5 Fiery Ideas for Building Your Outdoor Cooking Station in Orange County, CA

5 Fiery Ideas for Building Your Outdoor Cooking Station in Orange County, CA

Kitchens are definitely one of the hottest trends in outdoor living design, and the centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen is the cooking station. Whether you have a gourmet outdoor kitchen, a modest grill island, or you’re planning to build something in the future, we have some fiery ideas for outfitting your outdoor cooking station to improve the functionality of your space.

1. Lots and Lots of Prep Space 

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas Prep Space

Any home chef needs room to breathe if he or she is to succeed in making their culinary masterpieces. Regarding outdoor kitchens, this is no different. With an expansive prep space at hand, your kitchen is optimized for efficiency at any and all stages of cooking. You can never have too much countertop space, which will keep you from having to run back and forth inside during meal prep. Plus, countertops can also function as serving tables and bar-style dining areas once the meal is ready. If you’re working with a grill island, or you simply don’t have the square footage for more countertops, considering using a rolling cart that you can move when not in use.

2. A Spot for Every Cook in the Kitchen

Indoor Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

A summer pool party can easily bring in upwards of 25+ people. The guest list always seems to grow somehow. No matter how many guests show up, it helps to have multiple cooking surfaces in addition to the standard built-in outdoor grill. Plus, although charcoal enthusiasts will swear the flavor is superior (this blogger agrees), you simply don’t always have the time to wait for the coals to be “perfect” and sometimes just need to be able to turn on the gas and get to grilling. And if you talk to anyone who has a griddle or a brick oven in their outdoor kitchen, be prepared for a lengthy conversation on how they don’t know how they ever lived without it. Other popular cooking surfaces include ceramic kamodo-style grills and gas burners for large pots or frying.

3. Throw Some Shade

Outdoor Living Space Terrace

Unless you live somewhere where it rarely rains and the temperature is always mild (a.k.a. California), you’re going to need your cooking station to be covered. It gets HOT standing in front of a grill. And no one wants to hold an umbrella while flipping burgers. Keep in mind that shaded areas do not have to take away from the beauty of your patio entertainment area but can become a design element in itself. This can be accomplished with an earthy pergola, a farmhouse-inspired pavilion or a colorful canopy. For a more natural aesthetic, consider integrating some flowering vines, ivies or other climbing plants. To add a festive atmosphere, you can never go wrong with edison-style string lights.

4. Be that Person with the Outdoor Brick Oven 

Outdoor Brick Oven Ideas

Yes, we’ve already mentioned brick ovens, but they are so worth mentioning again. There are two prominent benefits of cooking in a wood-burning brick oven versus a traditional oven: the better dispersion of temperature and the additional level of flavor. And there are more options than you might think. Belgard offers a full line that range from mobile and countertop brick ovens to gorgeous stone-clad brick oven kits for a custom built-in look. Aside from the swagger that accompanies having one, a brick oven presents numerous cooking opportunities for amazing wood-fired meals. Even though an outdoor brick oven is often referred to as an outdoor pizza oven, it is not just for cooking pizza. Here are a few brick oven recipes to get the creative juices flowing!

5. Seating for Your Audience… (umm, guests)

Outdoor Seating
HGTV® Dream Home 2019. Photo credit: HGTV. Used with permission.

Preparing dishes in the kitchen is a visually stimulating affair. With you home chefs out there putting on shows, why not give your audience a front row seat? Bar seating or built-in seating near the cooking station creates a cozy atmosphere to enhance the outdoor cooking experience. An additional bonus to constructing permanent seating is that you won’t have to fuss at your kids for leaning too far back on the chairs. With no chair legs to break, rust or unravel, the only things you’ll need to change out each season are the throw pillows.

. . .

Win a Weston Grill Island Kit

 

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

Introducing: NEW Verona™ Porcelain Pavers, Now Available in Orange County, CA

Introducing: NEW Verona™ Porcelain Pavers, Now Available in Orange County, CA

Belgard is excited to announce that the new Verona™ collection of Porcelain Pavers is now available nationwide! The Verona line emulates a variety of natural stones to create distinctive contemporary outdoor living designs. Each available color was specifically fashioned to closely mimic the natural qualities of a different quarried stone, including intricate color striations and a polished stone texture.

