When a friend first saw our little unit for the first time she tentatively asked if we would find the closeness of the fences in the rear courtyard claustrophobic. Living on a large property bordering the beach I can certainly understand how this would be the case for her, but coming from a small suburban block I had no doubt the confines of a courtyard garden wouldn’t bother us. However, her comment still prompted investigation into successfully creating an illusion of space.
Our last house was dark and tiny, so we used mirrors to bring light indoors and to create the illusion of more space. We hadn’t realised how effectively it had worked until we were packing to move. Once the mirrors were off the walls the place looked about half the size, and looked gloomy and dark. So we looked for outdoor mirrors for our courtyard – most mirrors specifically for outdoor use seem to be very ornate and expensive. We didn’t want ornate, and we certainly didn’t want expensive. A bit of further research indicated that almost any mirror could be used outdoors providing the frame was sealed.
We didn’t want framed either. After a bit if searching we decided that the plain full length mirrors from Bunnings, the type that you would attach to the back of a door, would probably do the trick. They’re vinyl backed for safety, and without any frame or any gap between the glass and the vinyl back we’re hoping the weather won’t get in and spoil them to quickly. At the cost of $29 each, should they need replacing every couple of years, we can live with that.
I supervised while Paul did the work. Poor Paul – he gets a hard time of it when I have a plan that requires his dexterity, height, strength, and knowledge of tools to implement. In this case I had him hanging artificial screening against the parapet wall, with the mirrors attached in between. He gets so frustrated with me when I want things placed a cm or two away from where it’ll easily go. He’s very patient, but there’s times when I test his limits I’m sure.
Yesterday we made a good start. The screening is up over one section, and two mirrors are in place. A couple of nice planter troughs are in front, and the Golden Cane Palms have been hacked apart and planted in the two troughs. I’ve never separated Golden Canes before so I hope they withstand brutally being split up with the help of a hack saw. In between the troughs we’ve placed potted spider plants. I think it’s achieving the desired effect.
Paul successfully managed to find a way to attach the mirrors to the parapet wall. Now we (he) has to find a way to attach them to a corrugated, colour bond fence. We can’t very well screw brackets up as the screws would go through to the neighbours side, so we’re going to give double sided tape a go. The plan is to go all the way around with several more mirrors, and perhaps, in time, a few more of the planter troughs. The troughs are expensive, but I think being such a small area it needs some sort of uniformity so as not to look higgledy-piggledy and cluttered.
Here’s a before and after shot side by side. Of course real creepers as the back drop would be lovely, but nah! to that sort of trimming. We’ll just make do with real potted plants in front of it all. I think we’re achieving the desired effect. What do you think?