Fire Pit Patio Design Trends in Orange County, CA

Research shows that fire pits have been among the top five outdoor living design trends for the last several years. As this trend continues to grow hotter with each passing season, design ideas for fire pits have evolved and taken many different forms. Whether a gas-burning, wood-burning or hybrid version, fire pit designs continue to become more unique and individualized in nature.

In-Ground Fire Pits

The appeal of an in-ground fire pit is that it creates the beautiful, primal effect of flames erupting from the ground. In terms of fire safety, there is the added benefit of lower flames that are kept more contained. However, there’s a safety drawback, as well, as there are no protective walls around the fire.

Gas Fire Tables

Gas fire tables offer a contemporary look and appeal to homeowners who prefer the ease of gas — always ready to light, no wood or ash to worry about. An added benefit of a fire table is that it has a larger surface area and can actually be used as a table, creating more of an outdoor living room aesthetic than a traditional fire pit. Fire tables can also be built at varying heights, including bar height.

Multi-Level Fire Pit Patios

A multi-level fire pit patio offers a dimensional element to the design and separates the fire pit area into a distinct outdoor room, making the fire pit more of destination spot in the backyard.

Fire Pits with Built-in Seat Walls

Built-in seating often holds a spot in the top 10 outdoor living design elements as well, so it’s only natural that seat walls would become a popular aspect of fire pit patio design. After all, where does everyone want to sit and gather? By the fire, of course.

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

Planning Tips for Your Outdoor Living Makeover Project in Orange County, CA

Outdoor Living Makeover Project Planning Guide

Whether you’re wanting to improve your curb appeal or add functionality to your backyard, these planning tips can help you start your outdoor living makeover planning process, as well as help you avoid potential pitfalls.

TIP 1:  DO YOUR RESEARCH

  • Inspiration: Spend a significant amount of time looking through magazine websites, outdoor living Pinterest boards and the Belgard Inspiration Gallery to see which styles, textures and colors tend to grab your attention. Keep the architectural style of your home in mind to ensure your design works well with your home’s color or architecture.
  • Budget: Check websites like HomeAdvisor to get a rough idea of what installation costs are for your type of project. The costs won’t be exact until you get quotes, but it will help start the planning process. And as with any home improvement project, you should include some buffer room in the budget to cover any unforeseen contingencies, like a last minute design addition.

TIP 2:  FIND A GOOD CONTRACTOR

When planning for any outdoor living makeover project, a good rule of thumb is to get three quotes. Don’t necessarily choose the lowest bid, but the contractor you feel has the best understanding of your vision and the necessary skills to bring it to life. Be sure to ask to see examples of their work and references. If you’re planning to install patio pavers or landscape walls, Belgard is North America’s leading manufacturer of hardscapes and provides an online contractor locator of pre-screened installers who are required to adhere to specific standards and are reviewed annually.

TIP 3:  PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

  • Phasing: If you have an overall vision for your property and know you can’t do everything at once, you should still PLAN everything before breaking ground on the first project. Doing so can save you a lot of money and headaches down the road. For example, if you’re installing a pool and plan to add a pavilion and outdoor kitchen later, put in column footings and pre-run needed electrical and gas lines under the pool deck. It will cost a little extra on the front end but will save significant money and time later. In addition, a contractor who understands the overall vision can help you plan the best way to phase everything out.
  • Design: Be sure to ask for design renderings so that everyone is on the same page. If your project involves Belgard pavers or walls, a Belgard Authorized Contractor can provide Virtual Reality Designs from the Belgard Design Studio free of charge. These designs offer an ultra-realistic 360-degree view of your future space including furniture, landscaping and images of your home.

TIP 4:  YOU WILL NEED MORE SPACE THAN YOU THINK

  • Driveways: Homeowners who choose to install a standard driveway (8 to 10 feet wide) often wish they had splurged and gone with 12 feet. The additional width provides more room for wider vehicles, as well as walking space around the vehicle. This will keep your future guests from having to step off of the driveway into wet grass on a rainy day, or from accidentally missing a portion of a narrow driveway and leaving tire ruts in your yard.
  • Patios: Don’t just think about furniture groupings, but also the walking and gathering space that will be needed around the furniture. If you like to entertain, you will want to plan enough space for multiple conversation zones. And if you’re planning an outdoor kitchen, remember to plan for food prep and serving space.

TIP 5:  GET THE BELGARD PROJECT GUIDE

Outdoor Living Makeover Project GuideOur comprehensive Project Guide can be viewed online or downloaded for future reference. It offers a wealth of additional project planning information — including project considerations, planning timelines, design basics, budgeting tips, contractor selection tips, long term maintenance tips and more.

GET THE PROJECT GUIDE

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

Introducing the Chiseled Stone Look of New Coventina Coping by Belgard Hardscapes

Belgard’s newest hardscape product answers the call of two major design trends for outdoor living spaces: large-format materials and natural textures. Coventina™ Coping features chiseled edging, a lightly textured surface and unique color blends that emulate the look of large pieces of natural slate for a fraction of the cost. The perfect accent for a variety of trim applications, Coventina Coping can work with both contemporary and traditional designs and complements a variety of paver styles.

Stone Pool Coping

Coventina Stone Pool CopingCoventina Coping works well with traditional pavers, plank-style pavers, and contemporary porcelain pavers as an elegant chiseled stone trim for swimming pools, spas and water features. The large-format shape creates a clean stone look with a minimal number of seams.

Wall and Step Trim

Conventina Stone Wall Trim, Stone Step TrimCoventina Coping can be paired with a variety of Belgard landscape wall blocks to add a stylish finished look to multi-dimensional outdoor living design elements such as fire pits, landscaping walls, seat wallsand built-in planters. Coventina Coping can also be used to create stair steps and terrace transitions. This versatility allows Coventina to be used in trim applications throughout an outdoor living design to pull the entire look together.

Natural Stone Looks

Natural Stone Coventina CopingChiseled edges, a gracefully textured stone top surface and variegated color blends combine to mimic the aesthetics found in nature.  A cost-effective alternative to natural stone, Coventina Coping emulates the look and feel of slate with the added benefits of uniform sizes, durability and slip-resistance.

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For more information regarding availability in your local market, visit our design center for more information.

The Benefits of Concrete Pavers Versus Brick Pavers in Orange County, CA

When planning a paver project in Orange County, it’s important to know that not all pavers are equal. When choosing paver materials, it’s particularly essential to understand the differences between brick pavers and concrete pavers and the multiple benefits of choosing concrete pavers over traditional clay brick.

Paver Sizes & Shapes

Concrete pavers come in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes –- from small 4″x8″ and 6″x6″ all that way up to 24” slabs, as well as irregular and plank shapes.  Clay brick pavers typically only come in 4″x8″ sizes.

Paver Finishes & Styles

While brick pavers all have a similar face, concrete pavers are available in an endless array of finishes — including smooth finishes, natural stone textures, cobbled looks, antique tumbled looks and more.  Most concrete paver finishes incorporate blends of colors, and many have unique faces created with specialized aggregates.

Paver Colors

Clay brick pavers are typically only available in a limited number of shades or color blends. However, concrete pavers are available in a wide array of hues and color blends — including warm color tones, cool color tones, deep shades, and variegated color blends. This allows for greater design flexibility and the ability to create more coordinated outdoor designs. Some concrete pavers also have built-in protectants to help prevent the color from fading over time.

Consistent Paver Sizes

Concrete pavers are made in a highly controlled environment, allowing for more uniformed and consistent shapes and sizes within a particular style. This allows for more efficient installation. Brick pavers can often be warped as part of the firing process, which can make installation more challenging.

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