I've always been drawn to tiny things. When I was little, I loved dollhouses. As an adult, I relish the challenge of squeezing a tiny garden into the available space in my tiny apartment. So writing this post about fairy gardens was a sweet little journey for me, because fairy gardens combine the joys of growing things and the joy of creating tiny, perfect little worlds. Whether you're already convinced and looking for ideas, or you're new to this tiny world, I invite you to come along with me, to a place where the landscapes you create can be as small as the space you have, and as big as your imagination.
Fairy Garden Ideas
This overhead view from The Mini Gardener is a good introduction to the world of fairy gardens. Within a fairly typical planter, it creates a tiny world, with small-scale plants that resemble trees and bushes but are only a few inches tall. The miniature path, and the miniature accessories like the table and chairs, complete the impression being inside a tiny, whimsical little world.
This fairy garden from Homestead Greenhouse, situated inside a large terra cotta pot, has a wilder, more overgrown appearance, like an English garden. (The tiny plants in tiny pots are a nice touch.)
Tons of individual dried beans make up a walkway in this miniature garden from Beneath the Ferns, which just shows you some of the creativity, detail and time that goes into making these little worlds. Also lead image above.
Most fairy gardens are built to resemble an actual garden, but this one, from Doodle Birdie, mimics a natural landscape. As such, it feels a bit less cutesy and more modern than some of the other options out there, and is a great habitat for your less domesticated fairies. (This terrarium is also available for purchase, although at $242.10 it's quite a bit more expensive than making your own.)
This fairy garden, from Burgh Baby, occupies a galvanized tub and is quite a bit larger than many others that you see. The flowering plants are a nice touch.
This fairy garden, a 2014 contest winner from The Magic Onions, really digs in hard (was that a pun?) on creating an imaginary world. Whether you choose to emphasize the fairy part or the garden part, there's a lot of scope for the imagination when it comes to these tiny gardens.
And don't feel like you need to stick to the same theme. Here's one from Etsy that's a carnival garden, instead of the traditional magical fare. (It's also available as a fairy garden kit for $89.95.)
And then, sometimes there's no container needed. Can you imagine just randomly stumbling across this one in the woods? It was made by Elowezil, and it really is magical, down to the door leading "into" the tree.
Fairy Garden Supplies
Where do you get all this tiny stuff, anyway? A good place to start is at craft stores that sell dollhouse furniture and miniatures, which are the perfect scale for fairy gardens as well.
- Etsy is a treasure trove for tiny handmade furniture and garden decor, as well as the plants themselves. Above, Fairy Elements sells these tiny teepees, hammocks and bunting that are too cute for words. Check out the mini outdoor campfire with mini s'mores from Hello Little Cloud.
- If you're looking for something very specific, Factory Direct Craft has a great selection online, including a lot of very convincing outdoor furniture. There are also dollhouse-centric websites like Miniature Marketplace and Miniatures.com.
- When it comes to finding tiny plants that will thrive in a small pot, your best resource is your local garden center, where experts can recommend plantings that will work with your climate. For online shopping, the Two Green Thumbs shop has lots of mini plants.
- Don't forget the dollhouse section of big box chains like Joann, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.
Fairy Garden Kits
If you'd prefer not to source all the items on your own, but the idea of creating a fairy garden appeals to you, there are plenty of places to buy kits. These also make great gifts all boxed up, like the one from the Felted Tree on Etsy, above. It's got everything you need to create a fairy garden except the dirt and plants, including a miniature house and fence.
- This fairy garden kit from the Home Depot is just $14.99. You won't get any plants, but it does include a polyresin house, an arbor, fencing, and outdoor furniture. (The furniture and the house are on completely different scales, so if that sort of thing bothers you, don't buy this kit.)
- If you really want to go nuts, you can buy this grab bag of cutesy, outdoorsy miniatures from The Felted Tree on Etsy, starting at $14.35.
- This little garden kit is perfect for a smaller miniature garden, with two plants, a paving kit, and a tiny birdbath. It's $29.99 from Janit on Etsy. All you need is dirt and a pot.
- If you're looking for just plants, this set of three from Hirts Gardens is a good place to start. It's just $14, and you get miniature plants, sheet moss, and even potting soil.
DIY Fairy Gardens
Looking for a step-by-step intro to the world of fairy gardens? Here are some beautiful, inspiring gardens whose creators were kind enough to include step-by-step instructions for creating them.
The good people at Craftuts+ walk us through the steps required to create a gorgeous miniature re-creation of Bilbo's home at Bag End. There are lots of great details here, and also helpful tips for any kind of miniature garden, Middle Earth-themed or not.
For those working with really really small spaces, there's this tiny teacup miniature garden from Life is a Party.
On the other hand, this fairy garden setup from By Stephanie Lynn provides plenty of space for different plantings, with step-by-step introductions for setting up the nested pots.
The folks at Lush Little Landscapes have lots of ideas for miniature gardens — there are project ideas, but also suggestions for plants that will thrive in a very very small space.
Over at Empress of Dirt, Janet Calvo has all kinds of recommendations for the best plants for miniature gardens.
Fairy Garden Containers
Many fairy gardens use planters, terra cotta pots, or galvanized buckets as their base, but anything that holds dirt will do. (Preferably it would be something with drainage holes in the bottom, to prevent your plants from getting waterlogged.) I've seen teacups used for smaller setups, and wheelbarrows for larger ones. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it's waterproof — and if it's not, protect it with a plastic inner liner.
Okay now — time to get (fairy) gardening!