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If you’re looking for a kid-friendly gardening project this spring, consider the fairy garden. These whimsical container gardens offer kids a mini, planted playspace of their own with endless opportunity for customization and make-believe.
Even the least crafty of us can put together a fairy garden that entertains and enchants all who happen by. Plus, this family craft project can come together in just an afternoon and it’s relatively inexpensive to build depending on your DIY aptitude.
These five tips will help you get started on your fairy garden:
1. Pick your container
When selecting a container,your options might be dictated by how much space you have or the desire to reuse something you already have at home like an old pot, wash bin orhanging basket. The options are limitless, so consider what size works best for your space.
2. Choose the fairy house
Log cabin? Tepee? Birdhouse? Beach chairs? Choosing the fairy’s house sets the theme for the rest of the garden. Let the imagination rule. If your kid wants an igloo for his fairies and palm trees on the lawn instead of a fire pit, just say yes.
3. Map it out
Before planting, gluing and otherwise setting up the garden, either sketch out where things will go on a piece of paper or position items loosely around the container. You’ll quickly see whether you have too few or too many items as well as any other issues that might crop up.
4. Location, location, location
Like any garden, what you plant should be based on what thrives in your area. Will your container have full sun all day, or will it be a bit damp and shaded?
Don’t let a brown thumb scare you off. Let your kid pick out what looks good to her, stick the whole thing in a semi-sunny spot and hope for the best. You can always replant it!
What really makes a fairy garden special is the personalized flair that each kid brings to it. Your child might paint little fairy signposts out of popsicle sticks while another glues them together to create a mini footbridge.
Etsy is also a goldmine for miniature items from these Adirondack chairs to this fairy-sized tire swing, but you really don’t need to spend a lot of money. Have your kids look around the house for unique items to add: seashells, aquarium pebbles, leftover tiles from home improvement projects, even buttons and marbles, bottle caps, twine, twigs from the yard – it’s all fair game.
In the end, keep it simple. After all, someone might be playing in this garden, right?
Find inspiration with these nine fairy gardens on Pinterest. (By the way – they’re not just for kids. We won’t tell if you’re building one all of your own!)
A birdhouse to call home
This sweet little fairy garden relies on inexpensive unfinished wooden birdhouses that can be found at a craft or garden store as the centerpiece. Kids will have fun painting the little houses and then layering in other details such as the white picket fence and stone walkway. Let your child pick out some cheerful flowers to brighten this scene a little further.
Follow the tutorial here.
Fairies with wheels
Upcycle an outgrown kids wagon or aging wheelbarrow for a spacious fairy garden plot that is just the right height for planting by small hands.
You’ll need to drill several holes in the bottom of the wagon or wheelbarrow to provide drainage for the plants, but after this minor adjustment the options are limitless. Consider spray-painting a rusted out wheelbarrow to a new fairy fantastic shade like sky blue.
Check out this step by step tutorial on building a wheelbarrow fairy garden from Better Homes and Gardens.
A fairy herb garden
This fairy garden aims for simplicity and practicality. It’s planted with easy-to- maintain fresh herbs, which can be sprinkled into dinner later, and creative DIY details like toadstools made from Champagne corks.
You’ll need a raised planter to get started, or, as this blogger suggests, you can just repurpose that water table your kids stopped playing with three summers ago.
Find the tutorial here.
Beach babe fairy
Who says your fairy garden needs moss? This fairy is throwing on her tankini and hitting the beach.
Any container will do for this beach themed fairy garden, but choosing one with a bright hue will work well for a summery theme. Pick out a few beach accessories like beach chairs and an umbrella and add a couple of plants, maybe something reminiscent of dune grass or palm trees. You’ll add sand to the top of your planter and blue-colored stones or pebbles can create a faux ocean. Warning: You might feel your shoulders relax a little just by looking at this one.
This site has some of the best ideas for beach fairy gardens.
Tree stump fairy garden
This might be the best upcycle in a long time. Got an ugly tree stump in your yard? Well, sprinkle a little fairy dust and turn that old stump into a delightful mini garden complete with a ladder that leads to the grassy “roof” and a little broom for sweeping up after fairy messes.
Find more how-to photos for this garden here.
Toadstool fairy garden
Toadstools are always a popular addition to fairy gardens, but this one uses it as the main house, creating a woodland theme. The mushroom house was purchased at a garden center, but a number of the other details are homemade, such as the upturned oyster shell for the pool and a pecan shell laundry basket.
The author’s young sons later added a few Star Wars figures to liven things up further.
Follow the tutorial here.
Miniature fairy garden
The miniature fairy garden is perfect for those short on space or interested in a year-round playspace that can be moved indoors when temperatures plummet. Simply choose a smaller container and remember to scale back on your plantings and accessories. There might not be room for a fairy house but a teepee or a couple of chairs will work well.
This one also makes a great gift or even a birthday party craft project for the more intrepid.
Follow the tutorial for this one here.
The terrarium fairy
Another take on the portable fairy garden is the terrarium. These are probably the fastest to build as they only require a few simple ingredients: a glass container, potting soil, some pebbles, moss and maybe two pieces of fairy décor.
These jam-packed gardens are better suited to the older child crafter who can appreciate it as a decorative item rather than a plaything. A more preschooler friendly fairy terrarium can be found in this tutorial.
Wash bin fairy garden
Turn this classic gardening container into a charming fairy home with just a few additions. Check out the petite driftwood bench in this one and the lovely succulents that dot the landscape. We might just move in!
Terrific tutorial on how to build it here.