Fairy Garden Ideas for a Whimsical Wonderland

By   | Last Updated :   March 31, 2021 | Filed In :   Garden Landscaping Ideas

My mother-in-law surprised us with a request at Christmas; all she wanted was materials she could use to create miniature “homes” in her pots and flower beds. This unusual request opened my eyes to the marvellous, mysterious world of fairy gardens, and now I can’t seem to stop noticing them, wherever I go.

If you’re in the process of developing a fairy garden, or are already a fairy garden fanatic, hopefully you’ll enjoy this page of amazing fairy garden ideas that I’ve spotted around the web. If you already have your own fairy garden pieces, I’d love for you to share them in the comments at the end!

What is a Fairy Garden?

For the uninitiated, let’s take a quick look at what exactly a fairy garden is.

A fairy garden is essentially an organic arrangement with miniaturised features, often including a sculpture or decorative pieces to look like a tiny, “fairy-sized” home. Fairy garden ideas can span from a single planter or terrarium, to an entire miniature village across the whole of your garden space.

Building a fairy garden is a little bit like creating a doll’s house without the dolls. The idea is that fantasy creatures – which might be invisible to the human eye – would make a home in the pretty, picturesque space you create.

Fairy garden ideas typically have a whimsical nature, and have a degree of overlap with vintage garden decor and enchanted garden ideas. However, the key difference is that fairy gardens are always very small, making them perfect for small spaces. There are lots of different styles of fairy gardens, including fragile, ornamental arrangements for careful collectors, as well as more playful, robust layouts that are great for making with children.

Whatever your preferred style, fairy gardens are a fun way to embrace and respect nature.

Now, let’s take a look at some fairy garden ideas!

Outdoor Fairy Garden Ideas

There’s something delightful about hiding tiny fairy houses among your plants, and being able to spot them peeking through here and there.

Wildlife-friendly fairy garden ideas

As part of nature, it makes sense that fairies would share their neighbourhood with local wildlife. Adding bird boxes or insect hotels among your fairy homes is a great way to encourage native creatures and give your fairy folk some other species to hang out with.

Rock homes

How sweet is this little pebble cottage? According to its creator, they often see frogs and snails taking shelter inside, making it a perfect addition to a wildlife garden. Here’s a really cute tutorial video on how to make a tiny house like this – it’s a great project for any leftover cement while you’re making concrete garden features.

Lantern shelters

Outdoor fairy gardens might still need a little bit of protection from the rain. A lantern is the perfect shelter for your display, allowing you to open the door for airflow (if there are real plants), but close it off to keep your sculptures dry. Using a lantern will also let you use fairy lights in your design – pretty!

Tiny pebble paths

Help the fairy folk find their way home with tiny pathways to each door. White stones will gleam against soil and moss, and make your miniature gardens look homely and organised.

Fairy gardens in repurposed pots

We’re always looking for ways to use salvaged materials in gardens, so I love this fairy garden that’s been made from the pieces of a broken pot. It’s a great way to create a little layered garden with tiny plants and miniature stepping stones. The pot will keep your garden protected outdoors (but you might need something hardier than succulents inside).

Fairy Garden Ideas for Kids

Fairy gardens can be fiddly for little ones that are still practicing their fine motor skills. When you’re looking for fairy garden ideas for kids, keep an eye out for slightly bigger proportions and materials that are less fragile.

Toadstool Spool

This is SUCH a good way to use a salvage cable spool. The paint job is relatively straightforward, and the size makes it easier for younger children to help you place decorations like artificial flowers and stepping stones made from branches. Once it’s complete, add a couple of toys and it will keep your kids entertained for hours!

Tree stump fairy garden

Kids sometimes have an aversion to outdoor spaces – they’re dirty, filled with creepy crawlies and smell damp. Compost heaps and stumperies are particularly troublesome! If you’re familiar with this challenge, try building a charming fairy garden using a tree stump. It’s a great way to talk to your child about outdoor textures and smells, and will encourage them to feel more comfortable in these nature-rich areas.

Fairy garden inspired cake

While it’s hardly the most long-standing of fairy garden ideas, I just HAD to share this incredible cake I found! This would be the perfect centrepiece for a kids party, particularly one for fairy-fanatics.

Indoor Fairy Garden Ideas

Some fairy garden ideas are too fragile for outside (or maybe you’re just lacking outdoor space). These indoor fairy garden ideas will help you turn ordinary containers into a magical, miniature space that looks beautiful on a table or windowsill.

Fishbowl fairy garden

Miniature decorations can turn a simple bottle garden into a tiny fairyscape. Depending on the plants inside, you could create a micro desert, woodland, or tropical jungle scene.

Crate gardens

A wooden crate is another way to keep a fairy garden contained in a small space, and is perfect for that rustic, organic style. This tiny farmstead is absolutely adorable, with twigs marking out “vegetable plots” and the smallest succulents I’ve ever seen.This will look stunning as it slowly grows!

Jam jar fairy garden ideas

Jam jars are so useful in gardening – I use them all the time for propagating houseplants and for my indoor herb garden. To create a fairy garden that could fit in the palm of your hand, check out our terrarium garden ideas for growing tips, and then add one or two tiny rocks and sculptures.

Potted fairy gardens

Wide, shallow pots and dishes are great homes for indoor fairy gardens. I like how this one combines different scales to create a kind of Alice in Wonderland kind of effect.

Fairy Garden Landscaping Ideas

Where you put your fairy doors is just as important as the doors themselves. Landscaping for fairy garden ideas should include a touch of magic and whimsy, following the theme of surprising proportions.

Create a fairy village

The impact of a fairy garden only multiplies with more fairy homes. You could dot them all around your garden so visitors can enjoy discovering them one by one, or cluster them together for a gorgeous fairy metropolis. I love how this display is arranged, with mix-and match planters featuring different ratios of plants and sculptures.

Fairy gardens in the trees

This park in Ireland is such a fun way to enjoy a fairy garden while still having lots of open space. I love the way my expectations of size are subverted by having the tiny doors and windows climb so far up the tree. If you have just one tree in your garden, you could decorate it like this for maximum effect.

More is more

An abundance of flowers creates a stunning carpet for your fairy garden ideas. At first glance, this might look like a normal flower bed, but look closer and you’ll see heaps of fair garden features. I recommend taking a look at the full post for close-ups of all the details!

Butterfly gardening

asters are great plants for attracting butterflies

Most of us won’t see a fairy… so butterflies are the next best thing! Take a look at our butterfly gardening tips for ways to encourage butterflies into your garden. They tend to like busy, cottage-style gardens that are overflowing with nectar-rich flowers.

Enjoy Your Fairy Garden!

I know these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but, looking through these fairy garden ideas, I couldn’t help but smile. They’re just so charming and quaint that, even though I don’t think I’ll be starting my own collection, I can’t wait to appreciate some in person. The craft and love that goes into creating a fairy garden is so wonderful.

If you’re creating your own fairy garden, I hope these pictures have given you some inspiration. There’s obviously no right or wrong answers, so be as imaginative as you like – and don’t forget to keep an eye out for fairies!

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By Kirsteen Mackay

Kirsteen is a professional writer who traded a tiny garden for an even smaller balcony when she moved to Brighton in 2015. Her interest in gardening stems from a keen desire to turn her simple slab of concrete into a lush urban oasis, complete with cosy-but-practical garden furniture and delicious edible plants.

View All Posts By Kirsteen Mackay »

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