japanese dwarf bonsai

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Are you a fan of miniatures? We are too. There’s something just so innocent and cute about a miniature set. One of our favorite sets has to be the miniature garden.

A miniature garden is something you can have both inside and outside. It’s such a fun choice because of the wide range of versatility you have to create it. Not to mention, the best part about miniature gardens is your ability to incorporate relevant, living elements.

What Is A Miniature Garden?

miniature garden with cats statue

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A miniature garden is a great way to create an adorable pint-size world of your own creation. Miniature gardens are enjoyed by both men and women of all ages. These little sets often feature creative themes and it is not uncommon for most miniatures gardens to incorporate fairies.

There are no rules when it comes to creating your small universe. Add anything into your little garden that makes you happy, whether it be beach themed, mystical, magical, or vibrant. A wide range of accessories can help make your vision a reality.

Is There A Need For Miniature Gardens?

Miniature gardens are a great way for people to express themselves and add a little bit of fun into their surroundings. Miniature gardens are easy to make yourself and they’re often an eye-catching piece to any home or yard. Miniatures gardens are great because they incorporate real plants and flowers into their artificial world.

Miniature Gardens vs Fairy Gardens

A miniature garden can often be confused with a fairy garden due to its size. Fairy gardens are miniature gardens with less structure. You can recognize fairy gardens by the presence of fairies. However, many people love the idea of the secret fairy garden.

A secret fairy garden is a garden that only hints at the presence of fairies. You may be hard-pressed to find a physical fairy in a secret fairy garden because they are likely hiding away in little whimsical homes or trees. It was once believed that creating fairy gardens helped bring kindly fairies to your property and would help encourage crops, plants, and flowers to grow in the springtime.

How To Make A Miniature Garden

miniature garden with white stones

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In order to make your miniature garden more realistic, you’ll want to add real elements into your design. Plants and shrubs such as small-leafed perennials, groundcovers, and dwarf trees are great choices for living additions. We always suggest placing one mini accessory in your garden to show that the world you’ve created is miniature. Try opting for a small birdbath, light post, or fence to showcase scale.

The Importance Of Scale

One of the most important things you’ll want to remember when creating a miniature garden is the scale. Scale is so important here because you’re creating a universe as realistically as possible. That’s the fun part about miniatures. It’s a mini glimpse of a world similar to ours — just smaller.

The first thing to keep in mind when purchasing accessories for your garden is that the accessory determines the scale of the entire set, not necessarily the plants or shrubs around and within it. Make sure each accessory is appropriately scaled individually and together to add the most enchantment and realism to your miniature world.

Container Size And Accessory Size

miniature garden with mini shrine

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If you’re not placing your miniature garden directly in your garden, then you’ll most likely be using a container of sorts. It is also not uncommon for some miniature gardens to sit in unused birdbaths or even indoors on dressers. Wherever you put your mini set, be sure you’re not overwhelming the space. We use the following guide:

  • Containers 10 inches in diameter, or larger, use 1-inch scaled accessories
  • Containers 10 inches in diameter, or smaller, use 1/2-inch scaled accessories
  • Containers 2 to 4 inches in diameter, or smaller, use 1/4-inch scaled accessories

Recommended Indoor Plants

False cypress plant

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If you plan to keep your miniature garden indoors, there are certain plants and shrubs you’ll want to consider over others. First and foremost, keep an eye out for small shrubs that resemble small, full-sized trees. You can always cheat the look of a full-grown tree by trimming back some of the lower foliage to create faux trunk space.

