Looking for ideas on how to make
your perfect miniature garden? We've included a number of ideas and
examples to help get you started.
If you'd like to share your own
ideas and gardens, please send a note to Kathryn at
A tiny miniature garden inside a clear plastic ornament is an exercise in patience! Just like a regular terrarium, has a little gravel in the bottom then a few spoonfuls of potting soil. The baby tears are growing happily and the dark green leaves in the background are boxwood cuttings. Once the baby tears gets big, the boxwood will come out. Each little accessory is attached (glued) to a short stake to keep it in place. Would last for a day or two on a Christmas tree, but would then need a nice bright (not direct sunlight) place to grow.
A little tabletop Christmas garden. The square planter is just big enough to hold the sleigh and four reindeer. After the holidays, it can be removed and replaced with a garden bench for spring. Red embroidery floss is used to make the reins and miniature Christmas lights decorate the tree.
Miniature faux evergreen roping is a versatile Christmas decorating accessory. Here we used it to cover the top of the bucket and hide the foam inside that holds the candy canes. When hanging the roping as garland along a fence, be sure to make the loops of equal length for the prettiest effect.
Sometimes it's okay to go faux. The succulents in this little garden are all plastic! If an artificial botanical does justice to the real thing, it can be a wonderful tool. If it looks fake, then the magic of the garden disappears and the artificial plants become a distraction. Notice how the sand is piled up in places, giving the beach a more natural look.
Hanging miniature Christmas lights across the back of the garden gives it a festive look and visually ties it together. The posts are at two different heights to match the casual scene and to help balance the asymetrical design. Santa's boots are just a pair of green work boots, blackened with a Sharpie marker.
Sometimes subtle is nice. This little fairy garden has a few red accessories that create a holiday feel when combined with the greens of the garden.
Boxwood sprigs are entwined in the arbor. A cutting from my spruce tree outside makes a nice little evergreen to fill in the space on the side. Both the boxwood and the spruce will last for several weeks in the moist soil. Once they begin to drop leaves/needles, they can be replaced with new cuttings or new plants can be planted in the garden. Using cuttings is a good way to temporarily fill in a space in a garden until you can get the plant that you want.
What they thought was going to be a
formal garden, turned into a fun “Campground Garden.” Desiree’
Griffiths and her daughter created the scene complete with moss covered
stick “logs” and flat stone “outcroppings”. The little votive candle
makes the perfect campfire. The long container allowed them to make
three little vignettes which together create a peaceful little
Excerpt from an email from KD
Antonacci: “thanks so much Kathryn! to be honest, it was one of your
gardens that allowed me to think outside the box. your "beach" inspired
themes did it! around here, i'd only seen the stereotypical Fairy
gardens but when i saw the beach ones you did, the light bulb went off.
i grew up on the beaches of FL & it was tempting to mimic that,
but somehow i came up with the dinosaurs instead. my 2 year old
neighbor absolutely loves it - i actually had to restructure some
things because [he] wants to play in it all the time! so it passes the
consumer test I guess!”
I love how the colors and shapes of
the dinosaurs mimic those of the plants. The exotic colors and shapes
of the succulents transport you to a miniature prehistoric jungle. Just
awesome! (Garden by KD Antonacci)
Shelly Skindelien created her
miniature garden in
an old cast iron sink and her husband built the frame to hold it. They
placed it on the baker’s rack for easy viewing and care – a brilliant
idea. The rack is under an overhang where the garden gets plenty of
light, but is protected from heavy weather..
Notice how Shelly uses a backdrop to
set off each sitting area – the Jade “Princess Pine” behind the blue
chairs and the white Moon Garden Trellis behind the white chairs.
The stone path connects the separate
areas of Shelly Skindelien’s garden and the repetition of the three
Sedum ‘Mentha Requein’ gives the garden a sense of unity.
Award-winning Australian gardener,
Ella (8), with her fairy garden. The bright white fence and furniture
standout nicely against the deep greens of the garden and the
terracotta pot. I especially like the eye-catching combination of the
purple/yellow violas with the contrasting bright red accessories. Mom,
Eileen, told us Ella received 2nd place in the competition for her
fairy garden. Way to go, Ella!
