How to Create a Fairy Garden: Your Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re looking for a fun addition to your outdoor space or a craft project for kids, creating a fairy garden fits the bill. These miniature gardens consist of small landscapes filled with small plants, and trinkets designed to “attract” fairies to your garden. It’s simple to get started, and customizing the garden with special touches is where the magic lives. You don’t even have to believe in fairies, but if you do, even better. Here’s how to get started.
Fairy Garden Ingredients
- Potting mix
- A container with drainage holes
- Plants, twigs, and/or flowers
- Pea gravel, pebbles, glass marbles
- Mini garden decorations such as a fairy house, mini table and chairs, and a fence
Decide your theme first. Are you going with English cottage, a forest backdrop, or a tree house? Beach themes fit the Southern California landscape nicely, but the sky’s the limit. Pick whatever theme matches your existing garden or your imagination. Whatever style you choose will help decide which accessories and plants to fill your garden with after it’s created.
Some themes include:
- Wooded wonderland
- Tree interiors
- Fairy home
- Fairy city
Once you decide your theme, choose a location to house your fairy garden. You may select an indoor or outdoor location, you just need to ensure your container will fit the space. Collect the materials you need to fit your theme. Craft stores, nurseries, and online comprise the best sources to shop for fairy garden materials. If you’re going with the beach theme, get your shells and sand; for a forest backdrop, pick up peat moss and plenty of plants.
Select Your Container —
Choose almost any container for your project. Whatever you pick will need drainage holes because you’ll be using live plants. Glass bowls, terrariums, and terra cotta pots all work well.
Other containers include:
- Flower pots
- Tin buckets
- Wooden boxes
- Large bowls
- Baby tubs
Make sure your container measures at least six inches deep and approximately 14 inches across to accommodate enough features and plants to build a proper fairy garden.
Building Your Garden
Choose composted soil full of organic matter and small bark pieces to lend the most “alive” look to your fairy garden. Ensure proper drainage by adding a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of your container. It’s also a good idea to include a layer of charcoal to keep the garden fresh.
Fill the container with potting soil and add bark, pebbles, or moss on top to create paths for the fairies.
Narrow your plant selection by considering where your fairy garden is located. If outdoors, will the garden be in full or partial sun? If indoors, pick your plants accordingly because some plants don’t do well indoors. Choose miniature plants for your landscape and flowers for color and visual interest. Select options with interesting shapes and texture. Don’t overcrowd the container because you’ll be adding additional items and accessories to make your garden a fairy home. However, clumping plants together in some areas make for good fairy hiding places. Look for two-to-three-inch plant pots with low-growing and small-leaf plants that will be easy to grow and maintain. And as always, use your imagination. Some plants can be pruned to look like tiny trees. Rosemary is a fine example of this strategy.
Good plants for fairy gardens include:
- Baby tears (for ground cover)
- Ornamental strawberry (another ground cover option)
- Wooly thyme (more ground cover)
- Miniature roses
- Tiny violas
- Small bonsai trees
- Licorice plants
Here comes the fun part. Decorate your garden with small mushroom stools, little benches, a fairy house, fences (popsicle sticks can be repurposed nicely as fairy fences), and fairy lights. Make your own accents or buy online – there’s plenty of sources, and a list follows below.
Some popular fairy garden decorations include miniature versions of:
- Watering cans
- Don’t forget the fairies themselves!
For make your own elements, use sculpting clay to make mushrooms or a table, wire sticks together for a small fence, design a mini garden gazing ball with a marble hot glued to a small stick or golf tee. Customize a small birdhouse by gluing pebbles to the roof and moss to the siding. Make a birdbath and glue a small terra cotta pot to a saucer.
One cute do-it-yourself container idea is to take a large broken terra cotta flower pot, and insert the broken pieces into the soil as steps leading to the top of the fairy kingdom.
Example of a Theme: Beach Scene
If you decide on a beach theme for your fairy garden, try using a seashell planter (make sure it can drain properly) and plant some eye-catching elements to include beach chairs fashioned from popsicle sticks, shells, tiny pieces of driftwood, flat, shiny glass stones used to make “water”, tiny sago palms, and mini mounds of sand. For a cute accent, take two sturdy sticks, hot glue a piece of wire or twine between them, and affix tiny shells to the wire or twine to make a beach light stand. Add mini tiki huts using raffia for the roof.
Sources for Fairy Accents
There’s no shortage of places to find fairy furniture and garden accents. Try Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, craft stores, flea markets, thrift stores, gardening supply shops, nurseries and garage sales. Keep an eye out for Christmas miniatures – the houses and furniture make great fairy garden additions, craft items such as twine, wire, and sticks for do-it-yourself projects, and garden elements such as river rock, glass marbles, and mini wind chimes.
For online specialty shopping, browse some of these sources:
Designing a fairy garden can be addictive. There are so many different themes and accessories that you’ll probably never run out of design ideas. Add the fact that fairy gardens are fairly easy to build and you may never stop adding these magical wonders to your garden.
Have you created a fairy garden? Share your photos on our Facebook page!
Photos: Flickr/Creative Commons, https://www.facebook.com/fairygardenstore