Secret Fairy Garden in an Upcycled Wheelbarrow

[As always, click on any photo to view it larger]

Nothing renders a trusty wheelbarrow “useless” faster than a broken handle.  And as you can see, The Seasonal Home is now the proud owner of one. (LOL)


My first instinct was to head to the DIY store to purchase a new handle, but let me be the first to tell you that they are only sold in pairs and are super expensive!  And as you can see (in the photos below), there is only a $20 difference between a pair of handles & a brand new wheelbarrow.  So, I decided to up-cycle my ol’ one-armed wheelbarrow and purchase a new one for yard duty.


First, I cleaned the wheelbarrow and let it dry completely.


Next, I spray painted it (using a spray paint that doesn’t require priming and adheres to most surfaces) to coordinate with the other accessories in my yard (chandelier, bird bath & outdoor planters) that I’ve also painted bright blue (check out my older garden posts to see those ideas).

It needed more color, so I accented it with light green, using a stencil to create the design, outlining the design elements (using a black marker) to make them pop.


Once it was painted, I looked for the perfect spot to place it, in my garden, and found an empty area next to an orange tree I recently planted.  Also, I’ll place it so the side with the missing handle faces the fence (wow!  need to re-stain that soon…lol).  So, the wheelbarrow will be perfect there, because I can move it once my tree grows large enough to fill in the area.

I knew if I filled the wheelbarrow with some soil and plants, I would have instant height, volume & color, so this was the perfect spot!  I was so excited that my wounded wheelbarrow warrior would accomplish 3 things:  bring my bright blue accent color to another garden spot, fill a hole in my garden bed and create height, becoming a triple problem-solver.

But, I had a 4th idea – to also tuck in a secret fairy garden!  I already had a little fairy, but she needed a cottage.  You can find fairy houses in stores, but they are usually pricey.  Luckily, I found this bird house in the clearance at Home Goods for only $12 and with a small renovation, it will be just as cute.


I turned the bird house into a fairy cottage, by gluing a doll house door (using a piece of gift wrap for a curtain) to the front.  Before I glued it to the bird house, I painted it, added an address and (snap) doorbell.  The front door step is a length of balsa wood (that I also painted).  Of course, any respectful fairy would busy herself by collecting trinkets, so I glued a few of those to the front door step also.

To protect my fairy cottage from in-climate outdoor weather, I coated it with urethane and glued it to a stand, so it wouldn’t touch the dirt.

With a few more accessories in place, my up-cycled wheelbarrow now has a secret…. a little fairy and her sweet cottage.

Click on photo to view larger detail

And now, I have a brand new, gorgeous focal point in my garden, filling up a (formerly) open space with color, texture and whimsy.  This would be a great summer project to create with children of any age.  Suggestion: consider adding a couple of new accessories to match the changing seasons (mini pumpkins/hay bales, basket of eggs, tiny Christmas tree, etc.) to keep the fun fresh, which would also make a great seasonal tradition you can all look forward to!

And now, for a touch of  “FALL” in the Fairy’s Garden:

Enjoy the Creativity!


P.S.  Here are a few other “everyday” items you might consider re-purposing into a garden planter before you discard them:



Personally, I think today’s tough economy has given rise to this new trend I stumbled upon.

Let’s face it, families are struggling and therefore, stores are struggling, so people are looking for easy and inexpensive escapes into fantasy-filled things like movies, video games, etc.; basically, anything that creates an imaginary world away from their troubles.  My guess is that a very creative and smart store owner, in a small town somewhere, may have come up with this small touch of fantasy, to lighten the mood of their store guests. What a great idea…. to begin a shopper’s experience, by creating a whimsical mood, right outside their store’s front entrance!

