Contractor’s Corner: Project Spotlight – Happy Homeowners in Kansas

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.

When the outdoor living stars align the result is a beautiful outdoor space that brings together hardscapes, landscaping and happy homeowners.

That’s exactly what happened for this project in Overland Park, Kansas installed by Landworks, Inc.

A Blank Canvas
The existing property featured a worn deck off the main level of the house with a staircase leading down to a concrete slab patio off of the finished basement. Light landscaping surrounded the concrete patio but little was done with the rest of the backyard.

“We essentially started with a blank canvas,” said Jeff Welch, vice president of Landworks, Inc. “The homeowners were prepared to scrap the existing features of their outdoor space and start from scratch.”

Defining the Design
To start the design process, Welch and his team worked with the homeowners to determine their needs for their outdoor space and how it could be tailored to their lifestyle.

“The homeowners stressed their need for a functional outdoor living space,” Welch said. “They wanted a beautiful and relaxing place for family gatherings and social entertaining with friends.”

Welch and his team created a design plan that included a new main level deck from one of their decking partners. Introducing wood into a hardscape design can soften the look, increase design flexibility, and create opportunities to broaden the scope of a project.

“Combining multiple design elements and mediums is a rising trend in residential outdoor living design,” said Ken O’Neill, senior vice president of marketing for Belgard Hardscapes. “One example is the combination of decking and hardscapes. Whether working with composite or organic wood, the aesthetic combination of wood and stone together creates a warm and inviting look and helps homeowners solve a multi-level space dilemma.”

To tie the design together, Landworks added a mid-tier landing with an intimate seating area for two. This landing helped to bridge the gap between the wood deck off the main level and the paver patio at ground level. The wooden deck stairs led down to the landing and paver stairs led to the patio area.

In order to fulfill the homeowners’ need for a functional space for entertaining, additional seating was included through the use of retaining walls. The homeowners were also interested in adding a fire feature as a focal point in their patio and as a way to extend the outdoor season.

Product Selection
With the design elements in place, the team knew they were looking at paver flooring and wall block selections.

“Our clients were torn between the look of Belgard Mega-Lafitt and Mega-Bergerac pavers,” Welch said. “Mega-Lafitt has a natural-looking texture resembling the look of cut flagstone and Mega-Bergerac has a timeless, hand-cobbled appearance.”

The homeowners ultimately chose Mega-Lafitt pavers in the Dansville Biege and Cotswald Mist Blend for underfoot. To settle the debate, Mega-Bergerac pavers in Ashbury Haze were used in an accent border. Pairing well with the flooring selection, the homeowners chose Belair Wall.

Knowing that the homeowners wanted a fire feature in their outdoor space, Landworks recommended they look at the Belgard Elements Collection.

“The Belgard Elements Collection features pre-built modular hardscape elements that make creating an outdoor living space easier and more affordable than ever,” O’Neill said. “Elements are designed to coordinate with Belgard pavers and wall block so they can be seamlessly integrated into the space.”

The Nottingham fireplace they chose featured Belair Wall, the same wall block selected for the seating walls and stairs.

Integrating Hardscapes and Landscape
With a new outdoor living space on the horizon, the homeowners also wanted a landscape plan that would add interest to their backyard and provide privacy from neighbors in close quarters.

Welch and his team chose a variety of blue and green spruces, roses, grasses, and shrubs. Upright junipers also were planted for screening from the neighbors. A total of 14 trees and 20 shrubs now fill the previously landscape-lacking backyard.

With a new outdoor living space complete with a fireplace, seating areas and privacy from the neighbors, the homeowners could enjoy the backyard of their dreams.

Award-Winning Results
Not only was the finished product a result of the outdoor living stars aligning, but it was also an award-winning design. The Mid-America Green Industry Council awarded Landworks a Distinction Award in the Residential Design/Build category for its annual Landscape Improvement Awards.

“This project really was the ideal scenario,” Welch said. “We had a great team, quality products and, best of all, happy homeowners.”

Contractor’s Corner: And the Belgard Ultimate Contractor is…

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.

We recently challenged contractors across the country to share a new sales or marketing approach that will grow their business in 2013. Judging was not an easy task, but after reviewing all of the entries the contractor with the most innovative idea and the grand prize winner of the Belgard Ultimate Contractor Contest is…

Dave Swearingen of The Site Group in Dayton, Ohio!

Not only does Dave receive the title of The Belgard Ultimate Contractor, but he has also won a $15,000 business improvement package!

The $15,000 business improvement package includes:
– 1,000 sq. ft. of a product from Belgard Hardscapes’ 2013 introductions. (Product may depend on geographic region.)
– One year subscription to VisionScapes design software.
– A marketing consultation facilitated by the Belgard Hardscapes Marketing Team.
– A “Come Alive Outside Day” hosted by leading industry consultant Jim Paluch.
– One year enrollment in the Working Smarter Training Challenge.
– One year enrollment in A Better Way 2 Learn Financials.

Congrats, Dave!

Contractor’s Corner: How to Become a Belgard Master Craftsman

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.
6.17.13
Previously we’ve talked about how to become a Belgard Authorized Contractor, so let’s take it up a notch this week and talk about how you can go from being a BAC to a Master Craftsman – the highest level of certification from Belgard.

