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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Creating a Fairy Garden

Creating a Fairy Garden

Believe it or not, fairy gardens are not hard to create.  They can be created so that they are part of your landscape, be made inside a container or made from a landscaping negative, such as a tree stump.  As far as fairy gardens go, you are only limited by your imagination.

Below are the basic instructions for creating a landscape version of a fairy garden and a container fairy garden.

Landscape Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens in a landscape design can add that little touch of whimsy that many gardens lack.  It can also be used to turn a problem area into a showpiece.  The first step of this process is to look around your garden space.   Look for unique areas that need a touch of unexpected fancy.  If your head is spinning now, here are a few ideas.  Consider creating a garden around a tree with exposed roots.  How about that old tree stump that you have been trying to get rid of.   While these are just a few ideas, all of these areas would be perfect for a fairy garden.

Now that you have a location, the next step is to come up with a plan.  While you feel that a fairy garden is just an experiment in design and does not require a plan, I can tell you that without a plan your garden will fail.  But what do you need for this plan?  Well, the size of the garden needs to be decided along with the amount of time you plan on care and maintenance.   Next, you need to establish a budget and adjust the size as needed according to your budget.  Now, draw out your design.  Important things to include in this drawing are where existing features are located, such as roots.  Next, you will need to draw out your plan.  In this process, do not forget paths you would like to create, accessories you would like to add, and where you would like to place plant material. 

After the plan has been finalized, the next step is to prepare the garden space.  This can be done by turning the soil over, removing plant material and then covering it with landscape cloth.  Once that is done, begin to follow your plan by planting your plant material, which can be any type of miniature plant such as moss or sedums.

Once everything has been planted, the next step is to add a layer of mulch.  This plus the landscape cloth will help control weeds.  The mulch will also act as a medium by which you can secure your accessories into and not have to worry about them tumbling down. 

The next task is to great paths that your fairies will follow in the garden.  These paths can be lined with small stones, different colored mulch or even marbles.  After that is done, add a fairy of your own.  

Container Fairy Garden

A container fairy garden is a great project for the landless gardeners who want to attract fairies.  To begin this process, one will need to choose a container.  Any type of container will do.  This includes large planters, small cooking pots, and even small watering can.  The key to the container garden method is to make sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom.  While you can create your own drainage with broken potshards, it is better to start off with a way for the water to drain out of the pot. 

Once the container has been selected, the next step in the process is to prepare the container by cleaning and sterilizing it.  To do this, place the pot in a sink of water with a squirt of dish soap.  Scrub the pot with a stiff brush and rinse in clean water.  Next, place the container outside in the sun.  This last step will sterilize the pot and reduce the chance of transferring plant diseases to your new garden. 

After the container has dried, place a layer of drainage material in the bottom of the container, which can be as simple as a paper coffee filter or potshards, and fill with a good all-purpose potting soil.

Next, begin to plant your chosen plant material.   Since this is a miniature garden, make sure to use small hand tools for this step.  This will make planting easier.   Also, use a stick to draw out your design on the pot’s soil surface so that you know where to place your plant material.

Once that is done, add your fairy house and create a path from that house to other parts of your garden.  This path can be made from small stones, potshards or even artificial flower petals.  After that is done, the next step is to create other accessories for your garden fairies.  This includes a simple bench made from twigs and bark.  To make this, take twigs and form two “Vs.”  These “Vs” will be the legs of the bench.  Next, place the legs in the garden and top with a piece of bark.  But do not stop there.  Mother Nature provides a lot of different materials that can be turned into fairy furniture with just a little imagination. 

Tips for Caring for your Fairy Garden

While this type of garden is easy to care for there are a few tips to follow.   First, you only want to plant your fairy garden with miniature or small stature plants.  This can include rooted cuttings from boxwood, moss, and even small succulents.  But when planning out your garden, make sure to utilize plant material that has the same growing requirements.  This includes light and moisture along with fertilizer requirements.

Also, check the soil moisture before watering either type of garden and use a gently touch.  A hard spray from a watering hose is enough to dislodge your accessories and plant material.

Finally, if you have chosen to create your fairy garden in a container you will need to bring it in once the weather turns cold.  Many of the plants used in this type of garden do well inside, so find an appropriate location to display your fairy garden. 

As far as indoor maintenance, make sure to monitor the soil moisture and turn the container often.  This will prevent the plant material from growing lopsided. 

Once the weather warms up again, move your fairy garden outside and enjoy.


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