Outdoor mirror ideas – 5 expert ways to open up your yard

Discover 5 expert ways to use mirrors to open up your outdoor space

Outdoor mirror ideas
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When you're creating your dream outdoor living space, you want to pick the very best pieces to enhance your backyard. Whether you have a small or big garden, one brimming with foliage or just a few containers, design experts say you should consider incorporating mirrors.

It may not be the conventional outdoor furniture you hunt for when browsing backyard ideas, but mirrors can uplift gardens in many ways. Not only do they make your backyard look bigger, they can also be used carefully to reflect specific corners and features of your garden.

We've asked experts why you should use mirrors in the backyard and compiled a list of beautiful outdoor mirror ideas for you to take inspiration from.

Outdoor mirror ideas

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Why use mirrors in your yard?

The obvious answer is that mirrors can make a small garden look bigger.

'In a small garden, mirrors can be an asset making it feel more spacious. When mirrors are placed at the end of narrow pathways or against boundaries, it creates a perception of elongating or broadening the limited space,' says designer and home renovation expert from Designer Home Spas, Andrei Newman.

Adding mirrors can also make a backyard look more expensive by giving your yard an outdoor living room feel, uplifting your outdoor seating areas and adding a sense of bringing the indoors outside.

You can also think carefully about how to place outdoor mirrors and be purposeful with what they reflect. 'Mirrored orbs positioned to reflect light within a canopy of trees offer a whimsical sense to a shaded garden, increasing a sense of depth and texture,' notes interior designer, Charmaine Wynter.

Andrei Newman
Andrei Newman

Andrei Newman is an entrepreneur and home improvement expert committed to enhancing the exterior and living spaces of customers. As the Founder of Designer Home Spas, he channels his passion for quality, design, aesthetics, and home improvement.

Charmaine Wynter
Charmaine Wynter

Charmaine Wynter is an award winning interior designer at Charmaine Wynter Interiors and applies her design experience to life, sharing her advice with her followers through her Instagram live 'Host-Chatting with Charmaine Live'. Charmaine has been a featured designer on TV shows across North America.

5 outdoor mirror ideas

Using outdoor mirrors is a great way to add style to your backyard and open it up to make your garden feel more spacious. They are versatile pieces of furniture and we've asked experts for the best ways to use them.

1. Hang mirrors on walls and fences

Outdoor mirror ideas

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If you're looking for fence decorating ideas to make your fence or wall look less bare, why not add a mirror for some interest?

'Adding an arched mirror on a bare wall or fence then flanking it with trees and shrubs can create multiple "openings", adding architectural value to a simple fence or wall,' says Charmaine.

You can try adding the best plants to cover a fence around a hung mirror to immerse it among foliage and flowers. 

'This arrangement not only adds interest and elegance but also tricks the eye into perceiving more space and depth, effectively transforming a plain surface into a focal point of the garden,' Charmaine adds.

2. Place mirrors along narrow paths

Outdoor mirror ideas

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Mirrors can be used outdoors to make small spaces look bigger, so placing them in areas that are especially limited in space makes the most of this effect - like along a garden path.

'Placing mirrors along the sides of narrow pathways can visually double the space, making the garden appear wider and more inviting as it draws the eye along its length,' says Charmaine.

It's as simple as lining the edge of your narrow path with mirrors to offer lots of reflection. It can instantly add interest to an area that would otherwise go unnoticed.

3. Use mirrors to reflect planting

Outdoor mirror ideas

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Of course, the beauty of mirrors is that they reflect what they are facing. To maximise the impact of this, think carefully about where you're placing your mirror to show off different areas of planting in your yard.

'When mirrors reflect the beauty of nature, including plants, flowers and the sky, they can enhance and complement the existing environment,' says Andrei Newman.

You may choose to place mirrors so that they reflect lots of foliage, such as tall trees for privacy, to create an immersive-jungle feel, or show off your container garden full of bright blooms to enhance color.

'Consider the reflection it will cast throughout the day and how it integrates with the natural and architectural elements of your garden to enhance its overall aesthetic,' says Charmaine Wynter.

If you have lots of interesting features in your garden, like water features, you can also use mirrors to play a clever trick of the eye. 'Mirrors around water features spread light to attractive spots,' says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight in New York City.

Artem Kropovinsky headshot

Artem Kropovinsky, founder of the NYC-based Arsight, boasts over a decade of global interior design expertise in both residential and commercial projects. From transforming Brooklyn brownstones to reshaping Manhattan retail spaces, Arsight's portfolio showcases its design prowess on national and international scales.

4. Place mirrors in seating areas

Outdoor mirror ideas

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It isn't just your planting that can be beautifully reflected by mirrors, adding them to outdoor seating areas can add drama to your hosting space.

'I have a mirror on the ceiling on my patio. I love how it doubles the reflective quality of light for night time events, lowers the ambient of my patio temperature during summertime heat,' says Charmaine Wynter.

'It visually enhances the sense of space of the patio by not only creating depth, but also visually expanding the boundaries of a ceiling beyond its actual limits,' she adds.

When exploring different patio ideas, you should consider how a mirror can add value to the space. It can even reflect your patio lighting to brighten up the space further.

5. Create a secret mirror door

Outdoor mirror ideas

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For something a bit more mysterious, experts recommend using outdoor mirrors to create a secret door.

'This can be achieved by placing the mirror on the fence gate or wall, the reflection would give an illusion as though there is more to be seen' says Andrei Newman.

This creative way of using outdoor mirrors can make your garden space inviting and intriguing to guests, ideal if you want visitors to explore your yard.

Andrei suggests adding trailing and climbing plants around the mirror door to add an enchanting feel.

'It elevates the aesthetic of the space and keeps your visitors guessing. I love it when space has something to reveal, adding intrigue and sparking curiosity,' he says.

Discover stylish outdoor mirrors


Are mirrors rainproof?

Mirrors made for indoor use may become damaged by rain if left outside, however there are mirrors among the outdoor furniture you can leave in the rain that have been designed to be weather-proof. If you are looking for a wooden-framed mirror, you should aim for teak or cedar, while stainless steel and aluminium are good metals for outdoor mirrors. You should also consider exploring shatterproof glass for your outdoor mirror so that it can withstand more extreme weather. 

How do you clean an outdoor mirror?

It's inevitable that your outdoor mirror will become dirty because it's exposed to the elements. To clean your outdoor mirror you should use a clean cloth and glass-cleaning spray. Aim for difficult spots first before doing an overall clean. Take care to avoid mirror cleaning mistakes that could leave streaks. It can be a good idea to clean your outdoor mirrors often to keep them in good condition for longer.

Using mirrors in the backyard is a great way to enhance your outdoor space and add a touch of sophistication to your outdoor living area. There are lots of different ways to use reflective surfaces in the yard, all of which achieve different results.

If you're looking for more innovative ways to uplift your yard, you might be inspired by our expert list of backyard lighting ideas.

Tenielle Jordison
News Writer (Gardens)

Tenielle is a News Writer in the Gardens team at Homes & Gardens with five years of journalistic experience. She studied BA Journalism, Media and English Literature and MA Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. Before coming to Homes & Gardens, Tenielle was in the editorial department at the Royal Horticultural Society and worked on The Garden magazine. She is passionate about sustainable living and likes to encourage gardeners to make greener choices to help tackle the effects of climate change with a trowel in hand. Tenielle is also a houseplant lover who is slowly running out of room for her ever-growing collection.