Having trouble finding an affordable
house that suits your miniature garden? Try a decorative birdhouse,
like in this garden by Ali Riza Yelsal of Turkey. Tufts of
orange-colored reindeer moss look like shrubs and add more fall color
to the scene..
Aliz Riz Yelsal used a slice of wood
for natural miniature garden patio. Florist’s sheet moss makes a great
substitute for grass and can be sprayed green again once the color
fades. Looks like a party!.
Charlene Staufer created this little
garden in a cinder block-type pot that she stained light green. The
shiny stones and steppers are laid in a pretty pattern, like jewelry
for the garden. The creative layout makes for an interesting design in
a very limited space.
The whimsical orange mushroom plays
with scale while adding color and contrast to the garden. It also
balances the visual weight of the design, by Charlene Staufer.
Another garden by Lona Pribble with
Glass Pebbles and Glass Stepping Stones and air plants. Sometimes
simple is the way to go.
Created by long-time fairy gardener,
Lona Pribble. The Glass Stepping Stones add a touch of shine to the
garden and help to attract the fairies. The yellow ferny Selaginella
moved to another garden once the summer sun and heat got started.
Succulent miniature garden by Lona
Pribble. Great contrasting colors, textures, and forms. Note how the
tall Aeonium is used as a “tree” and its pink color is repeated in the
A lovely little garden in a window
by Jackie DiPasquale. The Whistwood Bench is the focal point, facing
the birdbath in the center of the garden. Just a bit of fence is all
that is needed on the left to give a sense of enclosure and define the
space. The rosemary “tree” adds height and is balanced by the Miniature
Martin House on the opposite side. A beautiful miniature garden retreat.
A charming little window garden by
Suzanne Cannon. I like how the edge of the stone container acts like a
seat-wall to enclose the garden. The little birds and bunny bring the
garden to life. The lemonade set on the table looks so inviting, I’d
love to be able to take a seat and enjoy the view from there.
(by LeNore Murovic) It is a good
idea to keep your miniature garden by a door or along a path. This
makes it easier to keep an eye on your creation not only for water and
maintenance, but also for daily enjoyment. It makes it easier to bring
your garden inside during bad weather as well.
LeNore Murovic created a magical
little fairy garden in a big metal wash tub. There is a nice balance
between plants and accessories. Keeping the plants with the smallest
leaves near the furniture and paths and the larger plants along the out
edge, gives the garden a more realistic feel. The little blue lobelia
flowers in the background are gorgeous – like little faces peaking over
(by LeNore Murovic) The curved fence
is a nice detail as it repeats the curve of the container. There are no
straight lines in this round garden which gives it a very easy, casual
feel and unifies the garden with a curvilinear theme.
Miniature garden by 9 year-old Darby
Carter, with a little help from her neighbor. “We finally made our
miniature gardens for this year and I thought mine looked sooooooo
cute. So I just wanted to send you a picture of it so you could see
it.” Darby does a great job of creating a big garden in a little space.
She used a birdbath to hold her birdhouse up high and a few twisty
willow tips to create a little wall behind the bench.
A serene little garden filled with
bits of nature, created by Jennifer Holstein. Different mosses in
shades of green make a beautiful groundcover. The old piece of wood
draped with moss makes an ideal backdrop for the little patio.
Interesting sticks look like old logs in the miniature setting. A
wonderful way to bring nature home..
Sand and rocks are the perfect
compliment to succulents and “grasses”. This garden is all about
texture and simplicity, as echoed in the container. Makes a lovely
window garden and would be a beautiful centerpiece in a sunny room. A
relaxing little piece of paradise…
Beach garden by Irene Stenger: (from
“I've had the mini palm trees and cactus for a while and the spider
plants as grass are cuttings. The lifesaver is a Lifesaver mint that I
painted with permanent marker. The open gate was a last minute idea as
I was putting up the fence. The other pieces (umbrella, towel &
log) were added as I went along with the project.” Beautiful work!
