Garden mirror ideas – 15 ways to create an illusion of space outside

Use this simple trick loved by interior stylists, to boost your outdoor space

Mirrors have always been an interior designers secret weapon for their simple, space-boosting abilities. But they don't need to be reserved for indoor use only, as these garden mirror ideas prove.

Mirrors are a great addition for any garden, with the power to totally transform the space. Garden mirror ideas are especially useful in small courtyard gardens, on roof terraces and limited balconies to add an extra dimension. A great budget garden idea, mirrors are another accessory like cushions and rugs that are readily available for outside use, creating the perfect outdoor living room space. Adding a new dimension to gardens by increasing a sense of space and reflecting light into more shady spots, it's important to ensure you hang your mirror at the correct height and in the best position.

As the trend for taking interior style outdoors continues to grow, garden mirrors are becoming more and more popular, so check out our garden decor ideas to see if one could work for your outdoor space.

Garden mirror ideas

1. Stage a secret garden

garden with window on red brick wall

(Image credit: Charlested)

Buy now: Gardenia inside outside window mirror, £200, Charlested (opens in new tab)

Use a window mirror, hung on a wall and nestled among the foliage, to create the illusion of a secret garden hiding just behind the wall. Position the mirror so it reflects parts of the garden not easily seen to trick the viewer into thinking there is more garden to come! To delight little ones, why not hang a smaller window mirror lower down the wall to act as a window into the 'fairy garden' beyond.

2. Get a lean on

garden with garden mirror leaning against outside wall

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Buy now: Black metal window pane arch mirror, £180, Rockett St George (opens in new tab)

For a relaxed feel, position your garden mirror leaning against an outside wall. This way you can easily change the angle to reflect the sky if there's an incredible sunset, or get the perfect selfie with visiting friends. You'll need to make sure your mirror is safely secured though, especially if you have young children on pets, so look to attaching it to the wall with a long chain so it won't fall.

3. Open up the corner of a courtyard

courtyard garden with garden mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

An arch-shaped mirror is a great way to add some elegant style to a courtyard garden, and really open up a typically wee space. Take inspiration from stylish restaurants and hang a mirror behind a dining set-up. This will allow diners to see more of what's going on in the rest of the room (or garden) and make them feel less enclosed or cramped.

4. Paint the frame to match the fence

garden mirror on black garden fence above garden bench

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Olly Gordon)

Make your garden mirror feel like part of the decor by painting the frame in the same shade as the fence. Matching the colours allows the mirror itself to be the focal point, rather than the frame. This idea is perfect for creating a cohesive, well-styled garden scheme.

On-trend colours such as the black stain, seen above, is a striking colour choice for garden fences and mirrors to enhance the surrounding greenery. Add pops of contrasting colour by painting flower pots bright and using vibrant accent cushions.

5. Hang at the right height

garden ideas

(Image credit: TBC)

A strategically placed mirror gives the garden an added sense of depth. To take this outdoor interiors trend one step further you could hang an overmantel mirror halfway up the wall to recreate the illusion of a mantelpiece. A familiar interior layout used in the garden helps create an outdoor living room idea.

6. Go large to maximise the impact

garden with white wall and large window pane mirror

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Buy now: Fulbrook Rectangular Mirror, £175, Garden Trading (opens in new tab)

Of course the bigger you go the bolder the impact, as this large window pane mirror proves in this small courtyard garden. The generous sizes helps to reflect back more light and greenery to inject vibrancy into the small space. Another top tip, to make the space feel bigger, is painting the walls white as the colour will reflect better and create a sense of airiness.

7. Add ambiance to a dining area

garden patio area with garden mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Add interest and atmosphere to an area of the garden where entertaining takes place, beside a dining area or quirky garden bar idea. The reflection adds another dimension to proceedings, while of course reflecting back any lighting and elements of decoration used to dress the space.

In this stylish garden an arched shaped mirror is placed perfectly within the arch of a climbing plant to accentuate the curved lines to soften the look.

8. Place to enhance plants

garden with green plants and white table with chairs

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme / Future PLC)

Making an impression with vertical planting, then elevate the look even further by placing mirrors behind to make more of a feature of your pots and plants. In this city garden a white walls is enhanced with the addition of a gothic-style window mirror which sits behind an evergreen plant – shining a light onto the greenery.

