Would you like to walk through a kitchen design by a renowned chef? Come to Rockefeller Center in New York City from July 18-22 and tour the House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year. Chef Tyler Florence has chosen to create not only a design for your home kitchen, but a Belgard® Elements Outdoor kitchen with Belgard pavers. The 2,500 sq-ft dream kitchen, with 1,500 sq-ft of outdoor space, is free and open to the public for tours, tastings, and special events.
Featuring numerous options, Belgard was the best choice for Chef Tyler Florence’s professional outdoor area. Each collection has matching items that range from outdoor kitchen pieces such as barbecues and the Chicago Brick Oven, to fireplaces, firepits, water features, free-standing walls, and more. Pieces arrive ready to install, so installation can be as short as a few days. Now, the average backyard can be transformed into a designer kitchen in no time.
“The inclusion of an outdoor kitchen in this year’s showcase is a testament to the growing popularity of this segment of landscape design,” says Ken O’Neill, Vice President of Belgard Hardscapes. “Outdoor living is becoming more and more an extension of the home, and we’re honored to have been chosen to demonstrate this trend of family life.”
Tyler Florence, renowned chef, Food Network host, and best-selling author has designed both the indoor and outdoor sections, which actually makes this year’s Kitchen of the Year two kitchens. Florence brings his rustic Northern California style to the design. “We’re excited to have Tyler designing our Kitchen of the Year this summer. His personal style of creating a warm space the entire family will enjoy really resonates with our readers,” said Newell Turner, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful.
If you can’t make the trip to New York City, the Kitchen of the Year will be featured in Belgard’s July blog and online at www.housebeautiful.com/KOTY.
Visit the blog again to see more on this event!
On August 1st, the kitchen is transformed into Bar 30, serving snacks and cocktails all summer long. Afterwards, products and building materials are donated to Habitat for Humanity.
Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
Summer is a time for seafood! With this Hawaiian flavor, shrimp never tasted better. A squeeze of lime adds zing and toasted coconut contributes crunch to this easy make-ahead, crowd-pleaser. You’ll need at least 24 wooden skewers (6 in).
Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time.
Serves 12 or 8 if the group is hungry!
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
- 2 pounds large uncooked shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh lime wedges for squeezing
- 1/2 cup toasted, sweetened shredded coconut
1. In a medium bowl, combine ginger, garlic, lime zest and juice, and coconut milk. Add shrimp, tossing to coat, and chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
2. Meanwhile, soak skewers in water. Prepare a grill for high heat (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Push 2 or 3 shrimp onto each skewer in a “C” shape (through each end); cook, turning once, until flesh has just turned pink and is slightly charred, about 3 minutes on each side.
3. Arrange skewers on a serving platter and sprinkle lightly with sea salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and coconut. Serve with extra lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!
Consider a sweet rice made with extra coconut milk or sweet Hawaiian rolls as a side. Add to the menu with a fresh salad of butter lettuce, papaya, mango, and strips of avocado. Fresh pineapple cubes with maraschino cherries on a skewer adds to the tropical menu.
Recipe courtesy of Sunset Magazine, June 2009.
As we all migrate to the outdoors for evenings of cool breezes and casual conversation, lighting is essential. Lights that are too bright attract bugs and nasty mosquitoes. But, subtle low voltage lighting at ground level adds character, a sense of elegance and the feel of relaxation at the end of the day. Don’t forget the safety and security measures lighting an area adds, particularly to steps, pool decks, driveways, and paths. It is an investment that will add value to your home.
Adding lighting at the start of your project makes installation simple. Belgard recommends that all electrical installations be left to the professionals (click to locate a Belgard contractor in your area). Planning is always the best place to start. Rule of thumb is lighting should be five to eight feet apart. Consider how the lighting will turn on, via a switch, timer or automatically.
Select lighting to highlight the existing hardscape and surrounds. You will want to coordinate the light size and shape with the paver size. But, Belgard doesn’t stop at paver lighting! If you are installing lighting off the ground, Belgard’s Elements Collections offers lighted columns to add to the drama of your yard. You could consider up lighting, which provides highlights to a feature. Up lighting can be built into the pavers to show off a Belair wall, garden or tree.
When you add a wall, firepit, or one of the Elements Collections popular outdoor kitchens, lighting should be part pf the planning process. With the Elements Collection, there are many lighting placement options: pillars, chimney, seat walls, and within the cooking areas. No one wants to cook outside with a flashlight in hand. If you have ever dreamed of cuddling up with a new book to the sounds of the evening crickets – ambient lighting from a pillar will keep you turning pages. Nighttime outdoor living doesn’t have to leave you in the dark!
Can installing pavers versus concrete make a different in the look of your yard? This project gives a resounding “YES!”
At Sunset headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, the aging and cracked concrete was a deterrent to the beauty of the gardens and rolling grassy areas. It is common for concrete to expand and contract in areas with varying climates. This causes unsightly and dangerous cracks, which with the addition of rainwater, or even water from sprinklers, will increase over time.
