While every homeowner has some vision of what they want, discussing the possibilities for your outdoor project with a contractor can help you get a different perspective on what options are available.
This week, we’re joined by Joel Wihebrink, a Belgard Authorized Contractor and owner of Wihebrink Landscape Management in Warsaw, Indiana.
With over 15 years of experience, Joel has seen his fair share of paver installations. Today, Joel shares with us some of his favorite Belgard pavers with ideas on how you can use them to achieve your vision.
This paver is probably the most flexible in their collection and can be used with other styles for inlays or accent borders and edges. The large squares are also great for seating walls and pillars for accent borders. This paver is easy to install, lays quickly and is available in a wide color selection – a contractor’s dream!
Lafitt is definitely an up and comer in the Belgard collection. The texture of the paver makes it very attractive and there is a great color selection. Lafitt works with almost all wall block and can be used with most other Belgard pavers for edges and accents.
Homeowners choose Urbana for its clean lines, great texture and color. It is the perfect paver for larger projects because of its wide variety of pattern options and four size choices, making install a breeze. Urbana matches with all Belgard block walls.
Arbel is a great paver for landing areas and driveways. One option for homeowners is use Arbel with Urbana on edging for a beautiful look.
This Cajun Bloody Mary is the perfect cocktail for entertaining during Mardi Gras celebrations. This spicy concoction warms you to the bone and has just the right Southern flavor to kick-off your Fat Tuesday right. For a pretty presentation, rub the rims of glasses with lemon wedges, and dip in a mixture of black pepper and coarse salt.
1 (46-ounce) bottle vegetable or tomato juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup liquid from jar of pickled okra or jalapeños
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 1/2 cups plain or pepper-flavored vodka
Stir ingredients together in a large pitcher and chill. Pour into tall glasses. Garnish, if desired.
From Coastal Living March 2011
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.
The current economic climate has had a varied effect on the outdoor living construction industry. With the housing market slump, many homeowners have opted for home improvements in lieu of relocation. In addition, we’ve seen the rise of the touted “staycation,” termed for families that opt to continued vacation at home.
Despite the fact that outdoor kitchens and living rooms add more value to the home for less cost than under-beam construction, many homeowners shy away from their dream scenario for fear of overextending the budget. Learning how to properly design and phase a modular outdoor living project not only can help contractors capitalize on industry trends, but it can create long-term relationships that result in increased business over the long run.
When planning, it’s important to know where each element of the design will be placed so that you can account for pre-construction needs. Put together a plan for phasing the project that takes into account both budget requirements and the existing landscape. A typical scenario would be to install the flat surfaces first, then build up, and then embellish. For example, if a design includes a patio with an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace, and seat walls, your plan may look like this:
• Phase I: Patio
• Phase II: Kitchen
• Phase III: Fireplace
• Phase IV: Seat walls, lighting, and sound
Steering homeowners towards small projects in a phased approach leads to a huge difference in the long run, both for their backyard and your business! Click here for more information on building customers for life.
The fire trend in outdoor living is getting hot, hot, hot! Homeowners across the country are looking to create outdoor spaces that they can enjoy year-round, and for many that means adding a fire feature to extend their outdoor season. Adding fire to your landscape design transforms a grey space into a warming, inviting outdoor room that not only looks stunning, but has function to boot.
A Belgard Authorized Contractor can help you design the perfect backyard that complements your lifestyle, but to get you started here are three ways you can integrate fire into your landscape.
Are you everyone’s favorite weekend host, beloved because you never cringe when friends stop by without warning? Then you (and your friends) will love a fire pit. A fire pit’s design is perfect for a large crowd to circle around. Sit, relax and roast marshmallows, share stories and laughs, and keep toes toasty into the night.
Are you the next Top Chef ready to take those indoor cooking skills back to nature? Then an outdoor kitchen is your perfect fit. Entertaining guests outdoors has never been easier – multitask chopping vegetables, flipping flame-broiled burgers on the grill and reducing your homemade special sauce all while keeping your guests company outside.
Does a peaceful moment in front of a warm fire appeal to you? A glowing outdoor fireplace is just the right spot for you. Cozy up on a comfy chair with a good book and let the crackling sound of the fire relax the stress of the day away.
Click here to learn more about Belgard fire feature products and how to incorporate them into your landscape.
Last month we talked to you about “How to Make Your Outdoor Space Feel Intimate” for large areas. This week, let’s tackle how to make the most out of a small outdoor space.
Decide what is most important to you. Do you want a place to sit, relax and enjoy company? Is outdoor cooking important to you? Would you be willing to sacrifice seating to accommodate a larger cooking space? If you can’t have it all, prioritize.
The importance of having a good flow to your outdoor space is exponentially greater when it comes to small spaces. You’re already in an area with low square footage, so avoid crowding it with furniture, plants, or other accessories arranged in ways that inhibit you from navigating your patio.
Practice walking through your outdoor space – what is your most logical pathway? Do you feel like there’s a roadblock maneuvering around your accessories? What about when other people are around?
Picking out furniture for your outdoor room is no different than measuring a couch to make sure it will fit through the doorway and work in your living room. When you’re choosing furniture for your small outdoor space, keep in mind that the size of your furniture should pair well with the size of your space – you don’t want overwhelming furniture that overtakes your entire outdoor room.
Don’t be afraid to shop around awhile to find something you love. Be sure to ask about the store’s return policy so you don’t take something home just to find out it won’t work in your space. Always carry a tape measure with you when furniture shopping so dimensions are top of mind.
We would like to congratulate our good friend Chip Wade on his latest television venture. HGTV just announced its new programming for 2012, including Elbow Room hosted by the man of the hour. The show, which premieres in May, features Chip coming to the rescue of families who love their home and love their neighborhoods, but whose houses no longer suit them. In each episode, Chip updates and customizes homes with smart and eye-popping renovations. Congratulations Chip!
This past weekend we caught up with Chip on the set of our next Belgard Hardscapes television commercial. We were on location at a beautiful home in Atlanta and were lucky enough to have warm, sunny weather during the entire shoot. Check out the video below of Chip Wade on location.
Don’t forget, throughout the year we will be collecting your questions for Chip and once a quarter he will write a blog post, “Chip’s Tips,” answering your queries on your own outdoor projects. Submit your questions for Chip right here in the comments section, at our Facebook page or by emailing ChipsTips@oldcastle.com. Look for Chip’s first blog post at the end of March.