Home is Where the Hearth Is

The outdoor living room has been one of the fastest growing trends in outdoor design over the last few years. When considering the popularity of this trend, the question arises: What’s the difference between a patio and an outdoor living room? The answer is simple: Livability.

An outdoor living room is more than just a grouping of chairs with a coffee table. It’s a cozy and inviting space that evokes a sense of relaxation, a space where people want to spend time both alone and enjoying the company of others. To achieve this effect, it’s important to apply interior design techniques to creating your outdoor space.

With that in mind, what tends to be the centerpiece of most interior living rooms? The answer, of course, is a fireplace. The reason for this is multifaceted. Historically, a fireplace would be added to the living room to heat the home. But as this need diminished in necessity over the years, the popularity of an interior fireplace did not. That is because the warmth that exudes from a fireplace is not only physical in nature, but emotional, as well. Spending time in front of a fire with a loved one often creates a deeper connection with that person on an instinctual or primal level. Fire, good.

That’s why one of the easiest ways to create an emotional sense of warmth in an outdoor living room is to add a fire feature, which has the added benefit of physical warmth during the colder months, allowing you to use your outdoor living room year round. Another benefit to fire features — like fireplaces, fire pits and fire tables — is that they appeal to people of all ages. When multiple generations gather around a fire pit, the generation gap disappears, and they can all relate to one another on a purely human level. It’s no wonder that fire pits have been on the top of the “must haves” list in outdoor design for the last several years.

When adding a fire feature to an outdoor living room, be sure to leave ample space for seating and traffic because it will instantly become everyone’s favorite gathering spot. If it’s a wood-burning fire feature, it will also need to be an adequate distance from any structures, as a safety precaution. In fact, some municipalities and HOA’s have specific regulations about this, so be sure and do your homework.

To complete your outdoor living room, add other interior design touches — such as tables, accent lighting, pillows, throws and other accessories. But be warned, once you create an inviting outdoor living room, get ready for company!

Source: Belgard

The Best of 2017: Residential Hardscape Design Winners

At the 2017 Hardscape North America tradeshow held in Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. and Canada hardscape industry judged residential and commercial hardscape designs from across North America for the 2017 HNA Awards. These awards are the industry’s top honors for contractors designing and installing projects using concrete pavers, segmental retaining walls, clay brick, porcelain, and combinations of these hardscapes. Belgard was pleased to have products showcased in 12 of the honored designs, placing in 10 of the 16 categories. Homeowners planning an outdoor living makeover in 2018 can pull inspiration from the award-winning and innovative designs from these residential categories.

View Projects

Source:  Belgard

Pavers: Maintenance & Care

Weather every storm.

Mother Nature can be cruel. Luckily, by choosing Belgard for your hardscape projects, you’ve already taken measures to increase resistance against weathering and corrosion. Still, seasonal hardscape paver maintenance is encouraged to preserve the beauty and integrity of your installation. Below you’ll find some Belgard tips on how to clean and protect patio pavers.


  1. Clean your pavers each Spring with a coarse-bristle “stable” broom and a paver cleaner to keep them looking like new.
  2. Some weeds, if left unaddressed, can shift pavers apart over time. Be sure to periodically apply a granular weed preventative between joints as a part of your paver maintenance routine.
  3. Be careful when cleaning your Belgard pavers with power washers as they can expose the aggregate on the paver’s surface.


  1. Before applying any paver cleaning solution to your hardscape, test a small inconspicuous area first to be sure you get the desired results.
  2. Be sure to read and follow the directions printed on container labels for cleaning solution use, application, precautions and first aid. Always rinse the solution off thoroughly after use.
  3. In the event of an oil spill, act to remove it promptly with granular oil absorbent. Spills should be soaked up, not rubbed. Rubbing will drive the stain deeper into the concrete.


  1. De-icing substances, when used in proper amounts, will not damage good-quality concrete. However, they may accelerate surface wear on some paver styles. Use them in moderation.
  2. The joints between paving stones are the most vulnerable areas of any installation. Keep these joints topped off with jointing sand to prevent the sand-bedding layer below from deteriorating, causing the pavers to shift.


  1. Sealers can be applied to pavers to protect their surface and maintain their color. Sealers should not be applied more than once in three years, to a maximum of two applications. Too many applications will create a film on the surface, which may discolor in sunlight.
  2. Annual washing using a paver cleaner is also important for paver color maintenance and to keep the pavers looking like new.


  1. Wash pavers using a concrete paver cleaner.
  2. Allow pavers to dry.
  3. Seal pavers using a paver sealer.

Source:  Belgard

43rd Annual Central Nebraska Home & Builders Show

Founded in 1975, the Central Nebraska Home & Builders Show is held annually in Grand Island, Nebraska. Visitors to the show can see the latest products and services displayed by exhibitors to assist them in building and improving their home and yard. The Central Nebraska Home & Builders Show has thousands of ideas to help make your house a home!

Pinnacle Bank Expo Building at Fonner Park
Grand Island, NE

  • Friday, January 19, 2018 from 4pm – 8pm
  • Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 10am – 6pm
  • Sunday, January 21, 2018 from 12pm – 5pm