful entrance to your home that is durable enough to withstand the burden of vehicular use without shifting or cracking.

Driveway Paver Styles

Aqualine™ Series Permeable Driveway Pavers
Aqualine™ Series permeable pavers.

The first choice is to decide whether the driveway will be permeable or impervious. A traditional paver driveway would be impervious, but there are multiple benefits to installing a permeable paver driveway. Water will never pool on the surface and a heating system can even be installed beneath the pavers to keep snow from accumulating. Also, some states and municipalities offer grants or tax incentives for installing permeable driveway pavers because the system reduces the burden on local stormwater collection systems and helps remove pollutants to improve local water quality.

Several Belgard pavers can be installed as either permeable or impervious, including Urbana Stone®, Mega-Lafitt®, Mega-Arbel® and Bergerac®. Belgard also offers multiple permeable pavers that were designed specifically for permeable installations.

The second choice is whether to go with a traditional, contemporary or stone-textured look. Belgard offers multiple paver styles in each category. Porcelain pavers can also be used to create an ultra-contemporary look, but will require a concrete base to support vehicular loads.

Driveway Paver Laying Pattern Options

The strongest and most traditional option is a herringbone pattern set at a 45-degree angle to the garage. This laying pattern provides the best interlock to prevent the pavers from shifting, especially for higher traffic areas.

Gaining in popularity, an ashlar pattern can also be effective for both residential and heavier traffic and provides a more contemporary look.

A running bond or basketweave pattern can work for standard residential driveways, but it is recommended to avoid these types of long, straight lines for heavier traffic areas, such as commercial driveways or subdivision common areas.

For permeable paver installations, it’s best to stick with ashlar or herringbone patterns due to the larger joints, which create an increased opportunity for shifting when used with running bond or basketweave patterns.

Driveway Paver Thickness and Base

Traditionally, driveways have been constructed using 80mm (3 inch) pavers with a standard 6″ base. However, it is becoming more common practice to use a lighter 60mm (2-3/8 inch) paver with a thicker base. In rainier climates, the required base depth can be up to 12 inches because of absorbent clays that can cause soils to shift when wet. With these types of site conditions, a thin base puts pavers in danger of separating or cracking from soil shifts. A layer of geo-fabric between the soil and the aggregate layer can add extra protection from this type of shifting, but a thicker base is still recommended. In arid climates, 60mm pavers can be successfully used for driveways with only a 4 to 6 inch base, as shifting clays are not a factor.

A sound residential concrete slab driveway without foundation cracks can be overlayed with 30mm thin pavers. In many cases, DriBond™ advanced mudset can be used to facilitate the entire overlay. Another option would be to DriBond the perimeter and sand-set the primary paver field, if there’s a possibility of shifting soils. Keep in mind that an overlay will add 2.5 to 3 inches of elevation to the existing slab, which could affect transitions to the garage, home, street or walkways.

Paver Color and Border Options

This Mega-Bergerac® driveway ties in with the color tones of the roof. A border was created by using only the large stones of this 4-piece system.

Current trends lean towards choosing driveway paver colors that tie in with the roof color of the home, either in the primary paver field or in a border. Borders can be easily created by using the same paver in either a different color or different laying pattern.

Another option is to choose a contrasting paver shape, texture, color and/or style for the border. You can also create double borders or work with your contractor to develop other creative design ideas.

Paver Driveway Embellishments

Focal points can be created using pattern embellishments. Typical focal points include the driveway entrance, the garage apron, or what’s called a “carriage drop,” or the spot where someone would be dropped off adjacent to the home’s formal entrance.

Adding character to paver driveways, a circle kit creates a classic focal point for more traditional driveway. Contemporary focal points can be created using squares or rectangles. For a Romanesque look, circle kits can be used to create a fan or a fishtail design.

 

Don’t Remove that Concrete Slab!
Overlay it.

Few renovation projects will drastically improve your home’s curb appeal like converting an old stained and cracked concrete driveway to a stunning paver driveway. And nothing transforms an outdated pool like a beautiful contemporary paver pool deck.

However, these types of projects typically call for the painstaking, costly and time-consuming process of ripping out that old concrete. Or do they?

Thanks to the incredible patent-pending formula of Techniseal® DriBond™ advanced mudset, concrete removal is completely unnecessary, as long as the slab is structurally sound. A driveway, patio, walkway or pool deck can be completely transformed in less than 48 hours, and for significantly less cost than concrete removal and replacement.

DriBond installs like sand — filling the cracks and seams of a sound concrete slab — to provide a bedding surface for the installation of thin concrete pavers, porcelain pavers, or natural stone. Activated with water, DriBond sets like concrete to create a durable bond. The result is a stunning outdoor living space with lasting beauty.

Driveway Transformation

Before Driveway Paving Stones

DriBond Paver Driveway

Belgard Products that Work with DriBond

(consult a local installer for additional styles in your area)

See DriBond in Action