DIY Beach Fairy Garden Make a whimsical summertime scene to cure your family’s not-going-to-the-beach blues

How to make a DIY beach fairy garden
Photo: Lindsay Ponta

Social distancing restrictions are easing at popular vacation destinations, but not everyone is comfortable traveling yet. If your kids are bummed about not spending time at the shore this summer, a DIY beach fairy garden is a cute way to bring the sand and the ocean to them.

I used coastal accessories to decorate my beach fairy garden, but you could add LEGO minifigures, tiny dinosaurs or other unexpected elements to let little imaginations run wild.

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Supplies needed for DIY beach fairy gardenSupplies:

  • Shallow planter or saucer
  • White acrylic paint
  • Foam brush, damp rag or paintbrush
  • Plastic grocery bags or newspaper (optional)
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sand
  • Blue glass beads or granules
  • Miniature fencing
  • Miniature beach props: shells, beach chairs, mini beach ball, etc.
  • Air plants, artificial succulents or grasses
  • Glue stick


1. If you’re using a terra cotta planter like I did, you can whitewash it for a more beachy look. Mix an equal amount of white acrylic paint and water into a dish, then paint the outside and inner lip of the planter using a foam brush, damp rag or paintbrush. Let it dry completely and paint a second coat, if necessary.

2. If your planter is deeper than one inch, you may want to fill the extra space with crumpled up plastic grocery bags or newspaper. This way, you won’t need to use as much sand and it won’t be as heavy.

3. (You can skip this step if you didn’t fill your planter with bags or newspaper.)
Cut a piece of aluminum foil about 1/4 inch larger in diameter than the opening of the planter. Tuck it over the crumpled bags or newspaper and use a hot glue gun to attach the edges all the way around the inside lip of the planter. Gluing the foil to the pot will prevent the sand from falling beneath it.

4. Fill the planter to the top with sand.

5. Use a spoon to scoop out a hollow spot on one side. This is where we’re going to add the “water.” Make it a gradual incline, just like a real shoreline at the beach.

Adding "water" to your DIY beach fairy garden

6. Pour your glass granules or beads into the hollow spot. Don’t worry about making the shoreline too perfect. A real beach doesn’t have straight lines!

7. Cut a piece of miniature fence to fit across the back of the planter. Nestle it down really well into the sand, leaving room behind it to add plants later. Tip: You can find the fencing in the miniatures section of your local craft store. They might even have a specific section for fairy gardens!

8. Add your miniature props, and be creative! I used a little lawn chair, a beach sign, some real seashells and a flamingo. Other ideas include mini sandcastles and buckets, tiny drink bottles, beach towels and pool floats.

9. Tuck your plants into the little dune behind your fencing. You can also use real plants, but you may need to alter the project a little bit to make sure they have the right growing conditions.

About Lindsay Ponta

Lindsay Ponta created the DIY and lifestyle website Shrimp Salad Circus in 2009 to inspire busy women to live perfectly-imperfect creative lives. She lives in Silver Spring, MD. Find easy DIYs and recipes at

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