Fairy Garden Ideas – Little Red Wagon
What are the things you look for when building a fairy garden? Appearance? Style? Mobility!? Check out this popular idea of converting an old wagon into a garden planter. Not only is the design quite stylish, it’s also a planter that can be moved around to practically any part of the yard.
Procure a Wagon
Now with this idea, we will need a wagon. Hopefully you or a neighbor has an old one lying around on the side of their house. This is also something you might be able to find at a thrift store. Finding a used wagon not only saves on project costs, the aged look of the classic little machine gives the overall appearance a rustic boost.
If you don’t have a wagon, the cost for this type of project is increased significantly. Quality planters and pots aren’t cheap either, but they’re made to withstand the elements and constant watering. The durability of their material is worth the cost. If you’re buying a brand new wagon, it will eventually deteriorate, especially if you’re planning on adding plants that require watering. It goes without saying that old wagon will deteriorate too, we’re simply hoping that one was free.
See our artificial plant suggestions if you’d like to go the waterless route.
Create Drainage Holes
When you’ve acquired the wagon, the first thing you’ll want to do is create drainage holes. We recommend placing at least 4 holes equidistant from each other in the center area. You will also want to place a hole in each corner and one in the very center.
If you’re rolling your wagon over dirt or placing it in the grass, the ground will be uneven. These 9 holes are good insurance for garden longevity. They’ll allow any water that pools to drain, which is healthy for your plants and helps the wagon last longer.
To start the holes, use either a nailset or a 10 penny (or larger) nail to create divots. These will cradle the drill for your pilot holes. Take a ⅛” steel drill bit and make a hole in each of the divots. Depending on the resilience and thickness of the metal, we’re going to use a pilot hole for safety. Next we’ll take the ¼” steel drill bit and bore out the rest of the metal. What we’re left with is a porous wagon, ready for the next step!
Prepare the Wagon Base
If we were to place our soil directly in the wagon, it would inevitably clog up the holes. So what we’re going to do is add a very thin layer of rocks. You can get away with using river rock or stone, but pea gravel would be ideal. You’ll only need a layer about ½” thick.
This is a method is called crocking. While some studies have determined that it can make it more difficult for water to pass through larger objects (stones) our pea gravel will do just fine. If you’re worried about water sponging in the soil, you can always use a mesh screen instead of the gravel. Whatever you decided, make sure the holes won’t eventually get clogged.
Fill the wagon with potting soil, leaving about 1” of space to the top. At this point you can design the layout of of your fairy garden. Place flat river rocks or stones together to create a walkway from one end to the other. It’s really up to you and your imagination at this point.
Plants and Other Options
Check out the Creeping Jenny plant. This vibrant ground cover can survive in shallow soil and spreads out, spilling over the sides of its container in some cases. It’s easily managed and can survive in partial sun. For something less wild, Irish or Scotch moss are pretty alternatives. They’ll also survive in this depth of soil.
For added detail, try including pygmy or dwarf trees to your wagon planter. Miniature daisies (Bellium minutum) or Creeping bluestar (Laurentia fluvatilis) will add some nice pops of color to the array. And if you’d like to double the usefulness of your wagon garden, include some herbs throughout foliage. Basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary are great for recipes year round.
Whatever you decide, have some fun with this idea. It’s unique to have a fairy garden that can be wheeled practically anywhere in your yard.