How do you make a fairy garden? Follow these simple steps to start a miniature garden in a container, flower beds, or on a patio table.
I also have more tutorials for creating fairy gardens, and making your own miniature accessories.
How to Create a Fairy Garden Outdoors
You can make a fairy garden in a garden bed or any container. Either way, the steps and supplies are the same.
The advantage to a container fairy garden is how easy it is to move it around. You might like to keep it on your patio table, but, when the grandkids are home, you can move it to the grass for playtime.
You might also prefer using a container if you are including small or delicate miniatures. You don’t want a heavy rain damaging them or washing them away!
I like fairy gardens that include natural materials like moss, tiny flowers, and other live plants. This guide on choosing living plants for miniature gardens has excellent tips.
The enchanted part comes with the decorations. If you are overwhelmed, this guide on choosing a theme will help.
I like to imply tiny beings live in the garden, but you may like to add fairy, gnome, or other characters.
The possibilities are endless, and it’s your creation, so go with what you love.
Pay Attention to Size and Scale
One very important tip before you gather supplies is, always consider the scale of the project. In miniatures a common scale is 1:12. This is how the miniatures are sized in relation to their ‘real life’ counterparts, and how they are sized in relation to one another. You probably don’t want a giant-looking chair outside a little cottage half its size. I’ve included more details on this in step 3, below.
I’ll walk you through how I made this simple fairy garden in a suitcase.
Create a Fairy Garden
This idea is simple. If you are planting in a container, choose anything you like that can hold potting mix and provide drainage holes.
For this project, line a vintage suitcase with a waterproof sheet, add the right growing medium, and start creating your own little world.
1 Choose a Container
- Any container will do! It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold the contents (soil, plants, fairy garden decorations).
- Keep in mind that it may be exposed to soil and water so don’t use a precious heirloom.
- If you’re going to keep the suitcase outdoors (exposed to the elements), add drainage holes. And beware: the suitcase will get gradual water damage.
- I keep mine on a covered patio and it has (knock wood) remained like new. I also water carefully, never soaking the soil.
What Else Could I Use?
Look around your house and see what you have!
- Old boots or shoes
- Cracked flowerpots
- Child’s toy wagon
- Dresser drawer
2 Add Growing Medium / Soil and Plants
- Line the suitcase with a plastic sheet or other water-resistant material unless leaving it outdoors (you’ll need drainage holes).
- You won’t need a plastic liner if you are using something water-resistant like a flowerpot or wagon or creating your garden in a flower bed.
- Add potting mix or other growing medium.
- Add plants or moss.
- You can also add plants in small containers and bury them in the growing medium.
I used moss from my garden and combined some potting mix with the same soil the moss was growing in.
You could also use pieces of sod from your grass lawn or sow grass seeds.
I also like to add random plants from my garden. Here I’ve added a violet that was growing near the moss.
Here’s the moss in the mini garden.
3 Add Miniature Furnishings
There are so many fabulous mini garden furnishings available these days, that it can be hard to decide. My suggestion is to pick a theme and stick to it. Also, scale (proportion) is so important if you want it to look right. You can read more here about scale in miniature gardens.
- To create water under this bridge, I used a blue glass flowerpot saucer. Another simple option is a small makeup mirror. Hide the mirror frame with stones or moss.
The charm is in the details! This tiny lemonade jug with glasses and wee slices of lemon is my fave. Only use tiny furnishing like this if your miniature garden is in a safe place, away from wind or rain. I have mine on a covered patio.
Fairies or no fairies? You decide. I prefer not to have any fairies, people, gnomes, trolls, etc. Instead, I like it to look like some tiny being was just there but fled when full-size humans came by.
Use what you have. Or make it. All the cute accessories can get expensive. I started making my own from polymer clay (free tutorial here) and it was much easier than I expected.
Also, see if you have old toys or nick knacks you could use. Here I’ve added an old matchbox car (found in my garden) and a slice from a pruned branch, as a plant stand.
Add natural materials. Stones, twigs, small garden plants, leaves—all help naturalize the mini garden. Use what you have and change it up as desired.
If you love some sparkle, miniature string lights using a handy battery pack are essential.
Shop for Fairy Garden Supplies
Be sure to check sizes carefully before you buy. There are so many delightful things to put in a fairy garden!
If you want to save money, there are plenty of sweet miniatures you can make yourself with polymer clay.
Caring for Your Outdoor Fairy Garden
Keep the plants and moss watered as needed, and make sure (if outside) that rain does not waterlog the container.
Change up the decor as desired. If you love making miniatures, there’s lots of ways to decorate a fairy garden for special occasions or the seasons.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