The Picket Fence Fairy Garden

The trash dump fairy has struck again – literally, her biggest stroke of genius to date.  You see, as I was driving home the other night, I noticed that one of my neighbors had put a worn out, splintered, spider weby planter out on the curb.  But all that grubbiness couldn’t hide the cuteness hidden beneath.  In fact, it even added to it a bit, for the chippiness of the paint on the old wood was exactly my style.

The moment I laid eyes on this little beauty, my mind conjured images of tiny sprites frolicking through the moss and playing among some small, rustic, handmade furniture.  You see, my daughter is absolutely enchanted with fairies.  Ok… I am, too.  So what better way to attract these magical little beings (and provide hours of outdoor fun for my little one), than to offer them their own little haven on our patio?

I was hooked.  After checking to be sure that it was garbage (and being asked repeatedly, “You really want that old thing?”), I took my newest piece of trash treasure home and excitedly got to work.

*sigh* Isn’t she beautiful?  (Yes, it’s a she, for she’ll end up being an adorable little fairy home when her extreme home makeover is done, after all.)

Look at that all that chippified glory!!  Beautiful!

A little dirty, sure.  But I’m not afraid of dead june bugs when I know there’s going to be way more ca-uteness than I can handle when I’m done.

Ok, so before I go any further, I have to admit something:  I was originally going to create a step-by-step tutorial for this fairy garden.  But it ended up being more of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type of thing.  So I’ll just explain how we ended up doing it, and you can adapt your fairy garden accordingly to your preferred container and landscaping.

First, I gave our garden a good sanding.  Nothing takes the magic away faster than a large splinter in a precious little finger, and I couldn’t have that happen!

In order to prevent our soil from falling out, we used a roll of dried flat moss to block the gaps in between the pickets.  I found a large bag of this near the decorative gravel in our local Armstrong Garden Center, but I’ve also seen it in craft stores.

Here is a view from the inside.  We wrapped wire around the posts and strung it along all four sides in order to hold the moss in place.  We also slipped some chicken wire behind the wire strand for added strength.  The wire strand was temporary, and was removed when the gravel and soil was added.

Next we added the gravel (which I recommend doing on all potted plants so that their roots are never sitting in puddles of water – they literally drown and die when that happens).

So how do you know when you’ve met your soulmate?  In my case it was when he invented a miniature fairy lake for our daughter, because he knows how much she loves to play in fountains.  I swear, I love this man more than life itself.  ^_^

He even glued each individual rock down by hand in order to make it look natural (thus more magical) for Maddy.  Have I mentioned how much I adore my husband?

When all the gravel was glued down in the fountain and added at the bottom, we started piling on the potting soil.  Maddy definitely had fun with this.  After all, how often is it that mom actually encourages you to play in the dirt? ^_-

You can also remove the wire strand once this is done.

My husband absolutely amazes me.  After we decided where our plants would go, he created an entire fairy waterfall out of a fish tank water pump and scraps from the trash (an angel food cake bowl on the bottom and a piece of plastic from some packaging up top).

You must be sick of hearing it, but the fact that he was willing to go through all this work in order to make something memorable for his kid makes me fall in love with him all over again.

In fact, I think it was at this point that I jumped on him like Allie did to Noah in “The Notebook”.

Anyways…  =P

We ended up spray painting the top of the waterfall because we thought it looked less like plastic and more like nature that way.  Unfortunately everything was already nailed/glued down at that point, but we got around that problem by covering everything but the top of the waterfall with layers of newspaper.

Once the rest of our plants were in the ground, we used the leftover rolled moss as additional ground cover, as it was the perfect size grass for our fairy.  After that we were pretty much done!  All that was left was to add water to the fountain and some rustic, tiny handmade furniture.  What do you think?

I think my favorite piece of furniture is this wire chair, created using this tutorial from Design Sponge.  So cute!!

The “Fairies Welcome” sign was made out of a flat piece of bark and a small set of stamps that I recently purchased from Michael’s $1 bins.  I simply stamped the welcome message on the bark, then mod podged it on the front and back so it wouldn’t fall apart when Maddy handled it.  Once dry, I glued it to a long stick and viola! An adorable little sign.