Verona - Platinum Stone Porcelain Pavers
Verona - Taos Stone Porcelain Pavers
Verona - Yukon Stone Porcelain Pavers
Verona - Blue Stone Porcelain Pavers

Verona – Blue Stone

Verona Porcelain Pavers are available in 24″x24″ pieces to create stunning contemporary designs. These large-scale pavers rise above and beyond traditional paver products with a lighter weight, outstanding cleanability and durability, and an extremely high compressive strength. They offer an ultra-low water absorption rate, which creates a highly impenetrable surface. This allows the pavers to fend off surface mold, moss, dirt and other types of stains found in exterior environments (including oil and red wine). These maintenance-free pavers do not require any sealers and are unaffected by efflorescence or discoloration, making them perfect for use around water features and pools.

Another huge benefit with Belgard Porcelain Pavers is the product line’s installation versatility. Porcelain Pavers can be installed over a grass, gravel or concrete base, depending upon the application. For uneven surfaces and rooftop terraces, Porcelain Pavers can also be installed using a pedestal system, which also allows future access to utilities that run underneath. With the proper installation, Porcelain Pavers can even support vehicular loads, providing spectacular curb appeal for both residential and commercial use.

For more information, visit the Verona product page or click the image below to download the data sheet.

Verona Porcelain Pavers Natural Stone

 

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

Merging Indoor and Outdoor Spaces in Orange County CA

5 Tips for Merging Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

There was a time when a simple patio or deck was the height of backyard outdoor living. Today, we have transcended to a place where our outdoor spaces rival and often surpass the look and livability of our indoor spaces. The latest trend on this design journey is to merge our outdoor and indoor living spaces in a way that allows the backyard to be a true extension of the home. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish this.

1 – Use Complementary Architecture

When designing an outdoor living space, use materials and architectural touches that mirror the interior space. For example, if the interior includes arches, transoms or large beams, similar touches can be incorporated in the exterior spaces. You can also mirror architectural materials such as light fixtures, countertops and flooring in your exterior spaces. Just remember to buy the outdoor-rated versions for durability in the harsher environment.

outdoor and indoor living space complementary architecture
Belgard Porcelain Pavers and coordinating Porcelain Wall Veneers are a great tool for connecting outdoor spaces with interior spaces. The veneers can be used for both interior and exterior applications, and Porcelain Pavers mimic the look of interior flooring and often have coordinating indoor tile styles.

2 – Create Seamless Transitions

For climates that allow this as an option, collapsible doors provide the perfect opportunity to create a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor environment. This is not realistic in some climates due to excessive temperatures, mosquitoes and other factors. For these scenarios, the look can be accomplished with large windows, sliding doors or screened enclosures. It also helps to have the initial zone of the outdoor space at the same floor height so there’s not a step up or down when going in or out.

connecting outdoor and indoor living spaces
The HGTV® Dream Home 2019 created the perfect example of indoor/outdoor living with folding doors and windows on first floor room facing the backyard. (photo: HGTV, used with permission)

3 – Incorporate Cohesive Design Schemes

If you’re limited by architecture or climate and want to create a sense of flow to the outdoors, continue the same decorating motif used in the adjoining room. Use similar color schemes, furniture styles, rugs, lamps, vases and other accessories.

outdoor and indoor living space design
The use of wingback outdoor chairs and homey accessories makes this Mega-Bergerac® patio feel more like a continuation of the indoor environment.

4 – Make the Space More Functional

If you really want your outdoor space to be cohesive with your indoor space, it needs to be a place where people want to hang out. That means adding functional elements like a bar, outdoor kitchen or fire feature.

functional indoor and outdoor living space
This Tandem® Modular Grid outdoor kitchen is a fully functional cooking and entertainment space, complete with multiple cooking surfaces, full-sized sink, outdoor-rated appliances and built-in television. The half wall also serves to enclose the space to make it feel more connected with the home’s interior.

5 – Link Entertainment Zones

Adding a television is a no-brainer, which is easy enough to link with your home’s system. But you’ll also want to add WiFi extenders to improve internet connectivity. To really enhance the sense of flow from the indoors out, add audio speakers and connect them with your home’s entertainment system. That way, you can hear the same background sounds when walking from one space to the next.

connecting outdoor and indoor living spaces
This outdoor living room already feels like an interior space, thanks to the roof pitch and the Bordeaux Series™ outdoor fireplace. To make a space like this even more connected with the interior, place outdoor speakers at the four corners and connect them to the interior sound system. Be sure to include the ability to adjust volume by zone, either with a phone app or with manual volume knobs.
HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC.; Photos © 2018 Scripps Networks, LLC.; Used with permission; all rights reserved.

