Reflective Gardening – Mirroring a View


Did you ever consider how you view your garden? View it in a reflective way? Be reflective in a garden? Consider using a mirror in the garden? Adding water for its reflective qualities? How about a gazing ball? There is so many ways to add light and color, expand a view or have the view be expansive. Using reflection in garden design is a designer trick to add to the garden experience.


Many gardeners (above, Art of Gardening) in our area make use of mirrors in the gardens, especially those that do small space gardening. It makes the garden feel larger and if strategically placed, more flower-filled. In the case of the image above, it becomes a changing “painting” in the space. Notice next to it two other mirrors. The space is very well-appointed and designed.

A few things worth a mention, be considerate of birds. They have a tendency during mating season to fly right into a mirrored surface. Be considerate of neighboring properties too, since mirrors in a sunny location can redirect the rays of the sun in a glaring manner. A mirror in the garden can brighten a shady spot.


Large gardens approach the reflective design aspect of a garden a bit differently, using water to reflect back a pleasant view or in the case of this daylily garden, gazing balls. The orbs add sparkle and a bit of bling, yet had their beginnings in lure and legend. They were objects to keep evil at bay, bring good luck and prosperity, and a show of friendship through the ages. But they also were coveted for their reflective abilities, to see people entering a premises or even to spy on young lovers.

Click any image to see the garden of the gazing balls larger in the galleries below. The daylilies reflect back all the color and visual excitement of the gardens. One of the best uses of gazing orbs is when they are surrounded by multitudes of flowers. View both galleries for ideas and a splash of garden color.


I think the best use of reflection in a garden does it both in the most obvious way with an image reflecting back at the viewer, but also allowing for those inner reflective moments. Nothing does that better than adding water to a garden, not just a small artificial pond, but ponds of natural scale.


Click through the gallery for the sense of peace.

Notice in all these images why one would feel at peace and reflect back on times of joy, contentment and inner peace. What makes these places feel like someplace special? Is it the large towering trees? Most certainly that is one aspect of the experience. Tall trees are comforting and sheltering, they also make one feel small in relationship to the nature that surrounds. This is where being reflective comes in, especially if a garden sitting area is positioned by the water feature as in the case of all images shown from the vantage point of the seating in the gallery below.

How about the water. Water can be soothing in its calmness, silencing and masking the internal chatter we have in our daily lives. Do you notice the lawns? They are also a factor in the feeling of calm. Green is a color that elicits calm, restfulness, cheerfulness and makes one feel healthful. The blue sky above adds to the tranquility. The grass sets the scene and is nothing more than a foundation for the theater of nature in these large gardens. Water and trees equals wildlife and all the soothing sounds that one hears. Take a look through the gallery of calming scenes. See if you feel it.

Want to see some pretty hummingbirds in the garden?

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
This entry was posted in garden, Nature, photography, photos and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Reflective Gardening – Mirroring a View

  1. Mike says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for the article. 🙂

  2. meander1 says:

    Wow, I have never before appreciated the allure and charm of gazing balls as much as right now after reading this post. Thanks.

  3. Beside the water features, I had never thought about the other reflective ornaments and such. Great idea. You’re full of them. Thanks, Donna.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    I could not see all the photos for some reason. I am wondering if my computer is biting the dust. What I could see are beautiful.

  5. sulis303 says:

    great description and lovely photos… thanks…

  6. lucindalines says:

    Your pictures need to be published into a book that can be used in a painting class! Then tell me where to purchase it.

  7. I’m a big fan of small reflecting ponds. They do wonders for a garden and are especially lovely in the moonlight.

    • I like reflecting pools as well, but the setting of the larger ponds surrounded by huge trees is so therapeutic as Mike mentioned. It is the getting into the larger realm of nature, even if only on a large estate or public park. I agree on the moonlight too. I should get photos of that one day.

  8. Jardin says:

    Great post – thank you!

  9. Mike Powell says:

    I was especially drawn to the second half of your posting, full of images that captured so well the sense of peace and tranquility that is an integral part of what I experience in nature. It’s one of the main reasons why I spend so much time at my local marshland park, where I experience the beauty of large and small ponds in addition to the different creeks and the marsh itself. The changing weather makes these familiar place new each time that I visit. There is really something therapeutic about the kinds of places that you photographed so well.

    • Thank you Mike. I too have your same experiences in nature. Some of the spaces are large estates (one has swans), but going to nature parks is more rewarding. You are so right on the changing weather. I enjoy our local marshes very much, especially in early morning when the fog is rising. In winter we get rime over the Niagara River and that is really a treat.

  10. How beautiful! As you are probably already aware, reflections to me are a great source of inspiration. Thank you for those wonderful shots. 🙂

  11. I love the reflections in the gazing balls. And yes, just looking at your photos of the water is peaceful.

    • Funny thing, It was hard not to get into the reflection when I photographed. In Jim’s mirror I told him I was angling to avoid being in the shot. The gazing balls just grab too wide an angle.

