5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

How to Start a Miniature Garden
There are many reasons to grow your own world – they are fun to give and fun to get! This scene is approximately 10 inches wide.

5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

I’ve made well over 1,300 miniature gardens since I started this business in 2001, [Update to 2015: we are over 3,000 gardens, in-ground and in containers.] and I have found that there are a number of ways to begin the journey of creating your own wee world.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Choose your site for your mini garden

Right plant, right place applies in miniature as well. Where is your miniature garden going to live: In ground or in a container? Indoor or out? Then figure out what kind of light does that spot have: Full shade? Morning sun? Then choose the plants that will do well in that environment. (Note that indoor plants are tropical plants that like to stay 60 degrees or above all year ‘round. No, you can’t grow an outdoor plant indoors.)

Use the search to find your miniature garden plants for your area up on your Miniature Garden Center store (- click on the little magnifying glass in the upper right corner and type in your zone.)

2. Choose your favorite tree

If you have the luxury of planting anywhere, checkout the miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs that are ideal for miniature gardening, and pick a tree that sings to you or tweaks your interest. Some trees can be “limbed-up” to show some more trunk so it looks more like a tree than an shrub. Choose your “mini bedding plants” (a.k.a. ground covers) by matching the same light and water requirements as the tree. If you haven’t been bitten by the miniature conifer bug yet, be warned: they are both numerous, gosh-darn cute and easy to grow.

See all our plants for shade here.

See all our plants for sun here.

We’re digging deeper. Join us at our members-only website! Membership reopens in the summer!

3. Choose your favorite theme

Forest? Backyard? Formal? Rustic? Re-creating your grandmother’s life-sized garden in miniature? While there may not be an exact miniature version of the full-size tree, you can more-than-likely find a similar, slow-growing, small foliage tree that is similar in growth shape. Use images of life-sized gardens to help kick-start your brainstorming session and Google it. Look for iconic items that will weather well, classic a rose arbor or grandma’s favorite garden chair, to add to your miniature garden rather than clutter the small scene with tiny details that will get lost in the living miniature garden.

4. Choose a container

Sometimes the container just beckons to have a wee world in it. Let the colors and the personality of the pot help or dictate the mini garden theme. An unglazed, terra cotta pot would be the perfect pot for a rustic backyard garden-theme. A big, black, glazed, ceramic pot would look smashing with a formal-style miniature garden planted with a Blue Pygmy Juniper, Hens & Chicks and Wooley Thyme for the understory that all enjoy the full sun and tolerate the odd dry soil.

See all our miniature garden trees, plants and accessories for miniature gardening here.


Your Miniature Garden Center

5. Try a complete kit.

I have a variety of Miniature Garden Kits in my online store, to suit a number of different environments. They come complete with full color instructions that guide you through the simple steps to create a mini garden in a container, and it can be applied to an in-ground garden too.

Miniature gardens make great gifts for that hard-to-shop for person in your life, hostess gifts, centerpieces for family gatherings or weddings. They do very well at charity auctions and raffles too.

There are just as many reasons to grow your own world, as there are reasons to live in this one. Enjoy your mini garden journey and adhere to the most important, number one rule of gardening in miniature: Have fun and grow your own world.

Need more?


Visit the source of the miniature garden hobby here.
Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center’s here.

Like this? You’ll love our weekly Mini Garden Gazette! It’s free! Join us here.


Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!
The bestselling book on the hobby! Click in to get your autographed copy or find it on Amazon.com!


Shop Miniature Garden Plants

9 thoughts on “5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

  1. Hello Janit

    Thank you for your email responding to my enquiry regarding sending to Australia – I inadvertently removed your email but just wanted to say I will be placing an order with you but will await the publication of your e-book to get me started. So much looking forward to reading the book

    Helen in Oz


  2. Rosalie Kornblau 16/09/2016 — 8:26 pm

    What would be the best plants for an all shade garden??


    1. Hi Rosalie! You don’t mention where you are – can you email us with your zip code so I can help you with a better answer? You can email us through our main website http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com. (If I leave it here, I get too much spam.) TY – J.


  3. I want to build a fairy garden out side in a large pot or somthing, do I need to put an all weather type coat on the pieces before I do this?


    1. Hi Pam, It depends which accessories you are using. Most of ours don’t need any UV protectant spray but the big-box-store-resin items will need to be coated with a UV Protectant spray to keep the accessories colorful. It slows down the bleaching process, at the very least.


  4. Kim Lamphiear 06/12/2017 — 7:33 pm

    Janit, hi! I spoke with you briefly on the phone, I live in Canada. I emailed you at two thumbs, I think. I forgot the email address you told me to use. Just wanted to let you know.


    1. Hi Kim! I missed seeing this note with the new WordPress platform for some reason. I’m not used to it yet – apologies! I’m at info@twogreenthumbs.com if you still have the info handy. Apologies again – J.


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