If you’ve ever read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic story, The Secret Garden, as a child, you’ve probably wished for a hidden garden getaway of your own. Now that you’re grown, why not create one?
We’re sharing our tips on how to build your garden into a space where you can escape to—with friends and family or all on your own.
Fairy houses are a fun activity to share with children. Teaching kids to appreciate and engage with nature while they are young will encourage them to protect nature as they get older.
Here’s how to make a fairy house:
- Location, location, location. Use your imagination to look for places in your yard where fairies might settle in. The base of a tree, among gnarled roots, is a great place to start.
- Using all-natural materials like fallen branches, leaves, and moss, start to build the house, incorporating the location into the design.
- Build out elements like porches or stairs as you are inspired. Remember to use natural materials and respect the integrity of the living plants in your yard.
- For an added touch, leave tiny notes near the fairy house for children to find.
Walls, Paths, and Doorways
In Burnett’s story a wall, overgrown with vines, surrounded the garden. You don’t need to build a full-height wall, but you can use a short rock wall or picket fencing to create visual interest and boundaries. Use trellis arches or old doors and allow garden plants to grow up and around it.
Winding paths, paved in your favorite way, add visual interest and let visitors meander through your garden enjoying all the sights.
Paving materials are limited only by your imagination, but here are some ideas to start:
- Mosiac tiles
Add a few steps up or down, where appropriate, and consider leaving a space on your path for a bench, especially if the path is long. Bridges—over streams or flowerbeds—are another fun piece to consider.
Where the wild things are
Nurture a sense of wonder in your garden by introducing visitors to the local wildlife. Feeders and baths, along with colorful, pleasantly scented flowers, provide visitors with a glimpse of birds they may not see every day. Some gardeners enjoy a small pool filled with goldfish—or a pond for frogs, for the more ambitious among us.
No garden adventure is complete without a place to hide. This can be as simple as the space between your house and a hedge of bushes, or as intricate as a tree house or garden teepee. The important part is that it has a secret element—something special you need to know in order to enter:
- A trap door
- A entrance behind a bush that doesn’t quite touch the wall
- A door with a rope latch.
- A window from which to peek out at the rest of the world.
- A mailbox to pickup and leave secret messages
- A plain-looking tunnel of bushes that opens up to a seating area with lanterns
- A way to call home. Remember tin-can phones? Walkie talkies?
With the right balance of structure and whimsy, incorporating these elements as they suit your space, your garden will be a lasting source of delight, full of adventure for generations to come.