You may be tempted to use a bonsai tree as an option here, and you can. We simply recommend using caution. Bonsai trees are a great option because they look full grown and always remain relatively small in size, depending on the species. However, bonsai trees are tricky and picky shrubs that may be more difficult to maintain than you would like. Below is a list of small plants we recommend for mini gardens:

  • English boxwood
  • False cypress
  • Parlor palm
  • Norfolk pine
  • Ellwood’s blue cypress
  • Dwarf mondo grass
  • Baby tears
  • Corsican mint
  • Sugar vine
  • Zebra haworthia

Recommended Outdoor Plants

daisies flowers

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If you’re keeping your fairy garden or mini garden outdoors, then you’ll want to consider selecting the best plants for your setting. We recommend that you use a bedding plant of sorts to create a soft groundcover. Always do your best to match any trees you select for your garden with the groundcover. Don’t be afraid to combine a few different types together to create the exact look you’re going for. Here are some of our favorite outdoor plants for mini gardens:

  • Just dandy dwarf hinoki cypress
  • Jean’s dilly dwarf spruce
  • Miniature juniper
  • Dwarf mugo pine
  • Sky pencil Japanese holly
  • Miniature daisies
  • Platt’s black brass buttons
  • Cranesbill
  • Small hens and chicks
  • Irish moss

Planting Miniatures

fairy garden sign on miniature garden

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When you go to plant your miniature shrubs, plants, and flowers, make sure the location has decent drainage. We suggest using standard potting mix recommended for planters and window boxes. To prioritize which plants to plant first, always start with the one with the largest roots. Make sure you’re mindful of where you plant them and what each individual species will require in terms of full sun or shade.

Assembling Your Garden

After you’ve selected your combination of plants, shrubs, and flowers and have shopped for appropriately scaled accessories, you’re ready to start assembling your garden! Laying out your garden is probably one of the most fun parts of this process, aside from shopping for tiny trinkets. Don’t be afraid to take your time and truly plan out your little universe.

Before you plant anything, keep everything above the soil so you can arrange and rearrange the set to your liking. Don’t be afraid to experiment with gravel, grass, and other types of terrains. Here is some additional decor you can experiment with adding to your scene:

  • Waterfalls
  • Bird houses
  • Cottages
  • Signs
  • Mushrooms
  • Arbors
  • Tools
  • Walkways
  • Lights
  • Fairies

Where To Buy Miniature Plants

white sink miniature garden

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If you’re trying to figure out where to buy your miniature plants, there are a number of locations. You can also use seed to grow them yourself. If you’re comfortable using the internet to order things online, we suggest the website: twogreenthumbs.com. Two Green Thumbs is known for a wide range of both plants and accessories for miniature garden sets.

You can also always check out your local plant nursery. Make sure to take a list with you of plants you’re looking for. It can become confusing, if you’re not familiar with many plants, to try to select a miniature plant on your own.

Miniature Plant Tip

Always make sure you do your research before buying any unknown, small plant at the store. You, and even the store associates, may not know how tall or how invasive it might grow. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect shrub only to find, in a few months, it's taken over and destroyed your fairy garden.

Where To Buy Miniature Accessories

miniature garden with archway

Image via Flickr

You may be okay with finding miniature plants and shrubs, but do you know where to find mini accessories that are both realistic and not overpriced? The miniature world is vast and has been surprisingly popular for years. Some people even spend thousands of dollars on their miniatures to enter them into competitions.

The essential part of making a miniature set realistic is appropriately scaled, realistic mini objects. You may be hard-pressed to find a dollhouse store, but this is one of the best places to find small, realistic, everyday objects. As we mentioned above, our favorite place to purchase mini accessories is online, on the website called: twogreenthumbs.com.


A miniature garden is a fun and creative way to add a bit of magic back into your life. Not only are these little slices of heaven great for kids  — all ages smile when they see a tiny universe that has been intricately created.

When it comes to making miniature sets, there really are no rules besides to pay attention to besides scale. How large or small you make your world is up to you. We’ve seen precise masterpieces that span entire yards, and we’ve seen one or two accessories placed perfectly in a small potted plant. However you decide to make your fairy garden, always make sure you have fun and stay safe. The only thing left to do is enjoy your newly created little universe!


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