What is a Fairy Garden? And How To Build One.

Is there a little nook in your garden or house that is brimming with magic? If there isn’t, then you probably haven’t been enamored by putting a little fairy garden there (yet).

Yes, it’s straightforward to just dismiss the power and beauty of a fairy garden. Still, once you take a closer look at this growing movement to invite more magic into your family’s lives, you just cannot help but smile. If you feel a little enchanted, just imagine how your kids will feel.

For centuries, humans have a fascination with tiny kingdoms; Bonsai trees date back over a thousand years, and miniature gardens have been around for a long time too. It could have been Disney’s Tinker Bell that encouraged the modern-day fairy epidemic. However, Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies have enchanted adults and children for almost a century too. The idea of fairies is just too magical to resist.

( source :
https://freevintageillustrations.com/public-domain-vintage-illustrations-of-gnomes-and-fairies/fairies-pic-1 )

However, this fairy garden epidemic has come from placing little doors in trees and crevices, where fairies might like to live. When children (and adults) come across them, their eyes light up with imagination and wonder at the possibility of a fairy being behind that door.  And it’s not just fairies that come out of these doors, but other things like mischievous elves that visit around Christmas time, but that’s a topic for another day,

From this door trend, blossomed the fairy garden trend as it literally brings the fairy magic to your doorstep in the form of a miniature garden.  A garden, especially made to lure fairies into your space and bring you good luck.  Often fairy gardens are created with a fairy house and have real mini plants for the fairies to tend to and take care of.  You can then add additional accessories like wishing wells and bridges to create more allurement.

Think of all the different garden scenarios you could create, will it have a pond, a beach, flowers or a tree, steps, slides or swings for a little fun? The design and what you include is whatever you and your kid’s minds can conjure up. And kids can come up with some wonderful ideas (as can adults when they get into it).

Children of all ages become mesmerized by the enchanting prospect of creating a fairy garden. In fact, it can become a family hobby, as the gardens can be rearranged or added to.  There might be other ones made for fairies into cars and making friends with Avenger characters, or Dad’s idea of a mini fairy golf course could be fun to create.

In addition to this, your family could even get the gardening bug and become green-fingered. The fairies can help you all look after some home-grown vegetables, herbs or mini strawberries.

Fairy gardens are something you can create regardless of if you have a garden or not, as it can be both an indoor and outdoor family activity.

How Do You Create A Fairy Garden?

You create a fairy garden with a lot of imagination. Between you and the kids, I’m sure there will be epic ideas aplenty, but it might take a little creativity and ingenuity to make them a reality – that’s where the fun is.

I have boiled down creating your very own miniature fairy garden indoors or out into 5 steps.

Step 1: Find a container, any container.
What is a Fairy Garden?

When you are looking for something to create a fairy garden in – any container is the goal! Look around and see what you can find and don’t forget to check the loft, garden or shed! Here are some ideas of containers you might come across from the top of my head:

  • Broken Plant Pots
  • Old barbecue grill
  • Old teacup and saucer
  • Broken Drawers
  • Easter Baskets
  • Hamper baskets
  • Fruit bowls
  • Wooden barrel
  • Birdbath
  • Clear glass pedestal bowl
  • Terrarium
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Twiggy orb
  • Medium or large seashells
  • Plastic milk containers
  • Watering can
  • Bucket
  • Odd wellie boot

Of course, the size of this container will determine whether this will be an indoor pursuit or not. Think about what room in the house could do with a little cheering up, or what corner or table could be made more radiant from the glow of fairy magic at work. Is there a corner of the garden that doesn’t get played in, or doesn’t run the risk of being hit by a ball or trampled by an over-enthusiastic child.

Step 2: Decide the type of fairy garden you are going to create.

Is your garden going to be a place for a fairy to stay, a resting point before an onward journey, an oasis, or a center of activity with lots of things to do and see?

It might fun to think if I was a fairy, what would I like to do? You might come up with ideas like tea parties, hanging around toadstools, going to outer space, a house in with the fishes for any visiting water fairies, or an exact match of your house, but in miniature – any theme goes!

What is a Fairy Garden?

If the visiting fairy is going to need somewhere to live, will it be a mansion, house, caravan or treehouse or anything in between? Is it going to made from natural materials or a stylish upcycle project from things from plastic or cardboard from the recycling pile? Would an old wooden birdhouse do the trick? It might to get the clay out and make brick by brick, or the whole structure.