To create a more inviting and visually appealing landscape, “Belgard’s Cambridge Cobble pavers were selected to pave the garden walkways. More than 10,000 square feet of asphalt walkways were replaced in the Autumn Blend color. This color provides a rich accent to the lush green garden,” states Sarah Smith of Sunset Magazine.
“Sunset Magazine is all about showcasing the best of the region’s unique lifestyle, so much of which is related to the outdoors. Their gardens were intended to be an extension of that mission, but the asphalt walkways were detracting from the beauty,” says Ken O’Neill, Vice President of Belgard Hardscapes. “Cambridge Cobble offers a tailored look that embodies their corporate image.”
The high-traffic capacity of Cambridge Cobble was put to the test earlier this month when the magazine hosted its annual Celebration Weekend. Over 18,000 readers and travellers converged on the grounds for product demonstrations, food exhibits, gardening tips, artisan exhibits, and what the magazine called its “glam camping” exhibit showcasing ways of roughing it with style.
Creating a New Walkway
For the homeowner, replacing a walkway, no matter the size, requires knowledge and skill. Although many will take it on as a DIY project, others leave it to the pros. Belgard has contractors throughout the US trained in installation (click here to find one near you). The Belgard website also offers a “Visualizer” tool which allows you to upload a photo of your home and add products and colors to “visualize” various outcomes.
If you are looking to replace your dirt, concrete or asphalt walkway or patio, Belgard’s pavers are today’s answer.
- Paving stones are several times stronger than concrete.
- Paths and patios can be installed in any weather.
- Concrete is hard and “brittle” and thus prone to cracking and cannot be repaired without leaving “scar” marks.
- Permeable pavers allow rainwater to return to the soil, eliminating runoff.
- Paving Stones are set in a friction base sand mixture, thus they do not move around at all, but remain flexible. This flexibility allows cold and hot weather expansion and contraction.
- Paving stones are even earthquake resistant.
- Paving stones can be easily replaced should the need ever arise.
- Most importantly paving stones add beauty and aesthetics to your environment and value to your home.
Picking your product can be fun and here are a few tips to keep in mind. Color. Ask your dealer what colors are available in your area. You will want to consider your home’s color and landscaping elements. Shape. Depending on the product, Belgard offers squares, rectangular, and irregular/natural stone shapes. Textures and Patterns. Belgard offers numerous options with regards to texture and patterns. You can choose from smooth squares to the look of rough natural stone. Depending on the pattern you choose, the layout created can be a simple running bond, to circular, to multi-patterned.
The choice of Cambridge Cobble for Sunset’s project combines rich, earth tone colors with textured surfaces and creates an authentic “old world” appearance. Consider the patterns available with your product. Sunset’s existing paths weaved around the landscape, so they needed a pattern with a serpentine flow.
Once you have your plan and product, you can start getting your hands dirty.* This project started with extensive demolition. After removal of existing hardscape, you will need to prepare the area by staking out the path or patio. Then get excavating! The depth depends on the level of traffic and the size of the pavers. Compaction of the exposed surface is important – by machine or by hand.
The additional of a base to create a level surface is a must. Use crushed stone or aggregate and compact. Start with a few inches and compact. You can move on to the next layer when you can walk on the surface without leaving footprints. Repeat until you are within the depth of your desired grade. Then add edging restraints, and start laying out the pavers. Cutting pavers will allow for a better fit and a more professional look. Then, enjoy!
* the instructions listed here are generalized. Please consult a contractor or the Belgard.biz site for more installation procedures.
To be able to make a difference in the face of adversity can be overwhelming, especially when you drive through the parts of New Orleans that were destroyed by the flood waters of Katrina. Yet when you follow the quote, “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something,” it brings inspiration and puts each person’s value into perspective. Through the administration of Operation Helping Hands, volunteers have been working on homes of those who still need help. Working alongside the homeowner, volunteers hear their plights. Not only the stories of what they endured during the storm, but the subsequent heartache as contractors who were hired to help ended up taking advantage of them. We can all make a difference in helping these homeowners to finally recover and Belgard did just that.
The Rayne street house has taken on a whole new look. The previous siding was wood, which became molded and decayed. Using Oldcastle’s new product, Suretouch, this veneer is guaranteed to withstand the elements. Summers are hot in New Orleans, so Suretouch’s insulating feature is a plus. The volunteers on-hand from Immaculata University in PA were impressed that the veneer will also help the homeowner “save on electricity bills!” The transformation is amazing. Volunteers commented on the simplicity of the installation process. “We made an enjoyable game out of it, like putting together a huge puzzle.”
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The other house Belgard sponsored on Tricou Street in New Orleans, is the home of an elderly blind lady who loves to have her grandchildren visit her. Yet, after the storm waters of Katrina destroyed her home almost six years ago, she has not been able to move back in. That is all about to change. While the inside of her house is still being completed, the Belgard Permeable Paver side path has been installed. This path will allow the homeowner to walk safely from the front to the rear of the house where she can enjoy her grandchildren as they play in the yard.