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Create An Outdoor Room on a Budget

Written by JD
30/04/2018 15:03:45

Create An Outdoor Room

We're officially in British summertime and entertaining and dining outdoors are two popular reasons which draw us into our gardens.  Many of us long for a larger garden or back yard but have no way to expand our space.   Follow these ideas from The Plastic People team to create a liveable, usable and magnified space in your garden without overwhelming cost or time commitment.

Defining Your Outdoor Room
Outdoor dining rooms can be created anywhere in your garden.  Whether your dining room will be in an independent area (a gazebo for example) or will begin immediately outside your home (for example a porch or patio area) a good idea is to connect it visually to your home with flooring or planting.   Positioning a mirror next to an outdoor eating / dining area can create ambience and  an excellent way to bring into your outdoor room (via reflection) planting you especially like from other areas of your garden.

mirror defines outdoor room

Use flooring to define your room - decking and stone flooring make better choices than grass to make your space feel more like a room.

Use plants to soften any hard edges around your flooring. Choose plants which evoke the feelings and colours you want for your room. Strategically placed acrylic mirrors can also be used to cover wall areas and reflect planting, providing a softer more ambient feel.  Use tile shaped or different sized acrylic mirrors to reflect features in your garden, plants or flowers at interesting angles. 

Magnify your space
Acrylic mirror can be used to create the feeling of the space you’d like in your garden. Choose to mount long mirrors horizontally along garden walls to create an illusion of length or mount long mirrors vertically up garden walls to create an illusion of height.   Whichever you choose, a top tip is to hang the mirror amongst real things – plants, flowers and trees so the acrylic mirror blends in.

acrylic mirror throws light in garden

Water is recognised as one of the important elements to create an outdoor room. Table top water fountains and container water gardens are more budget friendly, easier options than ponds and waterfalls.  Any water feature can be further enhanced with a surrounding of acrylic mirror which will reflect the feature and add to its effect by magnifying its scale.

acrylic mirror reflects water
acrylic mirror by pond reflects light and water
Using an acrylic garden mirror
Shatter-proof, flexible and 17x stronger than glass, acrylic mirrors are an ideal choice to create ambience and the illusion of space in your garden.  Here’s 6 ways to do it:
1. Use your acrylic mirror to gain the feeling of the space you’d like. You can create an illusion of length by mounting long mirrors horizontally along garden walls. Or, go for an illusion of height by mounting long mirrors vertically up garden walls.

2. Use tile shaped / sized acrylic mirrors to reflect features in your garden, plants or flowers at interesting angles.  You can buy acrylic mirror cut to the size and shape you need. If you do so via our site we can deliver exactly what you need next day to your chosen address.
3. Test out mirrors in random corners of your garden – they can produce surprising lighting effects and enhance your garden by adding a sculptural element to it.

4. Create a waterless water feature….  Position your acrylic mirror on the ground and surround it with river rocks/shrubbery.

5. Position your acrylic mirror next to an outdoor eating / dining area to create ambience and double glow of lanterns.

6. Fashion a doorway by putting a full-length mirror level with the ground.

Choosing a garden mirror
The garden mirror you choose will depend on the effect you wish to create.  Mirrors can create many different looks, from a full-length illusion (which will appear as if you can walk through it from a distance) to the appearance of a small window.  Acrylic mirror is made in sheet form and can be bought cut to size as a neat way to bring reflection into your garden and help create the feeling of the space you are wanting.  Because acrylic mirror can be cut to size and shape, you have flexibility to use mirrors which will fit your space perfectly.
Where to position a garden mirror
Mirrors work best where they are blended in with plants, trees and flowers – essentially so there are no mirror edges on show which will point out that your mirror is a mirror!   The more real things that are mixed next to your mirror, the better.

The key to placing your mirror in the garden is to check what will be reflected back.  So, take your mirror into the garden. (Or another mirror you have if you want to test out sizes first before you buy a garden mirror.)  Position it in different spots to see where the best place is that gives the reflection you enjoy the most.  For example, you may be thinking of hanging your mirror at the bottom of your garden but if your house reflects back then that may not be the view you were hoping for.  If you’re struggling to get a good reflection you can always angle your mirror and see what that reflects back.  Put something like a piece of wood behind the mirror so it angles up, down or to the side and check out your new reflection.  Placing your mirror at an angle also means you (and others) won’t be reflected back into it when you walk to and from it too, helping to provide the appearance of more garden / a view beyond.

In hotter climates, be sure to place your mirror in a shaded area. Mirrors placed in direct sunlight can cause accidental fires.
How to fix a garden mirror
Fixing with glue is a key issue. Traditional screw fixings tend to be safer in that glues can work through the mirror’s reflective surface and causing the mirror glass to darken. This can be minimized on acrylic mirrors by using a suitable acrylic mirror adhesive such as Evo-stik Mirror Adhesive.  Be sure to fix the mirror solidly to the background. Because acrylic mirror is more flexible than glass it must be fitted to a flat surface for a perfect finish.  If you are fitting it to a wall which is not flat, it is best to fit it first to something rigid such as a piece of wood.

Acrylic Mirror Adhesive can be successfully used without any adverse effect on the acrylic mirror. A wire-hung mirror will tilt, reflecting more grass/floor than garden.

For more information about acrylic and polycarbonate garden mirrors cut to your specific size and / or shape visit The Plastic People or email their friendly team for help. Plastic experts, The Plastic People, favour acrylic mirror over glass mirror because it is shatter-proof, flexible and 17x stronger than glass whilst being half its weight, making it a safer, more practical choice.

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