At this year’s GIE+EXPO, Belgard introduced six complete Collections by Belgard, which feature paver and wall products for outdoor living spaces, walkways, parking areas, retaining walls and driveways.
The company says Collections offers outdoor designers and contractors a way to reimagine an outdoor space by combining complementary product offerings that pair with a home’s style or design aesthetic.
“Our big promotion this year is really all about Collections,” says Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes with Belgard. “What we’ve done is put all of our products into six core collections: Legacy, Environmental, Metropolitan, Heritage, Porcelain and Natural.”
Raboine says the Collections concept was rolled out regionally this year in three of the company’s stores, but it will be introduced nationwide moving into 2020.
“Really with everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to make the process of buying outdoor living spaces better, which means involving your contractor, dealer and ourselves and saying how can we streamline this across the board and simplify it?” says Raboine. “It’s not always about the products; it’s about the process, too.”
Overall, the booth’s theme for this year focused on biophilic design. The theme of more biophilic designs and entangling hardscapes with surrounding nature is a trend Raboine says they’ve picked up on a lot recently. Instead of having this hard delineation between hardscape and softscape, Raboine says they have worked to merge where the two elements meet to truly encapsulate the idea of biophilic concepts.
“We want to make our homes and our hardscape spaces feel like they’re part of the natural environment, not separate entities, which is really a different way of thinking about outdoor design,” says Raboine. “Where we live, work and play are really not disconnected.”
Raboine says this idea is really being driven by millennials, as they want to be able to entertain in their outdoor spaces, make it part of their everyday life, positively impact the environment and make the area sustainable. In the past, areas like these were seen as more of a luxury, but Raboine agrees that now they are starting to seem more like necessities to customers.
The Natural collection, Belgard says, embraces the casual spirit of life without borders through the organic warmth of natural paver stone textures.
“Based on the feedback, this is the collection people comment on the most,” says Raboine. “It has a nice, relaxed feeling about it. It’s part of the biophilic design with the random edge style; there are almost no cuts. Not only is that a style that seems to resonate now with people as far as a trend goes, but from a contractor perspective, it really reduces cutting. And with the new silica law that was passed a couple of years ago, it’s kind of a win-win for everyone.”
Because the design is so casual, Belgard says it is perfect for combining old and new or for creating hardscaped spaces that can blend seamlessly with natural surroundings.
According to Raboine, the Metropolitan collection seems to be most popular in the West, coming in at about 75 percent of their products sales, and in the East, Raboine says product sales comes in at around 25 percent but interest is growing exponentially. Raboine says the main benefit of this collection is the fact that there are absolutely no cuts necessary due to the clean, modular design.
Belgard adds that the contemporary, streamlined aesthetic emphasizes neutral tones and natural light to embody modern flair.
Where traditional style meets modern convenience, the Heritage collection, Raboine says, is still one of the most popular options in the Eastern market. Antiqued and tumbled to ensure every paver piece is unique, Belgard says this collection adds both warmth and charm to neutral palettes.
Raboine adds that this collection is one that he doesn’t see phasing out of popularity for a very long time because it is a very natural and organic-feeling style.
Described as ultra-modern, Belgard says the Porcelain collection pairs superior paver performance with upscale looks. This collection showcased an outdoor shower, which Raboine says, along with other outdoor living spaces, continues to grow as a trend.
Belgard says the Porcelain collection is virtually non-porous and stain-resistant, and it provides a modern aesthetic that’s best complemented by pale neutrals, blacks and whites.
Raboine says that since they have noticed quite a hunger among customers for the biophilic designs, the Environmental collection could be the one that fits that desire perfectly.
In this design, Raboine says permeable pavers will have a chance to shine, and he notes that permeable pavers are also a trend he believes is making a rise, along with organic, vertical and pollinator gardening.
The company says this collection will beautify a home and the planet with outdoor hardscaped spaces that prevent rainwater from pooling and filter the water to reduce pollution. With classic lines and multiple finish styles, the company says this collection will compliment both modern and traditional architecture.
The final collection was Legacy, which Belgard says is perfect for those trying to evoke old-world charm, as it features soft edges and ground or split-face textures that create a time-honored stone look.