Mirrors have become quite popular as garden ornaments. And I love the idea of a mirror in a garden. I don't have a mirror in my garden - yet. And, actually, I've never even seen a mirror in a garden, just pictures. But I still love the idea.
It seems that there are two ways to use mirrors in the garden. The first, is quite easy. Just hang (or lean) the mirror where you want it. This look is obvious, but it still gives the illusion of a larger space. There are a couple of considerations to using a mirror in this way. You would want to make sure the mirror doesn't reflect the sun too strongly. It could be very uncomfortable to come around a corner and be blinded by glaring sunlight! Perhaps hanging the mirror toward the north, with the back to the south, might be the best position, or in a little alcove, or shaded by a tree.
The second way to use a mirror in the garden is the way I would use a mirror in my garden: by the use of tromp l'oil.
I can't remember where (don't you just hate when that happens?) but I once saw a picture illustrating the use of a mirror in the garden. I had to look very, very closely to see the mirror. In fact, if I hadn't know there was a mirror there, I would have been completely fooled!
To achieve the look of a tromp l'oil effect, these are the things I would do:
Attach the mirror somewhere along the perimeter of the garden. I would have two garden paths leading up to, set in a V pattern. This way you would not approach the mirror straight on, which would ruin the effect if you could see yourself approaching. I would put some sort of plantings along the sides of the mirror for several feet each way. I would make sure that the top of the mirror is also camouflaged, either by the use of an arbor, vines, or trees. You would want lush plantings on either side of your pathways, so that when you were walking toward the mirror, you would see plants being reflected back, strengthening the illusion of additional garden space beyond.
You might want to consider putting a garden gate very close but in front of the mirror, so that you feel you needed to stop and open the gate to continue. It could be very embarrassing to run into the mirror! This could even be painted on if you're more talented than I.
|Can you see where the real plant ends and the reflection begins?|
Maybe one day I'll find just the right spot in my garden for a mirror. But for now, I can dream.
There are a few other things to consider when putting a mirror in the garden:
Regular mirror will eventually lose its silver backing. But, you may like the black bubbling look created by this.
Acrylic mirror is much lighter, and should be more durable.
Don't forget to watch where the sun's rays are hitting!
I'm joining Donna of Garden Walk Garden Talk for Word 4 Wednesday on reflection, and my mind immediately thought of mirrors.
Do you have a mirror in your garden? Is it obvious, or have you used a tromp l'oil effect?
I have used mirrors. I had an old storm door that I backed with a long mirror. I like it in a corner - looked like an entrance to another area. Thanks for refreshing my memory. What can be better than 'double' beauty!ReplyDelete
I bet it looked fabulous as a faux entrance! Double beauty - you're so right! I may have to put a mirror out in the garden when the flowers start blooming! What an easy way to get new plants! :)Delete
I enjoyed reading this fun post. I could not tell that any of the plant was in a mirror. How cool!ReplyDelete
I had to look hard at the picture, too, and I took it!Delete
I have seen mirrors used in the garden very effectively. Perhaps one day I'll find the perfect one to use.ReplyDelete
I would love to see a garden with mirrors in it. I think it's a fabulous idea.Delete
Great look at mirrors and reflection. I like all the points that you made. Up here, many of the Buffalo Garden Walk gardens have mirrors as ornament. The gardens are tiny and the mirrors visually enlarge the space. Nice look at the plant in reflection, it made your point perfectly.ReplyDelete
I bet it can really makes a difference in a small garden. Maybe one day I'll find just the right spot for one.Delete
I have just the spot in my garden where I want to put a mirror. I've got the mirror, I just need to paint it and hang it! I love mirrors in the gardenReplyDelete
I hope you blog about it so I can see it! I wish I had "just the spot"!Delete
Brilliant! You have just given me the best idea for a mirror that I have been trying to place in the house for far too long.. Why didn't I think of this already?! Still I didn't - so thanks!ReplyDelete
Actually, I have an extra mirror myself - maybe I can find a nice place for it in the garden somewhere. I love how we all give each other ideas.Delete
Does vanity exist in plants. I wonder if you hang a mirror in the garden if the most beautiful flowers will grow near it so they can admire themselves?ReplyDelete
haha - That would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Just hang a mirror and maybe they'd do extra well!Delete
I have a couple in the garden - some very cool ornate mirrors that I found in a second hand shop. Some of them were attached to old medicine cabinets. I love the way they reflect light and color in the garden beds. :)ReplyDelete
