Make Your Backyard Feel Bigger By Incorporating Mirrors

Backyards and gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are sprawling and lush, while others are tighter and infinitely more of a challenge to make into liveable areas that are a natural extension of our homes. While there are many approaches to making a small backyard look larger, including designating zones, adding levels, and keeping it clutter-free, another successful tactic involves employing mirrors and reflective surfaces to amplify and manipulate your space as desired.

Reflective surfaces are perfect for tricking the eye, increasing light, and multiplying greenery, instantly and easily transforming even the smallest outdoor space. They are also an inexpensive and easy element to add, with only a little homework and preparation to keep them looking pretty all year long, whatever the climate and outdoor conditions. Whether you want to add the perception of extra acreage, spotlight a dark corner, or highlight certain focus areas, mirrors work as wonderfully in outdoor spaces as indoors.

Space and light

Mirrors come in a number of sizes and interesting shapes that make them a dynamic and beautiful addition, with even small mirrors adding visual interest along blank exterior walls and boring fences. Placing a mirrored faux window, complete with mullions and shutters, is excellent for creating an opening that reflects the yard back and instantly seems like a peek into a magical reality. It also maximizes light on dark porches and overhung areas that may need it. For even greater impact, consider placing a large mirrored door along a wall or fence or in dead, lightless corners.

You can use mirrors to help define spaces and highlight elements like seating arrangements, firepits, fountains, pools, or outdoor dining sets. Mirrors facing interior entrances or windows into the home can increase the flow between areas, allowing the spaces to seem like extensions of each other. They can also bring sunlight to narrow gangways and sideyards. In addition, mirrors are often suitable for expanding the scope of plantings and flower beds, making them seem lusher and larger than they actually are.

Other reflective surfaces, including gazing balls, mercury glass, disco balls, and mosaic tiles, create a similar effect. Even water can make a great surface that casts back the sky. At night, these surfaces amplify existing lighting like string lights, lanterns, and candles when the sun goes down

Care and safety

When using mirrors and reflective surfaces outdoors, there are a few key ways to keep them safe, intact, and looking stunning all year long. Make sure that your mirror is placed in a way that will not harm wildlife or plants, including in direct sunlight, which has been known to occasionally start fires, particularly a hazard if you live in a dry climate. Place breakable mirrors on solid surfaces or fasten them securely to prevent shattering. Extreme heat or cold in too short a time may lead to cracking.

The biggest threat to mirrors placed outdoors is moisture, so keeping them out of the rain and in dryer places is ideal. If it's out in the open, carefully sealing the mirror's backside and waterproofing the frame will help keep it looking good. Shower doors are a perfect upcycle project for larger waterproof mirrors after a remodel. Convex outdoor mirrors (like in parking garages) and mirrored balls designed for outdoor use are easy ready-made options.