To improve the mechanical characteristics of actively controlled continuous faceplate deformable mirrors in adaptive optics, a strategy for reducing crosstalk between adjacent actuators and for suppressing low-order eigenmodes is proposed. The strategy can be seen as extending Saint-Venant's principle beyond the static case, for small local families of actuators. An analytic model is presented, from which we show the feasibility of the local control. Also, we demonstrate how eigenmodes and eigenfrequencies are affected by mirror parameters, such as thickness, diameter, Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, and density. This analysis is used to evaluate the design strategy for a large deformable mirror, and how many actuators are needed within a family.