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

pool remodel anaheim hills, ca

How Water Creates a Splash in your Backyard

Water…it isn’t only the essence of life. For the home, water in the form of water features and backyard pool remodels let you know you’ve made it. Nothing elevates both the financial and personal value that a pool does for the home. It’s also one of the easiest ways to provide the right environment to create family fun and lasting memories (that and fire features).

 

pool remodel anaheim hills, ca

Pool remodel with artificial turf in Anaheim Hills, CA

 

Creating a brand new pool, or remodeling an existing one, has never been more obtainable in today’s economy. And no one does it better than California. In fact, southern California has a rich history of residential pool construction — originated during the home improvement and “residential innovation boom” of the 1950s. We’ve arguably perfected outdoor living when it comes to laying poolside in your backyard. Who could blame us!? No one wants to waste time inside when they can spend it outside in the California sun. So we extended our living to the outdoors.

 

Pool remodel in brea, ca

Pool remodel with water features in Brea, CA

 

Pool options have also never been so expansive. Between pool slides, artificial water falls, and rock boulders, water fun comes in all shapes and sizes today. Customizing your pool remodel can come in different scales, budgets, accessory options, and is only limited by the homeowners imagination. Heck, even the water used can be salt water or chlorine now.

 

3D software to create backyard remodels for our customers

Helping our customers with their backyard remodels using 3D software

 

Don’t get us wrong, pool remodels are a big project and is no small feat. That’s why the most important step is the planning phase. Think twice…hammer once.

 

Work with a professional who will take the time to explain everything, listen to your ideas, and even show you exactly what your pool will look like before construction even begins. And never settle for the first quote you get…mediocrity is not an option. There are simply too many contractors and options out there. Plus your hard-earned dollars shouldn’t be taken for granted.

We always recommend getting different quotes from at least 3 qualified contractors, in good-standing, and with great reviews, excellent customer feedback, fair pricing, and of course fully licensed, bonded, and certified for your area.

pool spa outdoor living yorba linda ca

Outdoor living poolside in Yorba Linda, CA

 

Just because something is a big project doesn’t mean it has to be overly complicated either. Shop around, do your homework, and visit different suppliers to pick out the right materials to match the look and feel of your home. Or you can visit our Orange County Design Center where we have everything under one roof. Happy swimming!

fire pit installation paver patio remodel yorba linda ca

How Fire Brightens Up Any Backyard Remodel

 

Fire is a primitive force intimately tied with human existence. It’s changed the course of history, allowing everything from baking to constructing tall buildings. And now, it’s used a lot for ambience in residential backyards.

 

Outdoor fire features installed in Yorba Linda, CA

Outdoor fire features installed in Yorba Linda, CA

 

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
-Frederick Douglass

 

Nothing makes a house feel like a home when it comes to a cozy fireplace, or sitting around the fire pit while roasting s’mores with good company. The light and heat bring people together to share in new memories. Because that’s really what fires do, they bring families together. It doesn’t just brighten up backyards in the literal sense, but in ways that bring joy to homeowners.

 

 

Just look at what fire does to this residential remodel in Yorba Linda, CA.

fire pit and fire features installed in yorba linda, ca

Fire pit and fire features installed in Yorba Linda, CA

Backyard Ideas: Plank Pavers are Becoming the Go-To Paver Choice in Orange County, CA

3D Design Plan Displaying Plank Pavers for this Stunning Home in Anaheim, CA

 

The go-to paver choice for many Orange County homes is definitely plank pavers. They’re an engaging option whether you’re the hostess-with-the-mostest, or simply want a backyard to sit back, relax and enjoy the sunny weather.

Plank pavers are just like the name suggests: pavers that are shaped like planks. They come in different sizes, textures, and colors − complimenting various types of backyards, front yards, and other home projects you may have in mind.

 

Plank paver systems are versatile to fit virtually any homeowner’s wish list including style preference, outdoor space functionality, or even budget size!

 

Local paver contractors can also attest to the unique durability plank pavers can offer, guaranteeing many years of use and enjoyment to come.

