Fun at the Fair

Welcome to Part 6 of our blog series on how we made our large fairy garden at Ferny Hill Retreat. In our last post, Part 5, we explored various types of real and artificial plants we used to bring our Fairy Garden to life.

At this stage of the project all the fundamentals are complete – soil prep, rock terraces, much of the ground cover and some of the planting. That means we’ve reached a milestone and are ready to add the finer details (Part 3, micro hardscaping). Yep, we can finalise each section of our Fairy Village. Yay!

In this post we’re zeroing in on the Carnival (aka Fair). After all, every fun Fairy Village has to have a Carnival! And from this post onwards we’ll share a section at a time, roughly following the plan we came up with in Part 2, until the entire village is complete. Can’t wait!

A bird’s eye view

Here’s a photo of the Carnival taken from above. It’s not quite finished in this picture but it’s very close. Some of the rides came with gnomes attached which was a real bonus. 

Key tips


  • When positioning the carnival rides, dance pavilion and tiles, we placed everything where we believed it should go before adding the gravel and then looked at it from several angles.
  • Stepping back and reviewing the layout this way helped us to see where we needed to tweak the position of some items, ensuring everything was well spaced and looked realistic.  

Ground cover

  • Beneath the colourful tiles and blue and white gravel we laid builder’s sand. This leveled out the remaining bumpy areas and gave the upper ground cover a surface to adhere to.
  • We laid the tiles and spread the white gravel over the sand base then pressed them all down lightly to ensure they were locked into the sand.
  • The round areas of blue gravel were created by hammering drainage holes into plastic pot plant drip trays.
  • We then dug out shallow, round patches of sand/soil the same size as the trays.
  • Lastly, we placed the trays in the holes and filled them with blue gravel. It worked really well! 


There are plants dotted here and there and many more yet to come in other parts of the village (see Part 5: Choosing plants). Some of these are artificial and others are real. 

The edging

The edge of the white gravel remains a bit crooked. That’s because we have low fencing to go along the perimeters, along with some small plants and mulch. We’re saving the edging as a final clean-up task.  

Snap shots

Here are a few pics of the Carnival taken at different times during the building process. 

This little fairy is supposed to be selling Carnival tickets but it looks like she’s
been sniffing a bit too much fairy dust to bother! 

Here’s a close up of the dance pavilion, with musicians and dancers boogying their little hearts out.

After playing in the Carnival for a while the wee folk reported that the gravel
was hurting their tiny feet. They were very grateful when we added some paths. 

Towards the top of photo above this one you can see the Village Cafe
so we thought you might like a close-up of that too.

What’s next?

As we noted at the beginning of this post, we’ll be focusing on one section of the Fairy Village at a time from this point onwards.

Now that the Carnival is done we’re working on the Fairy Tree, covered in Part 7.

Happy Fairy Gardening one and all! 


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