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With triple-digit heat indexes spanning the lower half of the country, many people are now scurrying indoors to avoid the heat, forced to enjoy their beautiful outdoor living spaces from the comfort of the kitchen window. However, there are a number of design tips and tricks that can alleviate some of the heat and allow you to get more use from your outdoor living spaces during those dog days of summer.
Advantages of Pergolas
A pergola can provide multiple design benefits for an outdoor living space. The open-air aspect allows for unrestricted air movement while still defining the space to visually create the look of an “outdoor room”. Additionally, the structure itself both filters the direct sunlight and can provide the framework for a outdoor-rated ceiling fan. To provide additional shade and add to the visual interest, flowering vines — such as Wisteria or Morning Glory — can be trained to grow atop the pergola.
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Outdoor Living Structures
The benefit of a roofed structure, as opposed to an open-air pergola, is that it provides a little more protection from the elements, including both sun and rain. Although late afternoon sun and driving rain will still creep in, you’ll still have increased shelter, as well as additional opportunities for fans, lighting, audio/visual equipment and appliances.
Made in the Shade
There are a variety of affordable products available that can help increase the amount of shade in your outdoor living space, particular during that unbearably hot time of the day when the sunlight comes in at just the right angle to make you feel like you can fry an egg right on the patio flooring. Attractive options include indoor/outdoor curtains, retractable solar shades, and colorful sun canopies.
Permeable Paver Water Features
Particularly in hot climates with lower humidity, water mist can significantly reduce the ambient temperature of a localized outdoor area. An alternate option to a traditional water-misting system is to install a water-recycling permeable pavement system that incorporates a water feature. The paver system can collect and recycle rainwater and provide a fun activity for kids, all while releasing mist into the air that will help alleviate some of the oppressive heat.
Article by Belgard Hardscapes
The primary benefit of installing a hardscape patio is the lasting beauty. But because you know it’s going to be there for a very long time, it’s important that you put a good bit of thought into the design. You want to make sure that the space will reflect your personality, as well as suit your functional needs. Below are some inspirational ideas for fabulous hardscape patios using Belgard pavers and wall products to reflect a wide variety of personal styles.
Enhancing Your Hardscapes with Elegant Perennials
Urbana® Stone Pavers
Nothing says “beautiful” like a colorful perennial garden. Webster refers to perennials as “being happy again and again”. The word perennial describes a plant that generally lives for two years or more while annual describes a plant that may have a one-year or single season life span. When choosing perennials, you are actually creating a look in your garden space that you can cultivate year after year without the continuous pocket drain and effort.
When looking for pops of color, many people opt for annuals, but there are so many ways to create a colorful garden from perennials. One of the perennial favorites many of us know and love is the rose. The rose is one of oldest flowers in cultivation with hundreds of different varieties. When choosing a type of rose, you might gravitate to the more fragrant varieties. As the weather warms up, you will likely be spending more and more time outside in your backyard. Now that you have created or are in the process of creating your dream backyard, why not surround yourself with the fragrant smell of roses that comes back year after year?
Select a sight that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day with good drainage. Roses succumb to root rot easily. They grow in all types of soil, however they do appreciate a plethora of compost or manure mixed in. When planting roses, never let the roots dry out completely, make sure to soak the entire plant overnight before planting. The canes should be about two inches below the ground in a warmer climate zone and at least four inches in a colder zone to protect from freezing. Mounding up the soil at least six inches around the root of the plant. Using mulch will help to protect your roses from both bug infestations and disease.
Catalina™ Stone Pavers
Companion plants such as marigolds, mint, and geraniums are great because they help to keep a wide variety of pests away, as well. Be careful with the mint though; it can be invasive.
edible for humans, as well as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The Allium family is also a helpful mole control.
Other Plants in the Allium family such as garlic, shallot, and chives are a nice addition to any rose garden. It has been said that Alliums help to enhance the roses’ perfume quality. That alone is a reason to choose them. The flowers tend to be spherical and can produce pink, purple, white, and yellow flowers that are sure to add that extra pop to any garden. In addition, many are possibilities you might consider when planting and creating a rose garden will depend upon your goals. Plants like larkspur, lantana, and lavender will help to attract butterflies, add a multitude of color, and help to fill in the areas surrounding the roses. There are also many long blooming flowers that serve well as cutting flowers, ferns, ornamental grasses, and of course the classic boxwood.
