They’ve long been a staple for interior designers but garden mirror ideas are the hottest trend for outside spaces too. There are plenty of different shapes, sizes and styles to choose from and if thoughtfully positioned they can make a huge impact for very little outlay.
Use them as you would indoors to create the illusion of extra space and reflect light into dark corners and narrow spaces. They are also handy for introducing a dash of colour and life into dull, flat surfaces. You can also have great fun with mirrors – hang them in unexpected places, prop them up to reflect a favourite plant or view, or try grouping them en masse for a quirky, eclectic look. Of course, mirrors don’t have to be flat either – reflective globes, tiny cut shapes and surfaces covered with flowing water all have their own magical charm. The possibilities are endless. Read on for stylish ways to use them in your garden, then check out our garden mirrors buying guide to find the perfect design for your budget.
1. Introduce the element of surprise
What could be more intriguing than making an unexpected discovery in the garden? Well a well-chosen mirror artfully propped against a wall, surrounded by a tangle of plants can conjure up that feeling of surprise and intrigue, and enchant visitors young and old. Add a touch of reality to the setting by choosing a window style mirror, such as this one from Cox & Cox. The antiqued finish, moulded frame and fine glazing bars all add architectural detail.
2. Set up a console display
A well-crafted and interesting display of favourite pots and plants can be pepped up with a well-placed mirror or two. These Gothic-style designs from The National Trust add real impact to the group, introducing height and elegant lines while reflecting the sky and beautiful surroundings. Raised up on a weathered console table, each item can be appreciated more, and the mirrors can reflect more of the sky than the ground. Cheat the look by propping a worn scaffolding board or length of driftwood on a couple of trestles, in front of a mellow stone or brick wall. The beautiful backdrop will accentuate the natural shape and colours of the display.
3. Add a surprise sparkle
Bring a jewel-like touch to a favourite part of your garden for a touch of the unexpected. Small but certainly effective, just a small group of three or five of these mirrored butterflies from Not On The High Street are certain to draw the eye, reflecting light and colours from the surrounding garden. Fix them on a well placed rock, stone wall or even hang from the branches of an overhanging tree, so they can dance in the daylight. Your view of them will also change as you move around the space and as the seasons and weather changes.
4. Bounce light back
Need to revitalise a dull or dingy courtyard? Adding a large, stylish mirror could be the answer. Not only will it help to boost the light levels, making the space much more inviting but it will create a beautiful feature that will bring character to a dull wall and create the feeling of space too. For a touch of fine elegance, go for an arched design with fine detailing – this Crittall-style mirror from Rockett St George is a fabulous example. Think carefully about the reflected view. Prop it casually against a wall with couple of beautiful planters nearby or hang at eye level and pop a console table beneath to create a more formal display.
5. Indulge in a touch of wonderland
Bring a playful touch to your garden with an eclectic wall of framed mirrors. Showcasing a range of different shapes, size and coloured frames these mirrors help bounce light around the garden and break up a vast expanse of dense conifer hedge. A fun and quirky statement it is balanced beautifully by the simplistic, block style seating and clipped box hedges. Have a go achieving the look by hanging the mirrors at two or three points using dark cable ties. Alternatively, if you have a large number of frames to hang or a precise arrangement, you may need to create a timber framework which can be pushed back into the hedge and hidden by the close growing foliage. This can then be used to help fix the frames securely in place.
6. Mix mirror and movement
A wall of water flowing over a mirror is a mesmerising sight. Rather than simply reflecting the facing wall the effect is constantly changing, resulting in a much softer and more intriguing image. It also brings light and movement into the garden. Simple and elegant, this two-sided vertical stainless-steel feature from Primrose looks stunning in the centre of a herbaceous border or gravel garden. It runs off mains power and features a concealed water reservoir and pump. Cover the base with slate or gravel for a neat finish.
7. Blur the boundaries
One trick loved by designers of spaces inside and out, is to use a large-scale mirror to visually stretch a small space. Simple but super effective this concept is great for small, urban courtyards as shown in this London garden by Silva Landscapes. Several, frameless mirror panels have been carefully fitted to create a huge mirror that stretches across an entire wall. The result is a light filled space, that feels twice the size, and this is emphasised by the narrow, timber slatted fence that runs down the side of the space. Overhanging climbers and raised beds in front of the mirror, helps to soften the edges and enhance the illusion.
8. Fake a window
Add character and charm in an instant, with an elegant shuttered window-style mirror such as this one from Cox & Cox. The beautifully weathered shutters and multiple panes are crafted from iron and bring depth and interest to flat and rather lifeless surfaces such as a shed or fence. Choose to fully open or half close the shutters or leave them ajar to conjure up an air of mystery and encourage climbers to grow over the mirror edges to complete the ‘just discovered’ look.
9. Play with distorted reflections
Water and light are key to bringing any garden to life, so one with a mirrored sphere will certainly add something special. This Radiance design from Crocus is mains powered and comes with its own built-in reservoir so will sit happily on a patio, nestled amongst pots and plants. Simply fill with water, plug-in and switch on and it will recirculate a curtain of water over the polished stainless-steel globes, continually altering the reflection and reflecting light off the surface. There are also similar products available that are solar powered, giving you more flexibility on where you can place them in the garden.
10. Create a reflective feature
Enjoy an alternative view of your outside space with a curious cluster of gazing globes. Nestle them amongst long grass, low-growing flowers or in a gravel garden and they will reflect the sky and plants around them. A great way to bring light into a dark or dull corner, you can also move them around and rearrange to suit your mood and experiment with different effects. Group together in odd numbers and varying sizes for best effect, like this stainless-steel set from Wayfair.