 

Here a just a few of our favorite plank pavers:

Belgard’s Agilina Silex Blend with its natural stone texture,

 

Rinn Padio 14 with its clean lines and smooth face,

 

and the Melville Plank with its contemporary look with classic appeal (as seen in the video within this article).

 

Honestly, every paver is unique like the homeowner we serve. There are so many great options for paver remodels, and we’re absolutely positive we can find the perfect match for you and your home. Contact us today for your free consultation.

2019 Trends in Outdoor Living for Orange County, CA

2019 Trends in Outdoor Living for Orange County, CA

The need to maintain real human connections in the digital age has greatly influenced the design elements of the outdoor living movement. A simple patio with weatherproof chairs and portable grill just won’t do the trick anymore. People want a comfortable spot to connect with family and friends that replicates, and in many cases exceeds, the comfort of their indoor gathering spots. With that in mind, here are some of the prevailing trends that can be expected to continue to gain popularity in the coming year.

Contemporary Outdoor Design

Contemporary Outdoor Design Trends 2019

Current outdoor living spaces are definitely following the interior design trend toward the clean lines of contemporary design. People normally associate modular-shaped pavers with contemporary design, but that isn’t necessarily true. The textures and colors used can also sway a look towards a more contemporary feel. Although modular-shaped pavers are expected to continue to rise in popularity, expect to see an increase in smoother textures in various styles of pavers. The contemporary trend also leans towards monochromatic color schemes with pops of color.

Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Outdoor Living Trends

Each year, the Pantone® Color Institute declares an official Color of the Year, which influences many of the design trends. The company recently announced “Living Coral” as the 2019 Color of the Year. This color can be incorporated into outdoor living design in a number of ways. Some pavers have hues of coral incorporated into the color blend. There are also many paver styles with complementary colors that can work well in conjunction with Living Coral. Living Coral can also be used as an accent color for pillows, umbrellas and decorative accessories.

Entanglement with Nature

Nature Elements Outdoor Living Trends

One of the hottest up-and-coming trends is to “entangle” hardscape installations with the surrounding landscape. This can be done in several ways. Pavers can be entangled with adjacent grass or gardens in a “fade away” effect. This effect is even more dramatic when used with plank-style pavers. Another, more formal application of this idea is to use porcelain pavers spaced out with strips of grass to create a checkerboard or stepping stone pattern.

Natural Textured Walls

Textured Walls Outdoor Living Space Trends

More and more homeowners are requesting retaining and free standing walls that have natural stone textures. Trending styles include walls that offer the look of tumbled stone or chiseled stone. Homeowners are also increasingly drawn to wall installation patterns with clean, contemporary lines.

Gray and “Greige” Tones

Gray Brick Pavers Outdoor Living Trends

From light gray to charcoal, gray tones continue to dominate current hardscape trends. However, an up-and-coming trend is starting to lean back toward warmer tones. This transitionary color phase is coined “greige”… a blending of grey and beige tones. Homeowners across the country are currently looking for these muted gray/tan color blends in hardscapes for their ability to work well with both warm and cool design palettes.

Blurring Transitions from Inside to Outside

Outdoor Living Space Design Trends

One of the biggest trends in new home and remodeling is the blurring of the line between the indoor and outdoor. This involves much more than windows and patio doors. Fully folding walls and screens are being installed that allow spaces such as a family room to open and create a seamless transition into the outdoor space. Or, a standard kitchen can become an outdoor one in warmer months with the flip of a switch.

Linear and Large Format Pavers

Linear Pavers Outdoor Living Trends

The trend toward larger and more linear pavers continues to grow at a rapid pace. Not only are consumers looking for clean, modular textures, they are leaning toward plank-style pavers, and very large format slab pavers.

Formal Water Features

Outdoor Living Space Water Features

People love the soothing sound of running water, and the trend of incorporating formal water features into outdoor designs is growing at an exponential rate. With our busy lifestyles, however, consumers also want a water feature that is simple to take care of — adding beauty, ambiance and value to the outdoor living space without additional maintenance time and cost.

Outdoor Lighting Trends

Outdoor Lighting

The vast majority of time spent in most outdoor spaces is in the evening and on weekends. Because of this, outdoor living trends are moving towards well-designed built-in lighting systems. With today’s LED technology and smart phone apps, installing an automated lighting system has never been easier. However, this type of system is not very easy to retrofit after-the-fact and is more common in new construction. For existing outdoor living spaces, expect to see a continued increase in landscape lighting and durable string light options, like commercial grade Edison-style LED string lights.