One thing to remember is to choose flowers and plants that have similar soil and water conditions as roses. Roses love water, but need to have well-drained soil. You can groom and shape your roses to take on any look, or you can let them grow with wild abandon. If you treat them right, they will be back again next year to make you happy “again and again.”
Dimensional multi-level design is one of the hottest trends in modern poolscapes. Belgard segmental retaining wall products make an outstanding medium for dimensional poolscape design. Here are some inspirational ideas of how segmental retaining walls can be used to enhance a poolscape:
Trends in Modern Poolscapes
To create a modern poolscape, not only must you think about the design of the pool itself, but the surrounding environment as a whole. Modern pool designs incorporate a cohesive look that flows through the entire back yard—from the back door to the outdoor kitchen, garden retaining wall, outdoor fireplace, pool and the surrounding patio.
Celtik® Wall and Dublin Cobble® pull this multi-level poolscape together into one cohesive design. The Dublin Cobble extends from the pool deck into the outdoor kitchen and outdoor living room. Celtik Wall is used for the pool coping, steps and surrounding retaining walls.
“Countless pool designers and contractors prefer our paver products for pool decking because of the versatility and ability to create an entire environment that all works together as one unified and gorgeous design,” says Ken O’Neill, Executive Vice President of Belgard.
The options for creating a cohesive pool design scheme are endless. Gone are the days of the standard blue rectangle with a wrap-around concrete deck. “I grew up in the pool business, and concrete decking was always a necessary evil. But, the durability and look of pavers has revolutionized how we do business,” said Danton Townsend, designer with Leisure Pools in New Braunfels, Texas. “Almost 100 percent of our pools now use paver decking. Customers love the look, the warranty and the maintenance-free aspect.”
In addition, the versatility of Belgard products enables multi-dimensional designs that are as unique as the individual owner. “Belgard’s products allow us to build a pool with a lot of different elevations with walls, steps, raised decks and multi-level seating areas,” said Townsend.
The same products used to create the pool decking and coping can also be used in the surrounding poolscape design to create that cohesive look. “A multi-step water feature can be built right from the decking into the pool, a fire box can be added at the edge of the water feature, and the same products can be used to build a retaining or garden wall,” added Curt Mansfield, hardscape designer with Stone Deck in Austin, Texas, who has often worked with Townsend on hardscape installations for his pool designs.
To continue the cohesive design to the rest of the outdoor living area, the same hardscape products used in the poolscape can also be used to build an outdoor kitchen, a custom fireplace, seat walls, patios, walkways, column wraps, and more. The end result is an elegant resort-like environment that is an extension of the homeowner’s personal sense of style, whether a classic tailored look or a backyard oasis.
This poolscape uses a variation in paver style to help define separate rooms. Mega-Bergerac® defines the pool deck, and Mega-Arbel® defines the outdoor living room, but is also used as accents throughout the design to tie everything together. Weston Stone® is also a cohesive design element with its use for the column wraps, outdoor kitchen and surrounding garden walls.
“Many people today are trending towards a very natural look,” said Mansfield. “Belgard offers a number of products that look so natural, you get the look and feel of a lagoon that was chiseled out of European stone, but with the benefit of a manufactured product that has a lifetime warranty. Natural stones can get brittle or crack and just don’t hold up to a salt water system.”
Although creating a cohesive outdoor living environment and poolscape from scratch is a simpler process, there are also a number of techniques that can be used to keep a pool renovation or addition from looking like an afterthought to an existing design.
“Once the poolscape is designed, you can easily work the new hardscapes into the pre-existing living areas in the form of seat walls, planter boxes, trim, and various embellishments,” says O’Neill. “We also offer a number of products that can install over an existing concrete deck, like Lafitt™ Rustic Slab, Lafitt™ Grana Slab or Mirage® Porcelain Pavers.”