We made this mailbox out of tiny pieces of bark, simply gluing them together and mod podging over the entire inside and outside for added strength.

The little rolled-up scroll inside the mailbox was left by Maddy’s new fairy tenant, Faylinn the Fairy Queen.  It thanked her for building such a beautiful home, and even had tube of fairy dust tucked inside.

Maddy checking her fairy mailbox has become a morning ritual at our house, as Faylinn leaves her notes every night and sometimes even includes little trinkets!  So far Maddy has received a teeny-tiny fairy button, a scrap piece of shimmery ribbon, and a small bottle of glittery fairy dust.  The notes and trinkets will soon be going into a scrapbook (that I have yet to design) so that Maddy can keep these things and continue to enjoy them when she gets older.

The four-poster bed was created using a larger bowl-shaped shell.  In order to make it comfy, I padded it with reindeer moss and used a cotton ball for the pillow, gluing it all down so that it wouldn’t fall out when little hands moved it around during playtime.

I added the shells and pearls on top for some dramatic flair, and glued the clam shells to the bottom for stability.

The arbor was made from a single, fake pussywillow branch from Michael’s.  I simply trimmed it to size and wired all the branch shoots together into a “U” shape.

Check out my super-easy mini mushroom tutorial here.

This little table was created using basically the same idea as the mushrooms, only on a larger scale.  I glued a flat river rock to some sort of wooden base that I stole recycled from my mom’s potpourri bowl, then painted the top with a red base and white dots.  In order to make it stay put in the garden and not topple over the uneven ground, I glued a long nail to the bottom to create a “fairy table pick”.  A small shell on top to use as a plate or bowl completes the setup.

I carved this driftwood bench from some extremely soft driftwood, then glued extra pieces on as arms.  Shells on the bottom prevent it from tipping, and the pearls on top add just a touch of whimsy.

The “planters” on either side were created using shells and fake flower buds.

Maddy loves to water her plants, which she does multiple times a day.  We realized right away that she might love them to death with water, so we recycled an old Windex spray bottle (cleaned out first, of course) into her own personal fairy sprayer.

She has fun, and the plants get just the right amount of water.

Yeah, she has fun.

Maybe a little too much fun… (“Not me, the plants!!”  lol)

Thanks for reading, everyone.  I’d love to see how your own fairy gardens come out!!  Maddy is loving this one so much that we’re already planning our second.  Stay tuned for more fairy garden goodness coming soon!!  ^_^


I’m entering the 2011 Fairy Garden Competition hosted by the blog, The Magic Onions!

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29 Responses to The Picket Fence Fairy Garden

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m here visiting from Under the Table and Dreaming and I am soooo in love with this idea! We’ve made temporary fairy homes before, but this is just awesome! And the waterfall is the icing on the cake! I may have to pull something like this together for my own little pixie!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much, Melissa!! I’m thrilled that you like this tutorial – it’s definitely been fun, especially with my little one. We even purchased a single LED light from Radio Shack for 9 cents, and we hide it somewhere in the fairy garden every night. My daughter then stands at the door with her nose pressed against the glass whispering reverently, “Look! There she is!!” It’s the ca-utest thing ever!! ^_^ Thanks for visiting.

      • Melissa says:

        Love the LED light! That’s so awesome!! We’re in AZ… so maybe we’ll have to do a cactus garden! :) Thanks again for the idea!

        • Nicole says:

          Ooooo!!! A cactus or succulent garden would be fantastic!! I’d love to see pictures. :) And if you decide to buy your own “fairy” to hide in your garden at night, Radio Shack is a great place to go!! We bought our LED fairy for only 11 cents, I believe. :) Not too bad for some cheap magical fun!! Thankr you again for the sweet comments!!

  2. This is so adorable!!

  3. I am a new follower.

  4. Marnie says:

    SOOOOO cute! What a lucky little girl to have such creative, loving parents. Can I come play? LOL Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Nicole says:

      Awwww, thanks Marnie!! ^_^ We feel lucky to have her. And yes, absolutely you can come play!! Me casa su casa, anytime you’re in SoCal!! ^_^

  5. is it a little crazy that I want to be shrunk right down and have a little rest in that teeny tiny chair! love this idea, my children love making little houses from wood for the fairies, but this is something even more special.

