DIY Fairy Garden Ideas & Tips

DIY Fairy Garden Ideas & Tips

Fairy gardens are miniature DIY fantasy gardens made to look like they could house fairies and are very similar to dollhouses in concept. Increasingly popular these days, one characteristic aspect of fairy gardens is the use of normal and/or natural components to ensure the fairy garden fits with its nature theme – plus you can create them indoors, or outdoors.

Fairy gardens are believed to have originated in the US in the late 19th century, using Japanese bonsai dishes as the foundation. Today, they can be part natural, part artificial, completely natural, or completely artificial. How much detail in the fairy garden is really up to you, the creator!

Many people nowadays enjoy creating a small fairy garden at home for their kids, and if you so desire, you can buy all the little pieces and parts or even whole kits from crafts sellers and places like Etsy, but surely the most satisfying fairy gardens are those that you make yourself with the use of natural components (most often by recycling them).

fairy garden fantasy

Indoors or Outdoors?

First of all, you will have to decide if you want your fairy garden to be indoors or outdoors, and how large or small or grand you want it to be. Indoor fairy gardens are often housed in containers, while outdoor fairy gardens often utilize a tree stump. If you are making an indoor fairy garden, a small container will suffice. Containers can be anything, including old washing basins, old shoe boxes (for very small fairy gardens), old pots, old trays, old drawers, or old fish aquariums.

tree stump with moss

Outdoors, a fairy garden can be sited anywhere convenient, like:

  • Flower bed corners
  • Beneath a tree
  • In a container on a patio
  • In a tree stump

For outdoor fairy gardens, you may want an area that gets good sun each day, depending on what sort of plants and fairy garden you want. For a tree stump, just cleaning up specific areas on the stump and adding accessories like a small door, small ladder, small windows, some trinkets, and a welcome sign is enough to turn it into a fairly decent fairy dwelling. If the tree stump has moss on it, that is even better.

Sketch & Plan

Once you have decided on the foundation, sketch out your fairy garden with a pencil and paper while keeping in mind all the components you want to add to it, and their availability. This helps you visualize the final result you want. This is the time to unleash your inner creativity and resourcefulness! Think of your sketch as nothing more than a rough guide; you will likely deviate from your plan, but the main thing is to have a rough sketch of where the main components will be – from the fairy house to the plants.

What does your child like? That’s the main thing. Depending on your child’s interests, the miniature landscape that you will create can be filled with all kinds of toys or accessories.

For indoor fairy gardens, fill up your container with quality all-purpose potting soil, making sure the depth of the soil is adequate for the types of plants that you are going to plant. The soil should have good drainage and particle size (no cloggy or clayey soil, please).


indoor plant for fairy gardenSmall herbs and succulents are good choices for fairy gardens; herbs being easy to maintain and grow in both indoor and outdoor environments, while succulents are exotic and colorful looking. Both native (to your region) and/or hardy herbs are good choices for a fairy garden, including:

  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Small and exquisite looking shrubs (as well as bonsai) are all excellent choices, depending on your patience and skill level. This is because these little treelets or shrubs can die if not properly cared for. But they do add plenty of splendor to your garden. You can also consider growing exotic plants like venus flytraps or pitcher plants, but be warned – these are not easy to grow and require a lot of learning beforehand!

Meanwhile, succulents are mostly hands off to care for, due to their tolerance to drought and general hardiness. Just growing some succulents is enough to make your fairy garden look magical! You can create a miniature rockery-type of garden with pebbles and rocks, and then adding succulents around specific spots.

sheep toy figure on moss

Moss can work as a nice ground cover for your fairy garden, including other little plants like:

  • Creeping Phlox
  • Mossy Sandwort
  • Emerald Cushion Bolax
  • Irish Moss
  • Fairy Fern
  • Angelina Stonecrop

Pebbles and small rocks can create the illusion of a miniature rock garden. You can place flat pebbles around the plants to look like small walkways. Consider adding some colorful crystals or gemstones like quartz, pink rose quartz, agate, tourmaline, or jasper, etc., if your budget permits. Small crystal clusters or geodes would certainly add a lot of magic to your fairy garden!


Small items and figurines are essential to complete your fairy garden look. For the fairy house, you can buy such tiny house figurines made from ceramic, plastic, or terra cotta at many online or offline stores. Small animal figurines like deer, tortoise, or rabbit, and small tables, or chairs can help create an outdoor terrace garden set in the outdoors look.

fairy garden figurines

Small chateaus, castle keeps, log cabins, or even Red Indian teepees are among the dwellings you can buy. But if you are feeling adventurous, you can always make them yourself from toothpick or popsicle sticks, or recycle them from old parts like birdhouses (for example). You could also add some Lego parts to the fairy garden, it’s all really up to your imagination.

How about twigs that you gather from outside? Braid the twigs and stick them together with some glue and/or tie them with some strings and then anchor them into the ground to form a miniature arbor or trellis. For a little more natural touch, you could transplant tiny plants that have a twisting and vine-like nature along the base, and let the plants naturally weave up the sides. Two examples would be Miniature Ivy (Hedera helix) and Angel Vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Remember to trim them from time to time.

A Little Imagination & Creativity

What is important is doing this with your child and teaching them in the course of it how to turn even simple little things like old trays, twigs, or small pebbles, into a magical fantasy garden that only previously existed in their minds. All your child really needs are some of the basic components and the encouragement to be creative and artistic. And you will surely be surprised with what they can come up with!

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