Robinson Family Water Garden
In celebration of Cheekwood’s 60th anniversary as a public institution, we’re highlighting one of our 12 distinct gardens each month to showcase our wide variety of garden offerings. With 55 acres of rolling hills and 12 intricate, unique gardens, there’s something for everyone to experience and love at Cheekwood.
The fountains, pools, and man-made creeks and ponds were originally connected by a system of underground pipes and pumps. As the water traveled through this environmentally sound arrangement, it was aerated and cooled naturally, preventing the growth of algae and bacteria. Beginning at the Swan Fountain, the water flowed downhill through a series of smaller pools, rills, and underground pipes to the Reflecting Pool. Water continued traveling under the main drive and eventually reached the three largest ponds situated in a nonlinear and unorthodox, Fleming-esque placement. In the following decades, a renovation of the ponds was made possible by the Robinson Family, and the Water Garden was named in their honor.
When the windows of the house were open, the sounds of trickling water could be heard inside, a feature that Mabel Cheek expressed to Fleming as a design necessity. The source for the water was the Red Spring House on the west fork of Richland Creek. This spring originally used to provide water for Belle Meade Plantation, and the Cheeks purchased the spring specifically to provide their own supply of residential water.