Oh, how fabulous! I may have to start looking for some when I go to the flea markets!Delete
That is an AWESOME idea. I'm going to do it! :)ReplyDelete
I hope you do!Delete
I have seen gardens with mirrors-it is amazing. I think I will be on the lookout for one to use.ReplyDelete
I would love to see some gardens with mirrors. I can imagine they would be gorgeous. I also like the idea of tiny little mirror hanging from trees, etc.Delete
I do have mirrors in my garden-kind of. The first place one finds a mirror is on my porch. It reflects light perfectly. In the garden I use mirror on bowling balls and also larger parts of broken mirror on flat surfaces like tables. It gives the illusion of water. I love mirrors-in my house they are everywhere and I only wish they would wear better in the garden. I like tromp l'oil but don't have any in the garden-yet.ReplyDelete
Oh, broken mirror on tables! Thanks so much for the ideas! I wondered how long the silver on the back lasted. I think they would still look pretty with that lacy effect, though.Delete
This is a fantastic idea! I have not thought about putting one in the garden before reading this post, however I like your idea of camouflaging it a bit...perfect.ReplyDelete
I think the idea of another area to go into is a great way to use a mirror, but everyone's ideas are really making me want them everywhere! :)Delete
Even better - I just talked to my husband and we have a mirror laying around. It's going to happen! Thanks again for the idea.ReplyDelete
Great! I hope it turns out perfect!Delete
Oh yes Holley, i didn't think of that, if i had i will have posted it. I have many photos with mirrors but we dont put it in gardens. I've seen a big mirror in a zoo in Australia, to give the flamingo their preoccupation with vanity. In lieu of the placid streams where they normally look at themselves, a mirror was installed to let them continue that habit.ReplyDelete
How funny! I didn't flamingos did that. I've only seen them at the zoo locally, and they have water. I'll have to notice next time if they are looking at themselves! Ha!Delete
No mirror in our garden, Holley, but it would be a great idea... Love your photos today.ReplyDelete
I think I would want an acrylic mirror. I would hate to have that glass break.Delete
I love that Holley and I would love to add one to my garden. I will be thinking about this. Thanks for sharing this idea.ReplyDelete
I hope everyone that actually adds one to their garden lets us see it! You too, Becca! If you add one, I want to see! :)Delete
Sounds very interesting! I must visit your garden! ;)ReplyDelete
I don't have any mirror in my garden - yet. But the more I talk about them, the more exciting they seem. I bet one shows up in my garden soon!Delete
That last photo is pretty neat. I had to look at it several times.ReplyDelete
I bet if I hadn't pointed out it was a reflection, most people wouldn't have realized it!Delete
This post proves why you deserve this nomination.ReplyDelete
Holley I love this post...the idea od a mirror is so wonderful and whimsical...I would love to add a mirror and may look for a spot in the shade...the idea of planning for it is fun...ReplyDelete
I agree - planning for one is exciting, isn't it? I bet walking by a mirror in the garden would make you smile every time the sparkle caught your eye, too.Delete
What a fun idea. I suspect it might confuse a critter or two! I had to look VERY hard to see where the mirror began in your last photo!ReplyDelete
haha - I hadn't thought about how the creatures might react! I wonder if they would be scared of themselves!Delete
It is such an intriguing idea. I just saw a photo of one in February's Fine Gardening (an article about fences) and, like you, I really had to look hard to convince myself it wasn't an opening into the next garden. But I think I would only want to use very small mirrors on a vertical surface, and not have the full tromp l'oil effect, because of the birds. Collisions with windows already takes a terrible toll on birds, because they are just not wired to perceive that it's a reflection rather than another space. How much worse it would be with this more perfect illusion. On the other hand, it could be lots of fun as a temporary one-day feature during a garden party. The traffic would probably cut down on bird activity during that time, and I wouldn't have to clean the mirror every day! I also recently saw someone use small mirrors inside a sheltered arbor to mimic the effect of reflections off water. That idea also has really stuck with me.
I wondered about the birds, but couldn't find where they definitely would or wouldn't run into a mirror. Of course, it's a thought that needs to be considered. Love your ideas about a one-day feature, and the small mirrors either vertically or inside an arbor. Hadn't thought about it, but yes, the shimmering light does mimic water reflecting light.Delete
Love the mirror idea. I thought about putting one on my purple well house.ReplyDelete
I hope you give it a try! It would be fun to work with mirrors, I think. In fact, the more I think about it, the more fun it seems.Delete