All Belgard Authorized Contractors looking to become a Master Craftsman must complete the following requirements:

– Must meet all BAC requirements
– Recognized as a winner of at least 1 national award OR 2 local awards for projects in the past 24 months
– Must have an employee complete the ICPI Residential Paver Technician Course
– Must have 5 years install experience
– Must be authorized in 2 of the following areas:

  • Pavers
  • Retaining Walls
  • Belgard Elements
  • Belgard Certified Applicator

– Must meet 2 of the following installation requirements as it relates to your areas of authorization within a 12 month period prior to applying for Master Craftsman status:

  • 20,000 SF of Belgard Pavers
  • 3,000 SF of Belgard Wall Product
  • 7 projects containing at least one Belgard Element
  • Clean and seal 25 paver projects

– 5 year workmanship guarantee
– Must attend 3 educational events provided by or approved by Belgard
– Must hold BAC status for 3 years prior in at least 1 area.
– 100% service satisfaction commitment

In addition to the initial requirements, all Master Craftsmen must submit to these yearly requirements:

– Maintain authorized status in at least two areas
– Must install/perform the following as it relates to your areas of authorization:

  • 20,000 SF of Belgard pavers each year
  • 2,000 SF of Belgard wall product each year
  • 7 projects containing a Belgard Element each year
  • Clean and seal 25 paver projects each year

– Must attend 3 educational events provided by or approved by Belgard
– Maintain 100% service satisfaction commitment

For more information on becoming a Belgard Master Craftsman, visit http://belgard.biz/docs/bac_requirements.pdf or contact your Belgard sales representative.

Current Belgard Master Craftsman include contractors from: Accent Paving, Inc., ACP, Arizona Royal Landscaping and Design, Autumn Blaze Construction, Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc., Brookstein Services, Continental Landscaping, Creative Outdoors, CYC Landscaping, Dean’s Landscaping, Inc., Desert Designer, European Pavers, Gardner Landscapes, Gulfstream Hardscape & Garages, Lawnscapers, Inc., Outdoor Design & Construction, Pavers 4 Less, Pavers Installed Company, Precise Paving, Precision Pavers- Outdoor Living, Stefano’s Landscaping, Waterquest Landscaping, Western Pavers, Inc., Wirth Services Inc., and York’s Landscape Service.

Contractor’s Corner: Belgard Ultimate Contractor Contest

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.
3.18.13

Calling all contractors! We’re looking for the best of the best during the Belgard Ultimate Contractor Contest. Enter for a chance to win a $15,000 business improvement package.

How It Works
Visit Belgard and share a new sales or marketing approach that will grow your business in 2013. Submit your idea by May 15, 2013.

For complete rules and regulations, visit Belgard.

Contractor’s Corner: Project Spotlight – Blue Max

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.

Last month, Blue Max Materials in Charlotte, N.C. celebrated the opening of its new Outdoor Living Design Center. The design space is an inspiration hub and one-stop-shop for contractors and homeowners alike.

The space was created to give Blue Max customers one place where they could see a variety of work in a natural, inviting setting.

Design centers like the one at Blue Max are a great way for contractors to help their clients envision what their outdoor space can become.

Contractors love the new design center because they can bring their clients with them to help pinpoint what the homeowner is looking for and then source the materials at the same place. Blue Max owner Mike Bishop says they see two or three contractors a day bringing in clients.

“We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback on the Outdoor Living Design Center,” Bishop said. “From contractors to homeowners, and the installers who worked on the space, we’ve been able to provide a source of inspiration, a source for materials, and a referral source for the great companies who created the vignettes.”

Currently featuring six backyard vignettes, the almost two-acre space will be host to eleven vignettes when the second phase of construction is complete next spring.

“Our goal was to create a welcoming environment where our customers could leisurely walk the displays,” said Barb Luzum, marketing director at Blue Max. “The center was designed to feel like someone’s backyard. When homeowners walk through the space we want them to daydream about the possibilities for their own backyard.”

Each vignette was constructed by a local installer to showcase a wide variety of options in outdoor living spaces. Local installers include Belgard Authorized Contractor (BAC) Greenview Landscape, BAC Island Creek Landscape, BAC TG&R Landscape Group, BAC Overstream Landscaping, Peaceful Ponds, and The Stone Man.

“This design center would not have been possible without everyone involved, including the installers and manufacturers, like Belgard,” Bishop said. “We’re so excited to see this project come to fruition and continue to grow into next year.”

Contractor’s Corner: Marketing Made Easy, Belgard’s Co-Op Program

Contractors play a pivotal role in helping homeowners bring their outdoor living visions to life. Each month, we’ll offer a Contractor’s Corner post to share tips to help our contractor partners offer even more to homeowners and their landscapes.

Last month, we talked about optimizing your off season by following up with former clients. This month, we’re taking a look at how Belgard can help you get in front of new potential clients and spend your marketing dollars wisely.

Belgard’s marketing reach extends across multiple media channels – print, events, public relations, online social media, guest posting service providers, video and websites – to increase consumer brand awareness and promote our two most valuable assets: our products and the people who sell and install them.

With our Co-Op Marketing Program you can take advantage of our customer research, media intelligence and advertising planning, as well as cost-effective tiered-level and custom-designed marketing plans. We will help you identify where your target audience lives, select media specific to your audience, and schedule your media dollars in coordination with the Belgard national advertising calendar.

“We loved the streamlined advertising approach,” said Jeff Ebb of Weyers Equipment in Kaukauna, Wis. “It gave us various TV and print options that we didn’t previously have available to us.”

Paul Engel of Gulfstream Hardscape in Vero Beach, Fla., says his new website is a great sales tool.

“Belgard helped me create a website that has become my virtual showroom,” Engel said.

For more information on Belgard’s Co-Op Marketing Program, contact your local Belgard representative.