9. Upcycle a window frame

garden with outside sitting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Create your own outdoor mirror out of an old window frame using mirrors that you can pick up in craft stores. This old discoloured window frame has been transformed into a stunning statement mirror that matches the outdoor seating area perfectly.

This garden is an all-round fine example of upcycling ideas for the garden – from the budget mirror to the DIY pallet garden furniture.

10. Create the illusion of extra space

garden with plants and mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Andrea Jones)

Have you ever thought a small room was twice the size? Only to realise upon closer inspection that it is in fact an illusion, created by a well-placed mirror. When you can't see the edges or a defined shape of a mirror it blends in seamlessly to a space.

In a garden space this works brilliantly to give depth to a flower bed and soften corners. It also helps to reflect light, ideal in a small shady corner of the garden.

11. Double the planting by positioning mirrors low

garden with mirror on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

A mirror placed against a wall at a low level can beautifully accentuate flowers perfectly. When you'd put the hard work in to get the plants looking their best, you'll want to show them off to their full potential. A mirror can cleverly cover all angles, giving you more of an overall effect.

This is a clever way to make your planting efforts go a little further too. Perhaps you don't have enough budget to go for extra plants? A strategically placed mirror can double the amount of plants – without having to double the garden budget.

12. Choose complimentary colours to blend in

garden with green shutter mirror on wall

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

Here, a French-style mirror with shutters adds a certain charm to an outdoor patio area. The chalky green shade is the perfect colour for the mirror to blend in to the surrounding foliage.

13. Extend your interiors style to an outdoor space

garden with elegant golden frame mirror

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Buy now: Elegant outdoor mirror, £250, Cox & Cox (opens in new tab)

Replicate a living room idea by including traditional-style furniture in the garden.  Add some wow factor to your garden walls with an outsized mirror. This generous garden mirror creates a very convincing illusion to a garden beyond.

If you have flora and fauna that is worth showing off, then double-up the effect with an oversized mirror.

14. Add colour to a stone wall

garden with mirror on stone wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

A well-placed mirror can add a splash of colour and interest to a boring old stone wall. This mirror acts as a constantly changing work of art reflects a oak tree in the distance, it will change from green to shades of amber as the seasons progress.

15. Use alternative shapes to add interest

garden with quirky shaped mirror on stone wall

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Buy now: Maroq Outdoor Mirror, £40, Cox & Cox (opens in new tab)

Use quirky shaped mirrors to add decorative interest. This charmingly shaped mirror creates a window-like portal into another world. Proving mirrors don't have to be large to work wonders, this petite distressed mirror adds character to an otherwise plain brick wall.

Are garden mirrors a good idea?

Absolutely, they are a great tool for reflecting sunlight and if positioned cleverly, can help to make your a small garden look bigger.

An illusion mirror can create dramatic effects such as appearing to be a garden gate in a wall or hedge, or even a window. Whichever design you choose, an outdoor mirror is a transformative accessory not to be overlooked.  But there are a few things to consider. Firstly, what will it be reflecting? Don't place your mirror opposite a wall with drain pipes or air ducts, but reflect the leafy interest in your garden instead. Using full length mirrors will help to create the illusion of a garden beyond.  Consider using a hardy framed indoor mirror outdoors. Often especially designed garden mirrors are made of plastic or polished metal and won't achieve the right look (you don't want your garden to look like a child's soft play area!)

Where is the best place to put a mirror in the garden?

The best place to position a garden mirror is against a wall, fence or shed that faces back in towards your garden.

Don't place mirrors too high up or anywhere they are likely to impact bird flight and don't position mirrors in the path of direct sunlight, where they are likely to become a fire hazard.

Traditional outdoor mirrors can be heavy and must be secured to the wall with the correct fixings. Modern acrylic mirrors are lighter and come in a variety of styles which are easier to hang. 

Can I use a normal mirror in the garden?

The great thing about this simple garden idea is that it needn't be at great expense. You might have an existing mirror indoors that you can upcycle and give a new home outdoors. If doing this make sure you use the right paint or sealant to ensure your garden mirror looks the part and is weatherproof. Failing this, you could use a normal mirror outside, but be prepared for it to stain and have a weathered patina. Almost like an antiqued or mercury finish mirror, little spots and marks will appear on the surface over time, and the change in temperature could cause small cracks. If you're happy for this to be the case, then yes absolutely you can use a normal mirror outside!

Additional words: Holly Walsh

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.