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A Secret Garden


There are many valid reasons that make us build tall fences around our property: privacy, security, noise protection... On the down side, these tall fences can result in a barrier that may also make your yard seem small or possibly create an oppressive sense of being closed in. As the yard is a visible extension of our living spaces, it's important that we give the same care in designing these spaces as we would in designing our homes interiors. A welcoming outdoor area, big or small, will add a sense of calm to your living areas, improving the enjoyment of your home, and easy access in and around it, as well as a sense of outlook, help to spend more time outdoors and ultimately it also increases your property's market value.

All images by James Treble at Eden Brae display homes

Let's say you have tried to make the most of your backyard by landscaping and styling it, but you still feel it's closed in and there's nothing more you can think of doing. Or it may be good in size, but its tall fencing looks ugly and daunting. Does this sound familiar? Are you wanting to add more breadth to your backyard? Well apart from purchasing the neighbouring block, which is obviously not an option (LOL) then there is one trick that's sure to double the extension of your yard, or at least give you the impression of it.

Add a large exterior mirror to your outdoor styling and let this timeless trick work its wonders.

Not sure? Well, look again at the images above; do you spot the mirror now? You probably didn't see the mirrors before, because you simply enjoyed the overall impression you got from the images and took for granted that the extension you saw was real... In fact, most of the appreciation we gain of our surroundings is established by the initial and instinctive response of our senses. The power of First Impressions pushes us to 'like' or 'dislike' the area in a matter of seconds, and here, of course the pool is very inviting, but that open space behind it, is actually a reflection of the house I'm standing in! It adds so much depth and is so effective, right?

A cleverly placed mirror will increase the sense of space to your backyard, making an ugly fence disappear as it cleverly doubles the number of plants, just like magic! Large or small, obvious or disguised, mirrors have been used for centuries as a very effective way to bounce light around and easily double the feel in size of rooms. It's a trick that still works! Why not use it?

Some tips:

  • Large size mirrors are very effective, but don't dismiss experimenting with smaller ones to open narrow spaces and add intriguing illusions.

  • Play this trick against the fencing you don't want to see, or a wall you wish that wasn't there, is a great design solution.

  • Place the mirror so its reflective illusion can also be enjoyed from inside your home.

  • High gloss acrylic panels, and highly polished stainless steel, are also effective options for outdoor reflective surfaces.

  • Add large plants around it and in front to disguise its edges and allow for the mirror to work its wonders undetected.

  • Save money by searching in second hand stores - recycling old sliding robe doors, is a very cost effective way of getting a large format mirror

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.

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How to increase real estate value. Cherie Barber & James Treble Interior Design For Profit Best Online Course. Australia UK USA. Study and learn from the professionals. Years of proven renovation experience and successful business practice. Designer Stylist Decorator Renovator Real Estate Agent teaches you how to make the most out of your property value when selling renting out or for yourself and your own home. Decorate the house, Style the apartment, learn how to and DIY Do It Yourself with easy instructions and earn money.
James Treble - Practical Interior Design