If you need a little extra inspiration for ideas, these websites are choc-a-block with imagination sparks:

https://homebnc.com/best-diy-miniature-fairy-garden-design-ideas/
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/melissapeterson/fabulous-fairy-gardens/
https://www.prudentpennypincher.com/100-best-fairy-garden-ideas/

By the end of this exploratory step, you will have several ideas for your first fairy garden (and probably many more besides), but you will need to decide on one. Although if you want a fairy village, keep a note of all those ideas.

Step 3 (Optional): Sketch out the layout of your fairy garden on a piece of paper.

You don’t have to be a budding architect for this step. Still, a sketch of ideas and placement of special fairy goodies and structures would be useful to keep on track. 

It is fun to draw fairy houses and what wonderful adornments they might have, or it could even have just a door to the fairy version of Narnia. Will the garden have a pond, or a path, somewhere to sit? Will it have a little fairy swing or be a fairy park where all the other birds and little creatures can join in the fun?

Sketching your ideas almost makes them come alive and gives them substance and a plan to go forward. One good way of doing this as a family is to get a big sheet of paper and everyone draws their input. That way it also has a little of everyone’s personality and ideas going forward.

Or you might just like to start making your fairy garden and see what transpires. It entirely depends on what suits your family best.

Step 4: Decide what plants you are going to put in your fairy garden.

First, you need to pick the soil for the base of your fairy garden – a good choice is compost soil with organic matter and bark pieces as that tends to make the garden look more alive. Don’t forget the layer of gravel at the bottom to ensure proper drainage. Then add potting soil and add grass, pebbles of moss to create fairy paths.

The simplest thing you could do is grow some grass and keep it trimmed down with a pair of nail scissors. This really is the simplest thing you can do, this part can be as exciting as all the other steps with all the potential beauty and magic you can create as a family.

You can pick a small tree as the main focal point for your garden. There are many small trees available like miniature pine or false cypress. You can pick just one or have a whole fairy forest, or for a more rainforest-like look, you might consider Parlor Palm.

Equally succulent plants are like trees and bushes to fairies and many different varieties could help your fairy garden look like an exotic oasis. It might even make you wish you were a fairy to enjoy the sights and comfort!

Herbs like sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme or even the tiny ornamental strawberries are also a possibility to include. 

An extra little idea is to leave a little tiny watering can there so the fairies to attend to their own little garden. The watering can could move places in the garden during the night to excite the children at the prospect of a fairy visiting them.

Delicate flowers like daisies, forget-me-nots, miniature daffodils, crocuses, miniature roses or any small flowering plant can be chosen for your garden, depending on the color and effect you wish to achieve. Moss is great for achieving a forest floor look, and the added real (non-poisonous) mushroom would look good to a visiting fairy too- a real home from home!

One thing to consider is whether the plants are suitable for where your fairy garden is situated, as some fresh air rather than being cooped up in a house.  

If you wanted to do some extra research on what plants are available to choose from, you can search for miniature gardens or fairy gardens online and also a lot of garden centers will have fairy or miniature garden displays. 

Here are a couple of resources to look at some fairy garden plants you could use:
https://empressofdirt.net/plants-for-miniature-gardens/
https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/projects/top-plants-for-fairy-gardens/

Step 5: Adding Miniature Fairy Garden Accessories

What is going to make your fairy garden extra special? All the fairy garden accessories can be handmade, built from nature or from just about anything, bought or a combination of the two. One thing you might want to keep in mind is scale, as you may desire everything in the garden to be in proportion.

I’m going to talk about some of the things that you can make by hand first and then we will have a look at what is available to buy to help add those quintessential magic touches.

You could take the hot glue gun approach and find lots of twigs, and rocks (or build mini bricks out of clay) and stick them all together to create the house shape you desire. Whether that be a lighthouse, a castle, a sweet little bungalow, or a brand new family created house shape. Any of those a fairy would find habitable as they would know that it was created by a family with love.

A nice touch is a swing made from a bent-over branch, the swing can be attached with a pair of screws and twine and become a place for a fairy to swing lost in whimsical thought or daydreaming about whatever fairies dream about.

A small birdhouse is a perfect size for a fairy house and you can decorate it with nice inviting curtains and add a door. Or maybe something simple like a flycatcher curtain with strands of embroidery thread to keep the fairy house fly free. The roof could also be adorned with dead dried leaves to give it a natural look. Or you could use twigs or other natural materials.

