ISSUE 8  |  Water Crisis

The Dark Mirror: A Backyard Reflecting Pool in Eastern Europe

February 25, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

From the street, you would never know. A tall hedge of clipped yew hides a backyard reflecting pool whose surface is “a dark mirror,” designed to reflect the sky and clouds above Brno in the Czech Republic.

Created by Eva Wagnerová for clients who had recently renovated a dilapidated old house, the shallow pool is lined with black granite slabs to create a reflective surface. An adjacent granite patio is just big enough to comfortably fit two chairs; a set of asymmetrical mossy pavers juts out into the pool. Stare at it for awhile. Do you feel yourself relaxing?

Photographs via Eva Wagnerová.

Above: The color palette is limited to green, gray, and blue–punctuated by white-flowering cherry trees in spring and clematis flowers in summer. 

Above: Mossy granite pavers are set into the side of pool, designed “to dissolve” into the water, the designer says.

Above: The pool sits beneath a miniature grove of four cherry trees and is surrounded by garden beds planted with bamboo, grasses, and flowering perennials. On the fence, Clematis Montana is a fast-growing, white-flowering perennial vine that will eventually cover the whole expanse.

Above: Clumps of large-leafed hostas, which prefer a moist environment, border the patio. The juxtaposition of the severe rectangular shapes of pool and pavers against the softer, unclipped silhouettes of grasses and shrubs creates a feeling of unforced order in the garden.

Above: “The black slate bottom slabs shimmering through the water make the pool’s surface reminiscent of a dark mirror,” says Wagnerová. 

Something about this reflecting pond reminds us of poet Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Garden in Scotland. Is it the water, or is it the use of stone slabs as garden ornaments?