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Hardscape Trends
Making Social Media Work For Your Business

by Joe Raboine, Belgard


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This residential project was designed and rendered through Belgard Design Studio, a 3-D redering service. More and more homeowners are expecting designs of the caliber they see on social media networks; using a 3D rendering can help landscape architects step up their game to meet expectations.


In today's fast paced world, technology has altered the way people do business. Consumers are more than ever looking to the Internet for inspiration and expecting landscape architects to produce designs like those they see online. Hardscape manufacturers are responding with products and services to meet this new demand.

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Hardscapes and outdoor living spaces have been trending towards clean, straight lines. The 'Aria' paver here has been bordered with a charcoal colored 'Old York' paver. The linear fire feature and square planters also emphasize the clean edges.


Emerging Trends
In recent years there has been a trend toward clean lines, and more contemporary looking spaces, even in traditional style homes and neighborhoods. This trend is being carried over to outdoor spaces from sleeker looking kitchens, bath, tile, and lighting. The industry is responding with plank style pavers, porcelain pavers, and cleaner textures with micro-chamfers. While traditional styles are still the top sellers, the trajectory is leaning toward these newer materials.

In addition to seeing this trend in pavement, it has also been translated to walls and vertical applications. Outdoor fireplaces are increasingly featuring horizontal linear burners, kitchens and brick ovens are sleeker with lighter colored tops, and integrated lighting is often hidden and discreet... all trends that are visible on the interior of homes.

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Outdoor living spaces are often considered an extension of the home, with a trend in warmer climates for smaller homes with larger outdoor spaces. Using a 3D rendering can create an immediate emotional connection between the client and the outdoor living area. This rendering shows a 'Bordeaux' fireplace as the focal point of a larger outdoor living space.


Social Media
Social media has dramatically changed the landscape and outdoor living business. Consumers are more educated and connected than ever, and typically have a whole host of ideas saved from sites like Pinterest, Houzz, or Facebook. In addition to creating interest and awareness, it can make the designer's job easier in knowing what types of features and styles their clients are interested in. There can occasionally be an adverse effect, however, once these concepts begin to be priced out. Overall, social media is positive for the industry, and has been part of the driving force behind the tremendous growth in outdoor living over the past decade.

There is a great opportunity for landscape architects and designers to build awareness through social media. Former (and future) clients can see projects from start to completion. Posts are made even more powerful through the incorporation of video, especially those taken from drones. While it takes a little bit of extra work, posting on a consistent basis can generate a lot of interest with minimal cost.

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Landscape architects can leverage social media to their advantage and generate leads by posting designs, renderings, and completed project photos to their company pages. The 'Lafitt Grana' slab was used as the main paver in this rendering, with porcelain pavers, another up and coming trend, placed as accents.


Making it Work for Your Business
Consumers are becoming more open to new ideas, so don't hesitate to offer features and materials that would not have been considered before. The idea of an outdoor living space truly being an extension of the home is more accepted than ever. Oftentimes, once clients see something amazing, if they have the budget, they will decide to move forward.

One of the most effective ways to convey these new ideas is to present a photorealistic 3D rendering. This should include still images, video, and even virtual reality. Once a client sees a new space within their current environment, their fears and concerns are gone . . . their next question is typically how long it will be until they can get it done. With Belgard Design Studio, a design and rendering service offered by the hardscape manufacturer, professionals are seeing closure rates around 85%, and realizing higher margins. Their clients are much happier... creating a much better overall experience.



As seen in LASN magazine, October 2017, Hardscapes.






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November 19, 2017, 7:53 am PST

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