 

This post was originally written and published on Belgard.com

Artificial turf is always lush in Orange County, CA

7 Reasons To Install Artificial Turf For Your Backyard in Orange County, CA

Artificial turf….synthetic grass…or even fake grass. Whatever you call it, this landscaping trend is making quite the name for itself in sunny Orange County, CA. There are so many advantages to using artificial turf/synthetic grass for your backyard space. Here are 7 reasons you should consider this option over real grass:

Save money on artificial turf installation in Orange County CA

1. It Saves You Money

From saving money on water to other excess landscape care, artificial turf gives you an option for your lawn that saves you significant money for many years to come. No more water bills or need to hire a gardener. Once the artificial grass is installed, just sit back and enjoy the view.

 

Go green with artificial turf installation in Orange County CA

2. It’s Green!

There’s nothing like saving a little green by “going green.” This is perhaps the easiest way to go green with your home without breaking the bank or compromising on anesthetics. Your neighbors won’t even know your grass is fake, but you’ll rest easy knowing your doing your part to save our limited California resources.

 

Artificial turf is allergen free in Orange County CA

3. It’s Allergen-Free

No need to worry about runny noses, itchy eyes, stuffiness and sneezing. Synthetic grass doesn’t carry the common allergens found in real grass. Don’t sacrifice outdoor quality time with the family just because the allergy season is in full bloom. Your family is safe with artificial turf.

 

Artificial turf installation in Orange County, CA

4. It Saves You Time

Get rid of that lawn mower taking up space in the garage. Artificial grass doesn’t require trimming, mowing, or fertilizing of any kind. You can also say goodbye to those pesky weeds too. Use your precious time enjoying the weekend with loved ones rather than maintaining your yard alone.

 

Artificial turf is family friendly in Orange County, CA

5. It’s Family-Friendly

Not only is synthetic grass drought-friendly, but it’s family-friendly as well. It looks incredibly realistic so that your entire family can run, jump, play, and lounge around the yard without a worry. It’s made entirely with families in mind.

 

Multipurpose artificial turf for Orange County, CA

6. It’s Multi-Purpose

Artificial turf has many purposes from residential spaces, to putting greens and even soccer fields. It’s made tough with durability to last. Installation is incredibly easy too − use a trusted certified artificial turf installer in Orange County!

 

Artificial turf is always lush in Orange County, CA

7. It’s Lush All Year Long

With synthetic grass your lawn stays green all year long. Patchy areas, browning and uneven grass is a thing of the past. Give your house some curb appeal and fill your neighbors with lawn envy.

Lake Forest Orange County Hardscape and Landscape 2D Plan

Backyard Ideas Tip #3: Get a Landscape/Hardscape Construction Blueprint

So you’ve finally decided to get around to that home project you’ve been dreaming of. Great!

You research around and find the best reviewed masonry contractor and landscaper in the area. The contractor takes measurements at your home and discusses your project with you. Everything is coming together and sounds amazing.

Just then comes a surprise most homeowners are not aware of…a hardscape/landscape construction blueprint is needed.

2D Hardscape/Landscape Construction Blueprint for Pavers Remodel & Artificial Turf Placement in Lake Forest, CA

The above example illustrates a proper construction blueprint, which is comprised of exact measurements, materials used and where, accurate labeling, proper scaling, installation specifications, and even identifiers such as company name and homeowner contact info (which has been censored here for privacy)

Most homeowners also don’t realize that almost all masonry contractors aren’t able to create this necessary blueprint to guide them through the construction process. They usually refer you to a designer and bill you separately − an unexpected cost to say the least.

Creating a construction blueprint requires a very particular skillset that combines art design with developmental science. Most designers go to trade schools to become proficient in this area.

Even more important, this blueprint ensures there’s no surprises for not only the contractor, but the homeowner as well. Namely, it provides very specific expectations so as to eliminate any possible surprises that may arise during construction. Because as we all know, any surprise during outdoor space renovations means more money out of the homeowner’s pockets.

So make sure your contractor uses a construction blueprint and sticks to it exactly. This will save you from a lot of unnecessary headaches, and save you money and time as well.

Backyard Ideas Tip #2: Outdoor Lighting