Contractor’s Corner: Project Spotlight – A 1970s Home Transformed

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.

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With over 20 years of experience making improvements to other people’s homes, Jared Mellick, president of Universal Roof & Contracting in Orlando, Fla., decided it was time to make some upgrades to his own outdoor living space.

A 1970s Home Unfit for Entertaining
Jared, his wife Cara, and their three boys needed a space that was conducive to frequent entertaining. Their 1970s home did not provide enough space for outdoor entertaining and the space they did have wasn’t very usable. Plus, the Chattahoochee stone pool deck was outdated and unattractive.

When they did have guests over, they noticed that friends and family would approach the informal entrance from the side garage driveway rather than using the main front entryway.

To get the project started, Jared visited a Belgard showroom in Orlando and assessed his paver style and color options, ultimately deciding on City Series pavers in an Oak Run color blend.

A Pool Deck, Fire Pit and Seating, Oh My!
Jared wanted to create an outdoor space that his family could truly live in and enjoy with guests. To achieve this, Jared enlarged the space to accommodate a table and chairs, replaced the unattractive stone pool deck, added a poolside waterfall feature, and added a fire pit with a separate seating area.

These changes made the area much more usable and created separate areas enhancing the atmosphere for backyard entertaining. By incorporating a blend of materials with varying textures including concrete pavers, cultured stone and brick exterior, Jared was able to create one outdoor space with a cohesive design that provides both comfort and relaxation.

Added Parking and Curb Appeal
With a backyard suited for entertaining, Jared also wanted to make improvements to the front of his home to help welcome visitors. Using the same Belgard City Series pavers selected for the backyard, Jared added a circular driveway that would provide additional parking.

“We carried the enhanced look onto the front porch area complete with a small sitting area,” Jared said. “We used the same color and style of Belgard pavers used for the pool deck in our circular driveway to provide continuity from front to back outdoor spaces.”

To complete the updated classic look, Jared replaced the aging wood siding on the cinder block home’s exterior with Nob Hill Thin Brick veneer by Glen-Gery.

“The transformation is amazing; the brick adds dimension and blends well with the other textures we chose. We know this timeless material won’t rot and never requires maintenance.”

For more information, visit www.universalroof.com or tune in every Sunday at 2 p.m. to “In The House with Ken & Jared” on WDBO’s News Talk FM96.5.


Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Holiday Pears

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.


Ingredients
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

Preparation
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


Product Spotlight: Lafitt Rustic Slab

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:


A Thank You to Our Readers

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!


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.

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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.”


Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Popular Outdoor Products for Fall

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!


Product Spotlight: Mega Arbel

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:


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