Just imagine yourself approaching a storefront and noticing a tiny, little door, somewhere on a wall, near the store’s entrance. You know this miniature, out-of-place oddity would catch your attention!  Immediately, your mind begins to wander to a happy, trouble-free place.  Although the thought only lasts for a brief moment, you imagine a tiny fairy sneaking in the store, while no one’s looking, via her very own private entrance. Automatically, a smile that begins in your mind, ends up on your face and viola’, the proper mood is set (by the store owner). You’re in the right frame of mind to shop because now, you think of this particular store as a magical place full of creativity and whimsy, ready for you to explore and find a tiny, inexpensive treasure (of your own) to take home and enjoy. Here’s a photo I found (on the internet) of a store owner who did just that:

And now that you have seen how adorable this creative idea is, allow me to inspire you to create one of your own, by showing you how inexpensive and easy it is!

The first and main thing you will need is an unfinished doll house door.  They are inexpensive (around $10) and available in many places, i.e. craft stores, miniature shops and on the internet on websites like  I am suggesting that you purchase an unfinished door so you can paint it any color you want.   In my case, I went with green to coordinate with my own front door, like any southern fairy would! (LOL)  In actuality, I painted mine green because I plan to redecorate it for each season and green goes with everything.  Also, if you want to keep your expenses low and also make things easy on yourself, purchase a door without a window as this will avoid the need for curtains.

Because I was decorating my fairy door for Halloween, I simply used a piece of orange tissue paper ( with a spider & spider web design, recycled from a gift I received) as a curtain.  I taped  it to the back side of the door and I was done… so easy!  I also glued one-half of a clothing snap (from my sewing kit – $0) to the left of the door, to simulate a doorbell.  Then, I found a door handle and key at a craft store (Hobby Lobby) for apx. $3.  I glued the door handle on the door and laid the key on the front porch.

If your door doesn’t come with a front porch (stoop), it’s very easy to create one.  Mine didn’t come with one, so I purchased a very inexpensive strip of balsa wood (less than $2), cut it to fit, glued it to the underneath side of the bottom of my door and painted it.  Creating a front porch is important because that is where things (your fairy collects) are displayed to stimulate your guest’s imaginations.

On the front porch, I placed:

  • miniature pumpkins (cut from a single fall, floral stem, purchased at a craft store for .99 cents)
  • a miniature hay bale, cut into 2 pieces and stacked (.99 cents)
  • a tiny witch’s broom made from a q-tip, which was painted and a little straw (from the hay bale) was added around the tip to create the broom bristles (free)
  • an acorn (free)
  • a penny (.01 cent)
  • a little bird seed (free)
  • a tiny Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin to simulate a Trick-or-Treat container.  Inside – a few pieces of tiny bird seed painted orange, yellow & white (to simulate candy corn gathered on a night of Trick-or-Treating – .99 cents)
  • a miniature Fall wreath, made from one piece of my orange pepperberry garland (see the chandelier garland in my “HALLOWEEN 2010” post).  I used the (removable) gummy “Tack-It” product (found in the office supply depts. of discount stores) to hang it on the door
  • the lit, nighttime look was created by a battery-operated strand of 10 LED rice lights (tiny little, low wattage lights found in any craft store).  I hid the power box underneath the porch and tucked the rice lights behind the door’s window curtain to illuminate it at night (apx. $3)

NOTE: I hung my door on my brick (housefront) with a BRICK CLIP, easily found in the hardware depts. of stores



This project took me a couple of hours to create and the process was very simple.  The most important fact is that I thoroughly enjoyed the escape into creativity that this project provided for me.  And for around $20, I will enjoy treating my family and friends (as the store owner above did) to some imaginary fun.  I can’t wait to stir their imaginations, on Hallow’s Eve and throughout every season and holiday.  I’ll be adding more photos to this posting, as each season approaches and my door designs are complete, but for now, here’s the finished product for Fall/Halloween:

Here’s my fairy door for the Christmas holiday:

These doors are the cutest when you place them near the floor. However, I have a very curious young child that lives next door to me and would love to rearrange this for me if he could reach it, so I simply placed it higher (LOL).

You may also want to check out my Fairy Garden! 🙂

Enjoy the Creativity