Belgian bluestone works like a charm in this Dutch villa’s ingenious garden design

Belgian bluestone works like a charm in this Dutch villa’s ingenious garden design

Looking to give their private garden a complete make-over, a Dutch family living in Barendrecht called upon Ars Virens to draw up a tasteful and inventive design including both a patio and a garden path in Belgian bluestone.
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The project in a nutshell

  • Private garden with patio in Barendrecht (South Holland, The Netherlands)
  • Completed in the spring of 2020
  • Designed by Ars Virens, specialised in outdoor spaces (Oud-Beijerland, The Netherlands)
  • Belgian bluestone from Carrières du Hainaut: 32 m2 of blue flamed tiles for the patio and 44 m2 of split paving for the garden path
  • Supplied by natural stone company Van den Ban (Oosterhout, The Netherlands)
  • Realised by landscaping company Den Uijl

Searching for peace and quiet

Looking to give their private garden a complete make-over, a Dutch family living in Barendrecht called upon Ars Virens to draw up a tasteful and inventive design including both a patio and a garden path in Belgian bluestone.

The starting point for the design? The existing garden did not provide the cosy atmosphere and privacy the family wanted. Marco van Wetten (Ars Virens): “While very functional, the garden did not feel secluded enough. Due to its open plan, it failed to offer the outdoor experience the owners wanted, lacking nooks where they could truly enjoy the peace and quiet of the area.”

Moreover, the garden did not match the style of the family’s stately and beautifully renovated villa – another essential expectation for the new design to live up to.

Garden rooms

Van Wetten pulled out all the stops to make the garden, with its rather limited surface area, appear as large as possible. Key to the new design are various separate areas or ‘rooms’, giving visitors the feeling that anything can happen when they walk through the garden to the front door, and vice versa. Behind every corner and every hedge, there is a new surprise waiting to be discovered, providing a true ‘garden experience’ indeed.To achieve the desired effect, van Wetten turned the original design of the garden by ninety degrees and specified a long and narrow garden path to be built behind the patio, featuring several wooden pergolas.

His innovative approach created a seventeen-meter sightline, which visitors only discover after crossing the patio and passing a row of blooming oleanders. The garden path, laid with split bluestone paving from Carrières du Hainaut, runs parallel to the house along several hedges, each creating separate garden rooms and inviting visitors to explore the garden step by step. The new garden design succeeds particularly well in preserving the functionality of the former garden, but at the same time combines it with the intimacy, tranquillity and immersive natural experience that was previously lacking.

Bluestone looks chic and lively

In addition to the planting with hedges and trees, the choice of materials makes the garden design come to life. Bluestone from Hainaut especially proves to be a showstopper. Marco van Wetten: “The split paving from Carrières du Hainaut exudes an authentic and natural vibe that enhances the garden feeling. A smooth material such as concrete would not achieve this effect so easily. Moreover, bluestone has a chic appearance, which fits seamlessly with the stately style of the villa with its thatched roof and dark window frames. By opting for this stone, we were able to create a splendidly harmonious whole.”

The same goes for the flamed tiles on the patio. “Their finish looks very natural as well,” explains van Wetten. “A busier pattern would overwhelm a small garden like this. A neutral finish, by contrast, has an optically enlarging effect.”

Blue flamed tiles

With their slightly rough finish, blue flamed tiles look very trendy and come into their own in various outdoor applications including swimming pools. The medium blue-grey surface shows a multitude of (natural) white irregularities, more or less evenly distributed on the surface. This unique look not only gives the tiles their unique character and charm, but also comes with non-slip properties.Blue flamed tiles are a perfect choice for patios as the stone is non-porous and resistant to frost and other external influences.

Split pavers

Split pavers reveal bluestone in all its splendour. This type of cobblestone has a natural, rough look and is perfect for outdoor applications such as garden paths, driveways and access roads.By opting for split bluestone pavers with a unique laying pattern, garden designers effortlessly create an artistic, original and decorative effect.

Striving for perfection

The bluestone for this project was delivered and installed by natural stone company Van den Ban from Oosterhout. They specialise in furnishing outdoor spaces and are hired mainly for public works and upscale private garden projects.

“In a project like this, the customer rightfully strives for perfection,” says Hans Boer, director of Van den Ban. “Fortunately, we specialise in custom designs and are not afraid to get creative with high-quality materials, such as Bluestone from Hainaut. Collaborations for this project went smoothly. Together with Mr van Wetten, we went through the material requirements, then discussed the possibilities and looked at some bluestone samples. After the client approved the design, they appointed a gardener who purchased the bluestone from us to bring the project to life.”  

Hans Boer is also fond of bluestone’s authentic appearance: “Of course, this stone meets all the technical requirements in terms of strength and wear resistance, but its aesthetics make it even more special. In this case, the split pavers look all the more lovely because they have a mixed laying pattern: each paver is partly sawn and broken upwards. Moreover, the blue-grey colour of this stone fits perfectly with natural wood, which was used for the pergolas and seating furniture, among other things.”

Finally, the fast delivery time of the stone proved an asset as well. Hans Boer: “The Carrières du Hainaut quarry is located in Soignies, Belgium. That means that, even for Dutch customers, delivery is exceptionally quick. Moreover, the limited transport contributes to the sustainability of the project.”

The benefits of Belgian bluestone in the garden


  • High-quality and natural material
  • Sophisticated appearance
  • Numerous creative possibilities in various styles
  • Strong, durable and frost resistant
  • Sustainable
  • Quick delivery