As friends and family begin filtering in for the holiday season, or as you travel to their homes, we invite you to indulge in this recipe for Holiday Pears that will awaken your taste buds. With a decadent mix of spices, this dish will surely become a staple in your holiday traditions.
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
4 firm-ripe pears such as d’Anjou or Bosc (about 2 1/2 lb. total)
1/2 rinsed lemon (about 2 oz. total), thinly sliced (ends discarded)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Sort cranberries and discard stems and any bruised or decayed fruit. Rinse and drain berries. Peel pears; cut in half and core. In a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish, combine cranberries, pears, and lemon slices.
2. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir sugar, vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and 1/2 cup water until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Pour over fruit. Cover dish tightly with foil.
3. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until pears are tender when pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From Sunset December 2001
This week we’re spotlighting one of our newest large-scale pavers, Lafitt Rustic Slab.
Lafitt Rustic Slab features the look and texture of cut slate combined with the lasting strength and staying power that are hallmarks of Belgard pavers. Three shapes allow for a wide variety of design options, giving homeowners the ability to create eye-catching pool decks, patios, walkways and more, with a natural slate appearance.
See how Lafitt Rustic Slab pavers transform these outdoor living spaces:
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, so what better time than now to say “thank you” to you, our readers! We’re so glad that you keep coming back each week for outdoor living tips and information, and we’d love to hear what else you want us to cover, just leave a note in the comments section.
For more ways you can stay in touch with us and find outdoor living inspiration:
- Belgard Idea Book – From amenities and features like outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, to paver colors and styles, and even recipes for entertaining outdoors, the Belgard Idea Book provides advice on designing and enjoying the perfect outdoor oasis. You’ll learn tips such as what shapes make an area look more spacious and what paver textures coordinate best with your home’s style.
- Style File – With your Style File you can browse our image gallery, save photos for inspiration, explore styles and textures, and collaborate on outdoor living projects with friends and professionals. It’s the easiest way to keep track of your favorite Belgard pavers for when you’re ready to start that next outdoor living project.
- Facebook – Like us on Facebook and you’ll see beautiful photos daily. From extravagant to modest, these photos will inspire you for your own outdoor living project.
- Twitter – Join in on the conversation by following us on Twitter. We’ll share our latest blog posts and photos, and answer your outdoor living questions.
- Pinterest – With pinboards organized by application, we make it easy for you to find exciting pool decks, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and more.
Thanks again and happy holidays!
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.
“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.
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.”
With the changing colors of the leaves and more tolerable temperatures, fall is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy your outdoor space. Here are some of our favorite outdoor products for fall:
A good mug is essential for sipping down a hot beverage in cooler temperatures. We love this Barkaris Olive Mug from Pier 1 (1).
This Selamat Reo Lounge Chair from Wayfair (2) makes a cozy spot for long conversations into the night with friends.
A brick oven from the Belgard Elements Collection (3) is the perfect accessory for dinner and dessert; fire up some tasty pizzas with all your favorite toppings and then break out the s’mores for a treat that’s sure to please.
Nothing makes an outdoor space feel more like the indoors than soft, fluffy pillows and throws, plus they brighten up your patio with seasonal colors. We’re fans of the Tuscan and Brittany Papaya pillows and Canyon Chenille throw from Frontgate (4) because they’re made using Sunbrella which means they can withstand mother nature.
A rug is the foundation for making an outdoor space a room, defining the space and creating a focal area. We like the fall colors in this Red Floor Tile Rug from World Market (5).
Ready for a s’mores upgrade? Try this S’mores Party Maker from Bed, Bath and Beyond (6) and make up to three s’mores at once with one tool. Plus, if you want a twist on the classic s’more, try these exciting flavors in the 5-Piece Chocolate Bar Gift Set from Crate & Barrel (6) – toffee brittle, milk chocolate, malted milkshake, s’mores and peanut butter cup, yum!
As many homeowners look to create outdoor spaces that have a natural look and blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment, we’re spotlighting one of our favorite pavers, Mega Arbel.
Mega Arbel gives homeowners the perfectly integrated, natural-looking hardscapes they desire. Its scale is similar to natural flagstone. With its irregular shape and textured surface, Mega Arbel creates outdoor spaces that flow harmoniously into the surrounding landscape.
See how Mega Arbel becomes part of these outdoor living spaces:
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know by now that we are big proponents of homeowners having an outside space that works with their lifestyle. Have you always been interested in a paver project for your own home but don’t know where to start? Here’s a bird’s eye view of the five-step process for making your backyard makeover dreams a reality.
Step 1 – Get Inspired
We recommend taking time to do your homework. Research your options and decide what types of features you want in your own outdoor space. The Belgard Idea Book is packed full of beautiful backyards from extravagant to simple and space maximizing.
Step 2 – Organize Ideas
Once you have an idea of the styles you like, organize your ideas so you can easily see patterns in the vision you have. The Belgard Style File can help. You can browse our image gallery, save photos for inspiration, explore styles and textures, and collaborate on projects with friends and professionals.
Step 3 – Design Consultation
After you’ve got a fairly clear idea of what you want your outdoor living space to look like, it’s time to reach out to an expert for a design consultation. On our Contact page, you have the option to select “Set up a free estimate or design consultation;” check this box and a Belgard representative will get in touch with you. Or if you’ve create a Style File you can send it directly to your local Belgard Authorized Contractor (BAC).
Step 4 – Product Selection
Work with your Belgard Authorized Contractor or Dealer to select your favorite Belgard paver and wall block. They will be able to show you the color options available in your region and help guide you in what will look best in your space.
Step 5 – Installation
Once all of the decisions have been made, it’s time to put your BAC to work installing your new outdoor living space. Choosing Belgard means you can rest at ease because we guarantee our product against manufacturing defects for as long as you own your home, plus we offer a transferable warranty so if you ever decide to sell your house the next homeowner will have the same peace of mind.