Miniature Gardens

Are you catching that spring fever and ready to get out into the garden, but not yet ready to take on planning a full-sized garden? Or perhaps you are limited on space but still want to enjoy a garden. Have you ever considered creating a miniature garden? I know I’m ready to launch into the spring and have been looking for a way to dive into the creativity that comes along with planning a miniature garden.

fairy garden
Accessories such as small chairs and faux cobblestone paths can be creative additions to miniature gardens. Photo by Wendy Hanson Mazet, Cooperative Extension.

As you start to prepare, it is important to think about where you are going to place your garden and think about all those microclimates you may have in your landscape. Do you want your garden indoors or outdoors? Once you decide where to place your mini garden, think about your container type, size and whether would you rather plant directly in the ground.

Once you have decided on a place, it is time to think about the types of plants you want to use. When choosing your plants, there are many things to keep in mind. For example, you will need to think about how much light and water your plants will need and how fast your plants will grow. You need to decide if your mini garden will be in full sun, part shade or full shade. This will help determine the types of plants to use. I also like to remember this little motto when planning: “right plant, right place.”

Slow-growing plants are typically a good choice when creating your garden. Some smaller succulents might be fun to add, as well as plants that are considered dwarf, with a growth rate of 1 to 2 inches per year, and miniatures, which grow less than 1 inch per year. Don’t forget that not all plants need regular water, and some may need more than others. Choosing plants that have similar needs will make your mini garden easier to water and maintain.

Choosing the right soil is also important. Depending on your plants, you should make sure that you have ample organic matter as well as good drainage. For example, if you choose a pot for outside, you will need at least one drainage hole at the bottom in order to avoid root rot. For miniature indoor gardens, especially if you are just starting out, try a pot or container with drainage holes and a container that comes with a saucer.

Lastly, it is time to think about your mini garden accessories. I have seen so many creative additions to miniature gardens. Some people have used tiny houses, created faux cobblestone paths, used popsicle sticks for creating a small fence, and even found miniature pots to add to their décor. One of my favorite ideas is to add a mini gazebo, with a set of table and chairs as a focal point, and build the rest of the garden around it. Not sure where to find more help? A quick Pinterest search will arm you with many incredible ideas.

Leilani Konyshev is the Master Gardener Program assistant for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Washoe County. Have questions about your plants? Contact a master gardener at 775-336-0265 or And visit