    • Nicole says:

      Awwww, thanks for the sweet comments, Mum!! Wow, I feel straight out of a Harry Potter book all of a sudden, and I’m TOTALLY diggin’ it!! ^_^ Anyway, I’d love to see pictures of your fairy houses the next time you make some!! =}

  6. Leah says:

    I love this…so sweet of you & your husband to make it for your daughter! I can tell she loves it from the pictures.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you, Leah!! And yeah, we’ve created a bit of a monster. I think we have a fellow OCD’er in the family (I’m not officially, but it’s been suspected, lol). This is her most favorite thing in the whole wide world. ^_^ Thanks again for the sweet comments.

  7. Rita May says:

    A beautiful Fairy Garden. I made one too but no fountain. That’s unique. I love the curb side treasure.

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks Rita May!! I’m a newly out of the closet trash digger (but it sounds nicer when I say that the “Trash Fairy” paid me a visit). ^_- lol

  8. Cheryl says:

    Awesome. Fairy gardens are a blast to create, but you completely take it to a whole new level with all of the homemade adornments. Unique and creative, and obviously well appreciated. A total family project. I’m inspired.

    • Nicole says:

      Now that has to be one of the best comments I’ve ever gotten. =} To know that I’ve inspired you feels just like winning the blogosphere lotto. Thanks for the sweet words, Cheryl!! ^_^

  9. Mel says:

    This is so totally enchanting. How incredibly sweet and charming.

    I recently created a cloche with little woodland fairies under it, but it wasn’t nearly as creative as this.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you, Mel!! Honestly, I doubt that creativity was lacking in your cloche – I think you’re oozing in creativity and are just humble about it. =} But if my post sparks an idea or provides you with inspiration, then I consider it a success. Thanks for joining me!!

  10. elizabeth says:

    This reminds me of my childhood… I made gardens for very very little people. I like this very much.
    I think I’ll do this again with my grandchildren. succes. Elizabeth.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Elizabeth!! I would absolutely love to see pictures of the gardens you create with your grandchildren!!

  11. I think your little fairy garden is sooo darling! And I love the pics of your daughter watering it. :) So sweet.
    Thanks for linking it up to Think Pink Sundays – I featured you today!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much for featuring my fairy garden, Bev!! As always, I’m absolutely humbled and honored to be noticed by such an amazing blogger, as well as to be included alongside so many amazing, creative people. ^_^ Thank you again!!

  12. So lovely – I want one for me! I’ve featured this at today’s Craftastic Monday party. Be sure to stop by & grab a Featured On button. Thanks for linking!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much, Cheryl!! As always, I spend all day grinning like a fool when I am honored with a feature by such a creative, talented blogger. Thank you so much!! I am humbled to be recognized while in the company of so many other amazing bloggers and their fabulous ideas!! ^_^

  13. Linda says:

    I love your fairy light idea!What kind of light exactly do I look for at Radio Shack?

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much, Linda!! ^_^ It’s definitely been such a magical project that has left her (and us, as well) with many cherished memories. We bought this at our local Radio Shack: . It was cheap, and it gives us the opportunity to have our fairy’s “friends” make an appearance every now and then (we have all the corresponding colors from the new Disney “Tinkerbell” movies). ^_^ Just be aware that for every “fairy” you’d like to visit your garden, you’re going to need a cheap-o watch battery (the LED’s don’t need a lot of power, so just save yourself the money and get the cheapest batteries available). When you’re fairy is ready to glow, simply slip one prong of the LED onto each side of the battery and tape in place. =] To turn your fairy off, simply remove the LED from the battery. I hope this helps!!

  14. Kathy says:

    Thank you for such an informative post on how to make such a detailed fairy garden landscape. Your daughter seems to be enjoying her time as she admires it. I know I have to try making some of your red and white mushrooms. I’ll be doing that very soon!

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