The blue bucket makes the perfect
container for this little beach garden by Holli Risvold. The blue
contrasts with the plants and yellow chair for an eye-catching design
while the casual style matches that of the beach scene. The “beach” is
authentic, borrowed from Huntington Beach nearby. A picture perfect
The fairies are lining up to enter
this enchanted garden created by Sedda and her son. The garden is
complete with a terra cotta pot “cave”, stone well, and wild animals.
The calibrachoa on the left adds floral interest and echoes the color
of the stones on the well. While not a miniature plant, it works with
the design and its position at the edge of the pot allows it room to
grow over the edge. To read more about the garden and to see more
photos, check out
Learn how to create your own Easter
themed garden just like the one below.
Use pastel colored furniture and
accessories to create a springtime Easter garden. A quick coat of spray
paint, like on this Traditional Birdhouse, can update any accessory.
Add a little ribbon and the Summer Straw Hat turns into an Easter
A garden that will be used as a centerpiece needs to look good
from all angles. These hot pink little bunnies (spray painted Stone
Bunnies) make a cute little focal point on the backside of this Easter
A miniature garden out in my
backyard garden. Placing a miniature garden on a pedestal helps to make
it standout in the landscape.
Always place a pond at the lowest
elevation in a garden - just like you'd find in nature.
The bright red door stands out in
the garden and is a dramatic focal point. Note the little piece of
lichen covered bark by the end of the bridge that mimics an old log.
Including bits of nature in the miniature landscape helps add to
Stepping stones are laid on a
diagonal to create visual rhythm. Placing a plant at the beginning and
the end of the fence anchors it in the garden and softens the
Placing the windchimes in the last
link of the white scallop fence helps to keep them upright and makes
good use of that last little loop.
The white trellis makes a nice
backdrop for the patio in a very narrow space. Flanking the seating
area with two different "shrubs" gives it a formal look without being
Garden and design by Doris Gardner.
She had the clever idea to use a copper plant label from her perennial
garden to create a "Grandma's Garden" sign for her miniature landscape.
Using the fence across the middle of
the container creates two garden rooms. Matching pots at either side of
the gate emphasizes the entrance. The nice wide lip of the pot encloses
the garden in color.
Baskets make great containers for
miniature gardens, but covering up the edge of the liner can be tricky.
Here we've used a combination of Spanish moss and low growing sedums to
disguise the plastic lining. Layering broad pieces of flagstone is an
easy way to make steps or terraces.
This designer uses a fence and the
back of the garden and the beginning of two little stepping stone paths
at the front of the garden to give the illusion that this little scene
continues and this vignette is just a piece of a larger landscape.
This little garden was nicely
coordinated with pleasing colors and textures, but something was
The addition of the friendly dog and
two antique pots makes the garden more dynamic; giving it a stonger
focal point and tying the two areas together.
This garden had the same problem.
The design is good, but the scene is just not that interesting.
Adding a centerpiece to the table
makes the entire scene complete.
I helped this Illinois gardener to
create her own little piece of beachfront. She's going to enjoy it at
home while dreaming of the day she can retire to Florida. The shells
and coral were collected while on vacation.
Use larger growing plants at the
edge of a garden where they can spill out instead of crowding inside.
Cocoa baskets look great as
miniature garden containers, but are not practical if the garden is to
stay indoors for the winter. Notice the English thyme in the back left
corner. It was pruned (and sprinkled on grilled tomatoes) just before
the picture was taken. Don't be afraid to cut plants back when they
out-grow their space - it is an important part of miniature gardening.
The same garden earlier in the
season, with a few different accessories.
With a little bench, a few pots, and
miniature garden tools, this beautiful container of succulents and
cacti at Longwood Gardens could be an amazing little landscape. The
rocks make awesome scale boulders.
(Close-up of the previous garden.)
