Reflecting ponds are shallow bodies of water characterized by proportional geometry and a smooth surface that acts like a natural mirror.
With few exceptions, they should be built with basins made from very dark material. Water will reflect light more easily under these conditions. Any light that fails to be reflected will be absorbed by the bottom of the pool. This works to effectively hide the bottom of the pool because no light is escaping to reveal its presence beneath the water.
The highly reflecting surface that results will magnify everything within the immediate vicinity of the pool. A good example of this would be in the center of a small garden where small trees planted for scale and vertical impact intermingle with hedges and flowering plants. On the outside of the garden, there may be only a small masonry wall within which resides a few trees planted for scale, flowering plants for color, and hedges used to frame the form.
If a seating area is created beside a reflecting pond here, the inside of the garden will appear larger than the outside, and even the smallest property on the Houston landscape can be made to feel like a special retreat from the urban bustle surrounding the home.
In a very large yard that has been divided into special areas of interest, reflecting ponds can be used as focal points where walkways converge in a large landscape. Sculptures are often located at these junctions in order to mark them on the landscape. Placing a reflecting pool and a small bench right in the fork in the walkway gives a guest the option to pause and enjoy a magnified sculpture before choosing their next point of attraction.
In parts of the city where tree growth is limited, we often have to bring in trees to add vertical impact to the yard.
The cost of planting very large trees is enormous, and even if a homeowner invests in this, only a limited number of trees is feasible to add to a property when investing in a comprehensive landscape master plan.
Again, reflecting ponds can work wonders for such a lot.
When the geometry and scale of the pond are balanced with the scale and number of trees, the outside world can be effectively blocked out by making a person sitting in the midst of the trees feel as though they are surrounded by a virtual forest
Garden design and trees are not the only landscape elements that reflecting pools can enhance. In the commercial world, they are used to extend building facades into space. The same principle can be applied to residential architecture with the proper planning and skills of a professional landscape designer.
For example, if a large River Oaks or Memorial Area home hires us to build a stepped terrace that gently descends from their back door to their swimming pool and spa, then we can add a reflecting pond in the seating area of the terrace to extend the architecture of the house into outdoor space.