Sint-Martens-Latem is a residential district at the edge of the Belgian city of Gent where privacy, calm and quality of life are highly valued. There you can look out across the Leie River or the golf course from the handsome residential properties in the area.

Project details

Project Private house in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
Garden architect Bert Van Wehaege
Garden building Philippe Dejonghe
Pavers used Authentica Retro Havanna, WF
Available formats WF (201 x 48 x 88 mm)
Paved area Approx. 300 m²

Private house and pool in Sint-Martens-Latem , Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem , Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem , Belgium

Privat garden in Sint-Martens-Latem , Belgium

A place of prominence

In earlier times, the village was a favourite residence of numerous artists of the Latemse School. Famous artists such as Gustave Van de Woestyne, Valerius De Saedeleer, Albijn Van den Abeele, Constant Permeke and George Minne found inspiration along the banks of the Leie. The natural beauty of the village always ensured it has been considered a place of prominence. Designer Philippe Dejonghe was recently commissioned to plan and create a garden at this beautiful location.

An adventurous journey

After their studies, many young people like to travel the world before they finally settle down. For Philippe Dejonghe, from the West Flemish town of Beveren-Leie, this adventurous phase lasted eight years. With a university degree in athletics, he often found himself mingling with foreign cultures and nationalities while working first as a sports and ski instructor, and then as a PR and entertainment director at several international hotel chains. At the age of 30, he then decided on a career change and returned to his homeland.

Following the call of nature

Philippe Dejonghe inherited a confident sense of shape, space and proportions from his architect father, and had always expressed an enthusiasm for nature. These became the two motivating factors for his choice of landscape design and garden planning as a career. After the necessary training and internships he made the switch, first into garden care, followed by employment as horticultural entrepreneur and designer. Today, six years on, he manages a team of five employees and oversees entire projects, including masonry requirements, path reinforcement, electricity and the installation of automatic gates. In designing his gardens, he always works alongside colleague and friend, chief architect, Bert Van Wehaege.

Hands-on starting with the shell construction

Their appointment to the project in the artistic village of Sint-Martens-Latem posed a number of challenges for this new small business, having been charged with designing the grounds for a very large house on 4,000 m² of land that once had been a sunken meadow and a forest. A great deal of initial clearing was therefore required and, to sufficiently elevate the level of the ground, 200 truckloads of dirt had to be delivered. It is always advantageous to involve the garden architect at an early stage of the construction work and in this case their involvement was right from the start.

The contractors had only just started the shell construction of the house, and it was rather difficult to properly determine its proportions with only the building plans as a reference. Add to this the presence of plant equipment, delivery vehicles and workers on site, it became increasingly difficult to lay out the garden. Nevertheless, Philippe and his dedicated team of three were able to complete the garden in four months to everyone‘s satisfaction.

Carte balnche for the designer

The deisgn of the house emulated a traditional parsonage, with a classic flavour and a number of rural-style elements. The residence extends over the entire length of the site and includes the main house, neighbouring and isolated buildings, the parking area, terraces, a swimming pool and a pool house. Philippe Dejonghe said: “We were given carte blanche for this garden project, and the developer gave us unlimited freedom to design, of course with the proviso that we take into account the building style of the residence. Our initial task was to develop a plan that harmonised all the elements of the house in a consistent and logical manner. The extensive terraces with neighbouring garden rooms provided the ideal unifying element. We decided on a combination of blue granite and large 60 x 60 cm floor tiles and Terca paving bricks, Authentica Retro Havanna, by Wienerberger. The paving bricks harmonise perfectly with the roofs and contrast very attractively with the blue granite. Personally, I like to use a lot of paving bricks. They offer a robust surface, are extremely durable and therefore suitable as driveways, plus they require little maintenance. In addition, the range of colours is very large which allows for creative and original patterns. The 300 m² of pavers that we used in this instance were laid in a half bond pattern. At certain places, we used the ‘changeover shape’ for the pavers running from the edge to the middle. In addition, we used paving bricks in a double stretcher bond to form borders, as a transition to Vittel gravel or as edging for the lawn.”

A fully grwin garden from the beginning

Bert Van Wehaege adds: “In our plan, we decided to use distinct lines of vision to connect the garden rooms, terraces and buildings. Since the developers wanted a garden that was almost fully developed, we chose to plant large trees, perennials and shrubs in many places and favoured plants that retain their leaves in winter and remain green. The garden therefore retains its structure over the entire year. The plants primarily consisted of groups of Portuguese cherry laurels, rhododendrons, boxwood and yew trees as well as holm oaks as a visual barrier. In addition, we did not want to impair the view from the driveway entrance to the house, so we located the private parking area behind the house.” Paving bricks are one of Philippe Dejonghes’ favourite materials. He uses them frequently even in small garden designs and where the projects are very simple. He makes it a priority to leave room for incorporating changes to the design that the client may demand in the future, and says they give him the freedom to make those amendments at a later date.

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