How to use mirrors in the garden

01 January 2010

How to use mirrors in the garden

Wall mounted garden mirrors can create the illusion that there is a way through to another garden and so give the impression of a larger space.

Garden mirrors with shutters allow you to control how much or how little is seen at any time. These mirrors are suitable for indoor or outdoor use and are easy to hang.

We recommend using a coat of matt exterior grade varnish to all parts of the mirror frame front and back to help preserve the surfaces.
 

 

 

Even the smallest space can be enhanced with a garden mirror

A tall wall mirror will add impact to a small space so don't be afraid to use one. Measure the space carefully, you could even borrow a mirror from elsewhere in the house to use as a demonstration.

Garden mirrors reflect more light into your garden.

                                                                              


You could add a window box to the bottom of a shuttered mirror to suggest a French cottage.Add some seasonal planting and you are well on the way to transforming a utilitarian shed into a stylish summer house. Paint the mirror frame to match the neighbouring window frames to suggest that they really are part of an extension to the house.

 

Garden mirrors frame the view

It's important to keep the element of surprise. So when you are positioning your garden mirror make sure your own reflection isn't staring back at you.


We recommend angling the mirror down and to one side, or positioning beside rather than at the end of paths.
A small adjustment of the angle will help to create the illusion that this garden mirror is really just a part of a larger space.That way you can see garden, grass, greenery, path etc and not your own feet until you are right up to the mirror (the taller the viewer the longer the illusion). Try to avoid reflecting the back of your house unless it's especially beautiful!

Creating an illusion of space with your garden mirror

Window frame mirrors can be painted to match your existing windows and a window box beneath just adds to the illusion as you can see in the picture below.

 

                                                     

 

Choose the right location for your garden mirror

Mirrors enhance even a plain brick wall, Don't put up with an ugly or dull wall or shed, change it instantly!

Don't put up with a blank, boring wall                     

Choose the view you want to reflect. Try composing a collection of interesting objects to reflect. Avoid a position for your mirror which reflects a plain or messy area.

 


A small change to the angle of the mirror can mean the difference between mirroring an eyesore or reflecting light and space.
Outdoor mirrors allow you to show or reflect some or all of a view.

Mirrors in your Garden Could Add The Wow Factor

                                                        


A gothic window style mirror could add some faded grandeur; surrounded by ivy - who would guess it was just the side of a shed?

Imagine a Gothic arch mirror at the end of a dark hallway....

Window frame style mirrors

Using mirrors in the garden adds stunning features to your outdoor space or courtyard! Use mirrors indoors too and it's easy to create a feeling of light and space - great for tiny bathrooms and loos!

                      

Use window frame style garden mirrors to add pzazz to the side of your shed or a blank wall

Perspective trellis

The false perspective trellis garden mirror panel can make the space feel larger. Perspective trellis mirrors used as a background for a garden ornament will add extra highlights and depth to your garden. An urn raised on a plinth would be ideal here and would look just as good empty in winter as full of flowering plants in the summer. For the best effect you will need to tilt the mirror slightly so that it is not reflecting straight back at you. Experiment with the angle to capture the most believable illusion for your situation. Use some scrambling climbers like jasmine, honeysuckle, rose, clematis or ivy to help disguise and soften the edges to camouflage, so that it does not seem like glass at all.

Mirror illusions for your garden

Create a pathway right up to the base of the larger mirrors to reinforce the illusion of a way through. You could add pots of topiary either side of the mirrors to frame the "view" and add the feeling that the Wrought iron style glass mirror gates really links to another part of your garden.Use plants around the edge of the garden mirror to add to the effect and disguise the edges.

See how your garden could be transformed by using superb garden mirrors.

Acrylic Mirror or Glass Mirror?

       Can you tell which of these mirrors is glass and which acrylic? smiley        

Outdoor plastic mirror is lightweight and is 10 times stronger than glass.
Acrylic Mirror is safer to use if children are around. The reflection with an acrylic mirror is not as true as mirror glass.
Visual distortion may occur during normal use of acrylic mirror and may become more excessive when using large pieces of acrylic mirror sheet.
It is usually made from 3mm acrylic and weighs 80% less than mirror glass. It can be cut to size - simply score halfway through with a knife then break along a straight edge. Or use a hacksaw or jigsaw with a fine blade.

It can also be drilled using a drill bit for drilling metal; curves can be cut with a fine tooth saw, cutting disc or tile cutter. When drilling, a piece of masking tape stuck over the position of the hole will ensure the drill bit doesn't slip.

