How to use mirrors in the garden

Reflections in a garden

mirrors in the gardenWe’re all know how mirrors indoors can increase the feeling of light and space, but have you considered using them in your garden too? With homeowners taking more and more pride in their ‘extra room’, strategically-placed mirrors can provide a magical effect, reflecting not only nature’s abundance, but also your personality. We take a look at some ideas to bring a new perspective to your outdoor space.

Increase the space

Smaller gardens or patios can be instantly transformed by careful use of outdoor mirrors. Their reflection gives an optical illusion and doubles the size of the area. Try placing one on a wall next to your outdoor eating area so that evening candles on the dining tables are reflected – doubling the ambient lighting. Long mirrors placed horizontally at waist height on walls will create length in your garden – perfect for a square space. Placed lower down, whatever the size or shape of your garden, you can trick your eyes into believing your have double the amount of plants – a double riot of colour.

Creating vistas

Tall garden mirrors, with their base flush with the ground and placed against a wall or fence at the end of the garden can give the impression of a secret door through to another garden. This works particularly well if there is a path running up to the mirror – your eyes see an infinite pathway leading into the distance. Try training some climbing flowers around it to enhance the impression of a doorway. You can add to the effect by placing pots either side of the base to frame the view and adding some low-growing plants to soften the edges.

Bringing light to shade

If you have a shady area, a garden mirror is perfect to bring light into the darkest area. Angled mirrors under trees will bounce the available light round and reveal new aspects of the space as the day progresses. Try grouping differently sized and shaped mirrors together on a wall, as you would indoors to create an unexpected interior design effect. Mirrors in frames are particularly suited to this and will delight the eye with their random reflections.

Finally, think about these things too:

• Fix your mirror securely to the wall or fence to ensure it doesn’t fall and cause injury.

• The backs of indoor mirrors can deteriorate with time – try applying sealant which will preserve the silver.

• Take care when mowing the lawn near a mirror – loose stones can be thrown up and crack them. You don’t want seven years’ bad luck.

• Position your mirror carefully if it’s in direct sunlight to avoid scorching nearby plants or starting a fire. Angling it downwards should do the trick.

• A small collection of interesting objects d’art in front of even the smallest mirror will create a focal point. Try small, shiny-leaved plants in colourful pots nestled into an arrangement.

• Birds find mirrors fascinating but some may be aggressive towards their reflected rivals in the spring – a cover for a week or two will prevent irate blackbirds.

• You can re-create a water feature to reflect the sky by placing a mirror on the ground and surrounding it with plants and smooth pebbles.