Fairy gardens are a great reason to get the plasticine or clay and paint out so you can make noble and mystical beasts (or regular animals) to enchant and captivate the fairies. A lovely idea I saw was to make snails, with marbles as their shells. Lookout in the thrift shops too for any little ornaments that might want a fairy as a friend.

Some other nice touches include using a small mirror to make a great mystical pond or a shell filled with water gives a delightful look. A few handmade or bought mushrooms would make it very attractive to a fairy. If you want your fairy garden to be surrounded by a white picket fence, you can either paint matchsticks or lollipop sticks white and attach them with dental floss or white wool.

Where to Find Miniature Fairy Garden Accessories.

Fairy garden popularity has grown so much that if you want to add a little shop-bought accessory or two to enhance your fairy garden there are plenty available.  One thing to keep in mind is scale if you want everything in the garden to be in the same proportions that is.  I know that will be important to some people but not all.

I think looking through what is available also sparks more creativity, imagination or ideas.

Here are 10 great Miniature Fairy Garden Accessories you can find on Amazon.

  1. Every fairy garden has got to have mushrooms, whether they are handmade ones or a shop-bought one.  You could take it one step further and buy them a mushroom house.  I can’t think of a better home for a fairy.  Well, I can (like watering cans and old boots), but this one is definitely one of the top ones in my opinion. Click here to view.
  2. Some people might want to give the planning stage a miss and buy a fairy garden kit and put that together. This way you could add a personal touch here and there to customize it and make it unique to your family. This garden fairy kit has everything you need to get started, including soil, seeds, unicorn, turtle, and fairy! Click here to view.
  3. You don’t even have to include real plants if you don’t have a green finger in the family, or maybe just some grass, and then you can add some pretty fake trees like these. I don’t know why but looking at these trees makes me think a miniature railway track. I’m sure a fairy could have good fun on one of those . Click here to view.
  4. When you have all the main components in your fairy garden in place, this set of accessories will give your garden an extra level of adorableness, especially as they are all hand-painted, so a homely look remains. Click here to view.
  5. If you have the garden part sorted and have no idea what to do for a house, or need a weatherproof house, then these resin stone houses could be just what you are looking for.  This set contains 4 different shaped houses, perhaps you could get the fairy to leave a twig next to the one they like best. Click here to view.
  6. What is better than one fairy?  Yes, two fairies!  With this inviting table and chair set, two fairies can get sit together and natter in the comfort of your idyllic fairy garden setting.  Maybe while gazing at a beautiful pond, looking at the gorgeous flowers, or in the shade of a nice juicy succulent bush. Click here to view.
  7. A useful accessory to buy is steps, especially is you are using broken plant pots to create your fairy garden, or it has different layers. Hence, the fairies need a way to get from layer to layer.  While a slide might be fun and goodness knows kids like to run up them, steps could be helpful, as their wings might be tired from all the flying they have to do (and steps can be a little tricky to make). Click here to view.
  8. You know what is made especially for fairies, so they can make their way around in the dark? Yes, fairy lights.  They make good beacons to attract fairies.  Also, while you are sleeping they can throw parties and dance around the mushrooms with sparkling fairy lights as the stars and the house night lamp as the moon. Click here to view.
  9. A nice thing to think about when choosing accessories is what would you like to have in a garden.  I’d like somewhere to relax, lie down and watch the birds singing and the little animals playing.  I’d look up and see beautiful roses entwined above me, or perhaps have some lush miniature strawberries I could just reach up and grab. Something like one of these would be perfect and I defy any fairy not to enjoy it too. Click here to view.
  10. Lastly, as its recommendations from Amazon, I thought I’d better include a book on the list.  This book has beautiful photos that show you step by step how to make beautiful natural additions to your fairy garden.  You’ll see ideas cups from acorn lids, beds from flowers and chairs from moss and bark.  It will truly inspire you with your fairy garden creations. Click here to view.
Conclusion

We generally do not spend enough time together as a family in this day and age, with our noses buried in computers, tablets, video games, or work. Coming together to create a magical world by using the family’s combined imaginations will also create magical memories as well as a lasting memory to look at and admire.

And if you really can’t bear the thought of making it a ‘fairy’ garden, maybe it could be a miniature garden for Darth Vader to find his good side or include a Venus fly trap to catch the evil fairies that have been turned into flies. 

The primary purpose of a family activity like this is to have fun together, which really means anything goes and as you have seen with the ideas and resources shared here, the opportunities are virtually endless. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be and a family project that might just turn into a family hobby.

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