  12. Aquileana says:

    Amazingly beautiful… Remarkable set of photos!… Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you, Aquileana 😀

    • Aquileana says:

      Dear Donna, I have just read your oustanding and “beautiful” post on beauty ( At: ) and wanted to congratulate you on it (comments were closed there).
      I do agree with you in many points there… The aesthetic experience is as you said both personal or indiviaul and cultural or social… The surrondings and particular circumstances also influence the way we perceive… I do think that Beauty might be a sort of hybrid which results of essential characteristics that are common among beautiful things and persons…But there is also a relative element (“The eye of the beholder” sees something or someone as beautiful…
      A whole concept of Beauty would include two pair of dimensions: body and soul (people) And: shape and content (things) …
      In the first case, beauty might be related with Godness and that would entrain an etical psychological perspective…
      In the second case, beautiful things seems to be, at least for me, uninterested… Those things would include art and nature… And would toss aside the functionality, utility or aim of a thing (artifact).
      Finally I think that we are surrounded by beauty… We just need to look closer and we will be able to find it even among darkness and no so purely beautiful things…
      Thank you very much for sharing that post with me… Reading it was wonderful and I couldn’t believe how well your post and mine fit one with the other!.

      Best wishes ❤ Aquileana 😀

      • Thank you for reading this post on beauty. I would encourage my readers to see your post as well.
        You have a very interesting perspective and very impelling views. In your post, all the sculpture is beautiful in any age. It makes one wonder why we see art in this manner where there can be almost unanimous agreement. Do we inherently see ourselves as beautiful or see an ideal in the human form always? I find more interest in just snapshots of parts of the human form – not necessarily the whole, but the parts making it up. The way a knee or arm bends and folds over the body. Of course this is in two-dimensional art only. Funny how if in two or three dimensions our view is changed.

  13. Pat says:

    i love the gazing balls.

  14. Annette says:

    I love water and have it all over the garden in various ways. Couldn’t be without it. The orbs can be nice and quite tasteful, I have two which complement the colours of the flowers. As for the mirror – I’ve been thinking of incorporating one in the design but fear that birds would fly into it. Might be an option in a more hidden corner.

    • I too would like a mirror in my garden, but attracting birds to my yard keeps it out. The orbs would get stolen in a city garden and water is limited to a small water feature. My writings and suggestions are often based on estate properties that I design or I visit. It is such a disadvantage at times having a tiny garden where I cannot show examples here. I can’t show client properties except an anonymous image here and there because I was told about it when I did by a client that was unhappy to see the landscape on the blog even though the home was not shown. It has to do with devaluing the design. Something about blogging not being professional.

  15. My Heartsong says:

    lovely and impressive shots. that first one is beautiful.No reflection of camera or yourself in the globes-well done.

  16. Good post. I have been tempted to buy a gazing ball, but I don’t think a mirror would work in our garden. One of the most wonderful things about Giverny was how the trees, especially the willow, were reflected in the pond.

    • I love public gardens because they have these spaces – all surrounded but lush gardens and green carpeting grass. As much as many hate turf grass, these are places where it is useful. Giverny has such lush beds with drifts and drifts of flowers too. I love willows planted pond-side. One of the best trees for reflecting. I take a lot of photos of willows.

  17. Again, a lot of great tips and suggestions. I have a couple of spots that might work really will with the inclusion of a mirror.

  18. Amazing, gaZing balls! I love that and the rest of the scenery…

  19. What gorgeous photos. I need a water feature in my garden. I would love to put in a pond but that seems like too big of a project.

  20. Oh to have a lake…. reflective water is such an important component in a garden.
    There was a fashion for mirrors in the garden here about 10 or so years ago and I was always worried about birds. Even the wing mirrors on our cars can cause problems – birds get exhausted attacking themselves in them. But water… water is wonderful!

  21. Such gorgeous gardens. The reflective balls are so pretty. Absolutely loved those last mosaic shots, so much lush greenery.

  22. A.M.B. says:

    These are such beautiful gardens. Just lovely. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  23. Love ALL of these, but that first planter is my favorite!

  24. bittster says:

    Those large, well tended gardens are a little intimidating, but beautiful. Makes me wonder about my own healthy weed population and why I can’t do better!
    You’re right about a natural pond surrounded by green. So relaxing.

  25. Brian Comeau says:

    Hi Donna, Some really creative shots here. The large photo by itself of the canopy of trees surrounding the pond just above is beautiful. I really like that 3rd shot of the ball as well.

    I hope you are still able to make your way over to see the east coast and the bay…. Keep me posted.

  26. Garden is Art! This post shares the artistic creativity involved in gardening. I am in love with these photos!

  27. I liked the double meaning of reflective here…the reflective garden as a peaceful place and using water, mirrors etc to reflect more light and images in the garden…I noticed lots of mirrors on thos garden walks but I do not use that here. I do have a pond and I have a reflecting ball but it is buried behind an overgrown stand of Joe Pye this year… is in an area that has become boggy and needs to be moved….you have me thinking now and I might just add a mirror.

  28. John says:

    Your photography is incredible, nevermind the scenery. Great post!

Comments are closed.