The use of contrasting forms (round, vertical, spreading), textures
(smooth, spiny, broad, divided) and colors (olive green to blue) is
exactly the same in "real" landscapes and miniature ones alike. The
better the use of these elements, the more realistic the miniature
Garden and design by Carol Davis of
Washington. The container is an old wheelbarrow and she raised it up on
blocks to be more easily maintained and viewed. The voids of the blocks
make great additional planting spaces - a true gardener leaves no hole
Instead of trying to plant in a tiny
decorative urn, Carol used it as the base for a mini red "gazing ball"
(upper left-hand corner of patio). A good design, like Carol's, places
a focal point at the end of every path.
Carol glued rocks to a piece of
plastic edging to create the retaining wall. Changes in elevation make
a large miniature garden more interesting.
Not every beach or waterfront is all
sand. Mixing rocks and sand provides interesting textures and added
realism. This garden would be even more interesting with a few larger
rocks mixed in.
If you simply must plant in your
miniature planters, use Sedum, Sempervivum, or Jovibarba. It can be
very difficult to keep these tiny pots watered and succulent plants
will be the most forgiving of drying soil. If you use a Sedum, use a
cutting - don't worry about planting roots. (Pictured here: tip
cuttings of Sedum makinoi 'Ogon')
Place a set of windchimes, a
birhouse, or a hummingbird feeder in a "bed" of low growing plants
makes it standout in a landscape. For example, the same windchimes
shown here would be lost if an English thyme "shrub" were planted right
A simple design that works well for
a small garden. An ideal arrangement for an indoor window, office
desktop, or a hospital bedside.
Sometimes it can be fun to have the
focus somewhere other than the front of the garden. Here the bench,
path, and accessories all lead to the side of the planter. The viewer
(from the front) the feels as if they are peaking into the garden
world. This can be especially effective for fairy gardens where humans
should never intrude.
Garden and design by Monica Moreno
of Quebec. Note her use of creeping phlox tip cuttings to line the
pathway and stacked stones to create a retaining wall.
Garden and design by Monica Moreno
of Quebec. A great use of stone in different sizes and colors to create
garden beds and emphasize the pathway. The repetition of the curved
lines creates a sense of unity in the design.
Dwarf blue Ageratum looks like a
blue hydrangea shrub. Place a wheelbarrow on a piece of flat stone to
keep it level in the garden and to show it off.
Decorate for the holidays. Little
colored eggs and a bunny statue get the garden ready for Easter. Small
decorated gardens make unique centerpieces for the dinner table.
A miniature trellis makes a nice
backdrop for a little patio setting. Succulents are great for planting
in tiny pots. When using a filled bucket as an accessory in the garden,
poke a hole in the bottom so water won’t collect in it.
Two chairs fit nicely below the
large rustic arbor to create a quiet little sitting area.
A simple gazing ball and stand.
Paint a golf tee and glue a pretty marble on top.
A path with mixed materials. Little
landscape gravel before the arbor meets a broad piece of stone that
works as a threshold. Inside the garden, flat little stones make the
path with gravel in between. Another large stone sits under the bench,
making the dark wire more visible.
Stones around a votive candle
creates a little fire circle. Great accent for an evening party on the
patio. (Take care to be sure there is nothing nearby that can catch
A faux bois planter makes a
beautiful container for a miniature garden.
A symmetrical design is very formal.
Using a variety of plants keeps it interesting, not boring and
An arbor can be an entrance to a
garden or a nice backdrop, as in this garden. Note how the red chair
echoes the red tones in the container.
The birdhouse on a stick adds height
to the garden. The rustic finish on the accessories, the birdhouse of
natural brown materials, the red gnome, and the terracotta color pot
combine to create a unified color scheme. The garden is full of whimsy
and fantasy without being gaudy. The gravel, plants, and birdhouse keep
A big tree in the garden with a tire
swing below and a bench nearby makes a perfect summer setting.
A variety of sedums and other
little-leaf plants make a lush setting for the table and chairs.
Miniature landscape can be just as
elaborate at the real thing!
Two terra cotta bowls are stacked to
create a two-layer garden. This arrangement works well for a
centerpiece, as the garden isTwo terra cotta bowls are stacked to
create a two-layer garden. This arrangement works well for a
centerpiece, as the garden is designed to be seen from all sides.