Make Magic With Garden Special Effects

Fancy theatrical flair in your garden? Try mirrors, paint, shadows and more.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Doug Yaney,

Mirrored Obelisk Gives Illusion of Space

Using mirrors is a clever way to double the effect of flowers by giving the illusion of space. In this garden, a mirrored obelisk becomes the focal point and reflects the flowers in bordering beds.

Trellis Mirror Transforms Tiny Space

A mirror placed in a garden trellis helps to transform this small space by illuminating it visually and doubling the size of the garden by reflection.

Garden Wall Art Fondly Recalls Tuscany

Artwork is painted on a garden wall to resemble a Tuscan hillside. Plantings around the scene help to recreate a favorite family vacation to that area.

Shadow Play

Bamboo leaves are shadowed across horizontal strips of ranch fencing in this contemporary garden.

Intricate Metal Grille

An intricate grille was used to cast a dramatic shadow in this show garden from Australian designer Jack Merlo.

Bamboo Bonus

Lightweight bamboo shades make an excellent sun screen, and cast shadows that appear to texture the surfaces below.

Give Peace a Chance

The shadows created in this modern setting are an integral part of the garden composition that suggests an inner peace and place to unwind.

Reflection Perfection

The recessed areas of this garden terrace are reflective creating an illusion that the space is bigger than it actually is.

Mirror, Mirror

A black liner installed in this small pool turns the water into a mirrored surface, reflecting light out into this small garden space.

Double Your Plantings

A mirror on the rear wall of this small space reflects the plantings and makes them appear far more lush. Two yellow stemmed bamboo plants appear as four by reflection.

What's Your Angle?

A metal latticed wall is filled with mirrors angled to show off plantings and a water feature to their best advantage.

Under the Sun

Strong colors, such as this striking orange and cobalt blue, come to life in the sun. The scene looks like a stage set, complete with special effects lighting that casts dramatic shadows and brings out different tones and colors.

Heavy Metal

Metal used for plant containers reflects like a mirror, bringing new light into the garden. In the container, spiky cordyline leaves are the main focus.

Acrylic Perspectives

At England's 2003 Westonbirt Festival, this garden space uses sliding screens made from acrylic laminated with radiant films. The screens reflect different colors, and “project” them onto gravel and plantings behind.

Mirror Image

Cleverly positioned by the edge of a pool, this pink, fish-shaped sculptural screen is mirrored in the water. This creates a great 3-D image effect, and also paints a picture where one block of color remains static while the other shimmers.

Repurposed Magic

The mirror behind this old window frame reflects the plants in front, creating a sense of depth in the garden.

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