10+ inspirational mirror placements in outdoor spaces

25 June 2017 · 1 comment

in 10 Outdoor Ideas Series, Art & Music Outdoors, Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Early Years Outdoors

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Yesterday I made a return visit to Highway Farm Little Explorers Outdoor Nursery. As usual, I was delighted to see how the place continues to involve in creative ways which are well worth sharing. The placement and quantities of mirrors around the site really caught my attention. The reflections represent beauty, intrigue, exploration and investigation. Careful placement can arouse curiosity and questions as well as making a nook or cranny look and feel bigger. Here’s some ideas gathered from Highway Farm and other places to help you reflect upon the value of mirrors outside…

1. Have a mirror at the entrance

Then children can see themselves being welcomed as they are waiting to enter the nursery.

2. Use old mirrors in art work

Yes, this takes a little bit of care. But little children are careful and can be shown how to handle sharp materials with appropriate support and supervision.

3. Insert mirrors in the sand pit and waterways

I loved the addition of mirrors below each of the waterfalls in the sandpit.

4. Have mirrors at different heights

Look carefully at the photo below. The chair on the left has a lovely circle in the back, just at the height of a young child. There is also a mirror just above the chair on the right.

5. Place mirrors in subtle places

This mirror can only be seen if you are sitting in the chair. Clever. Very clever. I almost missed it.

6. Put little mirrors in little places

Mirrors can be small and add a sparkle to a dark corner or wall. They will brighten up a space in a quiet fashion.

7. Search out distorting mirrors and ones which create unusual patterns

This one I found at Butterflies Nursery in Sulby, Isle of Man. Apparently it is very old and much loved.

8. Make mirror mobiles

They can blend into the environment surprisingly well as they reflect their surroundings. They will move with the wind and thus create a magical feel of “now you see me, now you don’t” which  simultaneously can be fascinating and calming.

9. Enable everyone to see round corners

Put convex mirrors where you wish to see round a corner. As a child I was intrigued by this concept and still am! It’s also very useful in settings where staff feel they have to be able to see the children at all times.

10. Bring your environment into the mirror

This photo is a tiny part of  a wonderful tile sculpture, The Forest by Jim Lambie at Jupiter Artland. Adding mirror tiles in different ways can add interest and value. Be inspired! You can create lots of funky displays that may be traditional or distorting or a little bit of both.

11. Use mirrored signs.

There are letters and numbers, as well as signs like the one below which enable mirrors to be added into an outdoor space in a quiet way.

Things to consider around the use of mirrors outside

  •  When putting mirrors up outside to take account of how birds use your outdoor space – if they start flying into the mirror, then it will need to be repositioned as they won’t be recognising the mirror for what it is.
  • Check the placement of a fixed mirror in relation to the sun – don’t inadvertently make a fire hazard.
  • Put safety film on glass mirrors to stop them shattering.
  • Acrylic mirrors often scratch more easily than plastic ones as a general rule. Don’t be afraid to leave the plastic film on these for as long as possible to preserve their outdoor shelf life.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

peter ellse August 22, 2017 at 13:11

hi juliet

its worth saying that acrylic mirrors when they get surface scratched can often be rejuvenated with a quick wipe of white spirit.



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