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Home : How to Create a Simple Faery Garden

Mulberry Miniatures has Perfection Greenhouse in New Washington Ohio as a fantastic grower. Look for Mulberry Miniature plants at your favorite retailer.

There are four fundamental elements in landscape design.
  1. Contrast color (of leaves and flowers)
  2. Contrast form (overall shape of the plant)
  3. Contrast texture (fine/tiny verses big/coarse)
  4. Repeat an element as often as necessary to achieve a visual impact.
Simply said, choose different looking plants and repeat a bunch of them. What we want to avoid is the common mistake of picking trees, shrubs and ground covers that all have green egg-shaped leaves. This mistake makes it difficult to distinguish one plant from another. By contrasting the first three elements each plant is able to shine. The fourth element of “Repeat an element” is the critical secret ingredient that seperates "4 plants plunked into a pot" and into the realm of a miniature landscape. Lastly, add elavation. This creates extra interest.

Step 1
Taking clues from modern landscape designers, a typical house entrance would include a single birch tree, under planted with 3 to 7 shrubs (yews, hollies, barberries are currently en vogue) with approximately 25- 50 small ground cover (pachysandra, sweet woodruff, ajuga) starts to form at single mat. Why so many ground cover starts? Because of their small “individual visual weight” they must be repeated, so that they might be seen. Therefore, the larger the plant element in design, the few numbers that are required. Conversely, the small the visual weight a plant has, the great numbers that are need. For a miniature garden in a small 6” X 12” plastic oval container or a 9” x 9” hypertufa trough: one tree element, 2 shrub elements, and one ground cover divided into 2-3 smaller sections (for repetition) are all that are needed for a typical modern day landscape design (see Step 1).

Step 2
Although “elevation” is not a necessary element in design principles, it does add a great deal of interest and realism to the miniature landscape. In a flat elevation design, only a path is appropriate. With elevation, now steps, or terraces are possible and the design takes on a theatrical appearance, allowing for the use of even more plant material. (See Step 2) In addition elevation increase the opportunity for creative hard landscaping features.

Step 3
In the commercial landscaping business, “Hardscaping”, as it is commonly referred to, are man made elements, such as stairs, walls, lighting, fountains... that either add to or are the focal point in the natural landscape (see Step 3).
Depending on the setting and your goals, you are now entering either the Garden Railroad, Mini Landscaping or Faery realm. It is this combination of plants and hardscaping that separate these planting from the arrangements sold in floral shops or those plants simply planted in the ground.

Final Step
These principles of design apply as much to a miniature house above the Grand Junction Railroad, as they do in a container faerie garden, or a doll house landscape, All use trees, shrubs, ground covers with contrasting color, form, and texture and repetition of elements as needed. Inspirations can come from the real world. Remember the beautiful hotel in Santa Fe with the terraces and clay flower pots, or the neighbors house done the road with the white pickets fence and beautiful flowers in the spring. Draw from those places to create your own mini worlds and by all means- Have Fun!