Fairy Garden 101 ~ Where to Start

There are a few things to consider when picking out the container within which you will build your fairy garden. Will you keep your garden inside your home or outside in your yard? How much space do you have for your fairy garden? Do you want to have live plants or artificial greenery? Do you have a color scheme or theme in mind? What size or scale will you create your fairy garden in?


You can turn most anything into a fairy garden. An old suitcase would make a great travel or summer themed fairy garden. By lining the case with plastic sheeting you could turn it into a container capable of containing live plants. An old wagon makes a great fairy garden that can be moved about your yard at will.

If you have the yard space why not use a large planter box or create an expansive in ground fairy kingdom containing multiple mini neighborhoods within it. You can utilize existing trees and plants enhanced with new plantings. Thinking outside of the box can make for some very interesting pieces.


The resources for Containers are endless, while there are many choices at mass marketers, garden supply stores and craft stores, you can also find interesting items and save some money at yard sales, recycling facilities and thrift stores.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate either. In the picture above you will notice that a local garden store had two bird bath tops and only one base as the other base had been damaged. They were willing to sell the extra top very inexpensively. With a coat of paint and a piece of felt attached to the bottom it made a beautiful large dresser top, statement piece. Many people have created beautiful fairy gardens from cast off, broken, ceramic pots.


Outdoor containers will require drainage. Indoor containers with live plants may or may not require drainage depending on the plant type you select and your experience at plant care in general. If you are a novice, drainage and a catch saucer may be your best bet. Back in the early days of terrariums most people used a layer of gravel under the substrate material as it was said to help drainage. More recent articles suggest that this is an old myth. Apparently the gravel has the opposite effect due to some very scientific forces.


Deciding to create your fairy garden indoors or out is a very personal choice. Some questions to consider, do you have room in your yard or outdoor space. Will the weather in your area create an impediment? If you have very little outside space you may want to enjoy your  fairy gardens indoors.


Have you decided whether you will use live plants, artificial plants or maybe a combination of the two? The decision will come down to how much work you want to put into the upkeep of live plants as well as environmental factors.
Whether indoor or outdoor you can use either live or artificial plants. Artificial plants are so easy and now come in some very realistic varieties. Dry mosses make a great ground cover and even come in packages of multiple colors and textures to add interest.


Miniature succulents make perfect plants for your gardens and have become so popular lately that they can even be found like this display in your local pharmacy.


Most fairy gardeners at some time, have been tempted to use herbs in their fairy gardens. They do look cute initially but, they can grow out of control in the blink of an eye. Here again your local garden store will be of great help when deciding which plants best suit your needs. You can also find miniature plant nurseries on the internet.


If using live plants there are a few more items, you will need to have on hand. A good quality potting soil and some tools. A full size trowel is good for moving soil into your container. A dinner fork and knife are excellent tools for your mini garden. The fork functions well as a mini rake and the knife is not only good for opening packages but also for making small planting holes. Additionally, it is good to have a large tweezers handy and finally a watering can.

You may want to pick a theme or a focal point for you garden


After you have assembled the items you will need, prepare the area where you will be working. If working inside, cover the area with newspapers of other covering to protect against damage. Place your container in the prepared area and line with plastic if needed (i.e. using an old suitcase indoors with live plant). Fill your container with soil or if working with artificial plants Styrofoam or floral foam may be more suitable. Place your focal point in the garden and add plants, accessories, fairies, friends and other items that add to the beauty and have some fairy garden fun.