You can even fix acrylic mirror sheets using panel adhesive for outdoor use, but you might also want to securely clamp into place until the adhesive has cured. You won't be able to re-position later so screw fixing is the best option if you're not absolutely sure about the final position.

Plastic mirror sheets are not as rigid as glass and should be fixed to a garden fence or wall to reduce any slight image distortion effect.

Acrylic Mirror sheet is easy to care for but do not use any abrasive materials when cleaning. Warm soapy water and a clean soft cloth are usually all that is needed to keep the surface clean and bright.

When using tools ensure you keep both surfaces protected from accidental knocks, scrapes and digs. The front surface will show up scratches and the reverse surface will not reflect clearly if damaged.

Glass Mirrors; there is always the risk of breakages and the back should be treated with Plasiti cote or a similar outdoor preservative.
If there are pre-drilled holes then it is usually a simple matter to attach a glass mirror to a surface.Consider the weight of the glass before attaching to a fence panel.

smiley The acrylic mirror is the one on the right

How to fix your mirror

Fixing mirrors to a garden fence or a wall.

Because every site is unique we've put together a comprehensive fixing guide for you but if it seems daunting just remember in essence it's very simple! Just a screwdriver and screw is all most people will need to make a perfect job.

The shuttered mirrors come with a fixing bracket on the reverse, top centre. It is designed for secret fixing, i.e. to hang on a screw that is left protruding between 5-9 mm from the fixing surface. If it is a large mirror it may well have two to four seperate brackets to take the weight. A domed headed screw will give better grip. If the bracket is notched it can allow multiple fixings, so you can use one central screw or two adjacent fixings at 15 or 30mm centres.

If you are fixing to a fence it is very important to get a strong fixing point. We don't know what type of fence you have but typically they are constructed from posts (with rails running horizontally in more expensive construction) and in-filled with either panels or individually nailed palings. The palings and panels may not themselves be strong enough to fix to. The mass produced ones are just a few mm thick. You should fix through them to a rail or wooden post if possible. The age and condition of the fence also affects strength. Bear in mind wind loading during winter gales too.

If you want to place the mirror where there is no good fixing point you could use picture hanging or garden wire to hang the mirror from a higher rail. Or you could fix a batten (e.g. 50X25mm) between two good fixing points and secure the mirror to that.

One alternative is to buy a couple of mirror fixing plates to screw to the outer frame (making sure the screws holding the plate onto the frame are well clear of the glass!!) and the fence. The advantage of this method is that the mirror cannot be moved accidentally once fixed. It also spreads the load if you can't get one good fixing point.
 

Fixing to a wall

For wall fixing you will need an electric drill and suitable masonry bit, plus an appropriate wall plug for the size of screw you will use. For normal use we recommend a 6mm drill bit and 32mmX4mm screws. You can use one central or two fixings as described above.

One final point, Always Work Safe. If you want the mirror fixed above shoulder height take extra care when using ladders in the garden as the feet will sink into soft ground. Make sure your ladder is secure. If you are using a mains powered electric tool ensure it is plugged into a suitable RCD device to protect you from accidental electrocution.

 

The mirror sheet is cut to fit around the fixing lugs so make sure it fits snugly without bowing or gapping. If it doesn't then simply turn it through 180 degrees and it should be a perfect fit. Don't seal it with the fixing tape until you're happy that it's flat and flush. Then simply fix as above using one screw for each of the four fixing lugs. You will probably need help with this as the metal frame is heavy and quite large.

The Large Antique White Arched Garden Mirrors are terrific in a modern style garden and just adding 2-3 of them on the back wall of a city plot or a basement garden will add glamour, light and enhance the property. If you are trying to sell a property now it might just add the wow factor to make your sale and best of all you can take your investment with you when you go!

 


We hope this helps you get loads of enjoyment from your mirror.

Tools and tips for hanging mirrors outside

Always work safe.

You may need an electric drill to drill pilot holes in fencing, and you may need a masonry bit if you're securing to a wall. Tape measures are helpful in getting the mirror centred, for example between two windows. A level will ensure your new mirror looks spot on and of course you'll need a suitable screwdriver to fix.

If you are using the mirror fixing points as a template just drill enough to mark the position. Remove the mirror then complete drilling the hole to avoid accidental damage to the frame. Have someone hold the mirror in place while you do this, it will help keep things level and straight.
Don't try to do too much. Some of our mirror may be too heavy to fix for one person on their own. It's usually a good idea to have an extra pair of hands to hold the mirror while you check for level, to stand back and make sure you get the right effect, etc.

An extra pair of hands can be the most useful of all the tools in your toolbox.

Follow our garden mirrors board on Pinterest for more inspiration

 


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