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
Top 5 Grill Island Designs
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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!
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.
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.
As 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).
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, 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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
Holland Stone (herringbone)
Urbana Stone® (ashlar)
Old World™ (running bond)
Old York™ (basketweave)
Mega-Arbel® (random look)
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
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.
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.