Instead of a traditional wooden porch, this design uses Mega-Arbel® to create a raised paver porch, which is tied into the look of the pool by edging it with Bullnose Coping to mirror the pool edging. To expand the design, Weston Stone®, used to build the outdoor kitchen could be used as another design element elsewhere in the poolscape, for example a fire pit or seatwall.
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Click the video image below to watch a dramatic poolscape makeover using Lafitt Rustic Slab.
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We Do Driveway Remodels!
When it comes to remodeling your "welcome mat," nobody does it better than West Hills Masonry. As anyone knows, concrete driveways stain easily, crack over time, and have no easy fix available. Pavers, however, provide an aesthetically pleasing, incredibly durable, and easily fixable option if damaged. They can also withstand the elements from major rainfall to those hot, dry seasons. Pavers and concrete come in many different colors, shapes, and styles to fit any home-style. When you're ready to have your driveway greet you upon arrival, let us know how we can help.
We Do Backyard Remodels!
Your backyard is your get-away, and is truly an extension of your home. Outdoor living is practically synonymous with the Orange County lifestyle. Whether you want a complete outdoor oasis, to play hosts for neighborhood parties, have a quiet gardening spot, roast marshmallows around the fire pit, or simply have a better looking backyard when you're enjoying your morning coffee or tea, West Hills Masonry can transform any backyard area. We can take care of every dimension of your "outdoor room:" patio remodeling, fire pits, retaining walls, outdoor fireplaces, pool deck remodeling, BBQ installations, custom outdoor kitchens, and even coverings.
We Do BBQ Installations & Outdoor Kitchens!
You're the grill master, the host with the most, the "lean, mean, grilling machine." When you want a BBQ installation to meet your grilling needs, or perhaps an outdoor kitchen remodel to dish up both hot meals and cold drinks, West Hills Masonry can take care of that for you. Every backyard is unique, much like their homeowners, and we want to create an outdoor food prep and dining area that caters to all of your friends, neighbors and family. Some of the fondest memories are created while eating around the table, and we want to make it the best experience possible for many years to come.
We Do Artificial Grass Installation!
Many Orange County residents are unaware that installing artificial grass is virtually the same process as installing pavers. Therefore, since pavers is what we do best, that means artificial grass is what we do best too! With recent water restrictions, homeowners are no longer forced to settle for brown lawns. Pavers and artificial grass are a pairing that makes any home look renewed, and requires no water maintenance at all. This is a great way to do your part for the community while maintaining a great looking yard and home you can truly be proud of. It's a win for you, California, and especially your wallet.
We Do Pool Remodels!
You have a pool because you want to relax and/or play in your very own water paradise. After all, you work hard...you splash hard too. Be that as it may, over time your pool may have started to look outdated, or even damaged throughout the years. It may not even hold water efficiently like it's supposed to. A paver remodel for your pool creates a safer surface to prevent slipping, coupled with an attractive look that never goes out-of-style! Let us help give your pool the facelift it deserves. We can ensure that you're not wasting water so that you can get back to enjoying life. You can be sure we'll remodel a great pool you can be proud to call your own.
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From driveway remodels to stone veneer walls, West Hills Masonry has you covered. But don't just take our word for it when a picture says it all! Check out our masonry gallery for inspiration, ideas, and proof of how we can make your home project truly yours. We've been helping homeowners for 25 years all over Orange County and Los Angeles County.
What is Hardscape?
Hardscape is the non-living elements of a landscape. You could think of it as everything but the plants, encompassing walkways, patios, gazebos, and...
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Backyard Makeover 101
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How Brick is Sustainable
Most brick manufacturers have incorporated recycled materials into their brick production in one form or another for years...
West Hills Masonry 1390 N. Hundley St. Anaheim, CA 92806 Tel: (714) 519-5009
Orange County, CA
License # 920870
Driveways, Front Yard Remodels, Backyard Remodels, Block Walls, Outdoor Living, Patios, Walkways, Barbecues, Water Features, Fireplaces/ Fire Pits, Pool Remodels, Artificial Grass
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