How to Make a Fairy Garden

How to Make a Fairy Garden

fairy Jenn Huls/Shutterstock

A miniature garden has maximum potential. Just ask anyone who’s ever contemplated a fairy garden. When you see them on display—at a state fair or garden show, for example—fairy gardens always have a captive audience. Sometimes adults, often kids. And why not? These mini landscapes fire the imagination of young and old alike. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Think of a Theme

A fairy garden is about fantasy and imagination. You don’t have to limit yourself. Do you fancy purple unicorns and pink rabbits? If so, with a little paint, you can have exactly what suits your fancy. By the same token you can include small figurines representing anything from a kid fishing to a dog chasing a butterfly. Need some inspiration?

Here are 15 breathtaking DIY fairy gardens.

Find a Container

Although you can plant a fairy garden in the ground, a container can be raised to eye level and placed where the miniature landscape is best seen. Some good options you can pick up at a garage sale or thrift shop: an old drawer or tray, trunk or suitcase, bin or pan. Garden pots and windowboxes also work. Just be sure whatever you use has a hole for drainage.

Check out these 10 fairy garden containers for inspiration.

Start Collecting Materials

It’s helpful to start with a building. You can repurpose a dollhouse or customize an old birdhouse. What kinds of things are you looking for? Anything that resembles the real thing but in a smaller package. Popsicle sticks for roof slats. Bits and pieces from a shattered clay pot for stepping stones. Blue aquarium gravel for water in a stream or pond. Don’t forget to include the kids in your search for materials.

See some examples of perfect fairy garden houses that you can buy, here.

Augment with Purchased Accessories

Hopefully, you can find most of what you need for free or close to it. But, save a little of your budget to buy what you can’t find—things like tiny birds, animals, gnomes, fairies, bicycles. They’re available at crafts stores, garden supply companies, ETSY and Amazon. A few strategic items can really help make a unique fairy garden.

Here are some of our favorite fairy garden kits.

Get Your Plants

Look around for plants that could pass for miniature versions of full-size specimens. This would include those with small leaves and interesting textures, such as Irish moss, dwarf juniper, rosemary, oregano, moss phlox and portulaca. Since it’s a fairy garden, you can always mix in unusual plants that have that wonderland look, such as the cacti and red and orange celosia shown here. Augment, if needed, with items from the garden center.

Make a New World

Put down a layer of landscape fabric to keep soil from seeping through the drainage hole, then fill your container with a soilless potting mix that includes slow-release fertilizer and moisture-holding crystals (for easier maintenance). Place your largest hardscaping features, then start planting. Once the buildings, paths and plants are in place, you can move to the smaller details. Bright, indirect light and regular watering are best. A little morning sunlight is okay, but all-day sun can dry out miniature plants quickly.

These fairy garden accessories, including a fun little fence, are all available on Amazon.

Popular Videos

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.