So, you want to design a woodland garden? You want your yard to be a part of nature in its most organic state? Or at least look like it. Well, you’ve come to the right place, because we have some amazing inspiration just for you.
Now, let’s just get one thing straight. A fairy garden is often confused with a woodland garden. But a fairy garden is a tiny garden that is the size of a dollhouse and made for “fairies” that inhabit your land.
What Is A Woodland Garden?
A woodland garden is an outdoor area filled with trees and plants of varying layers and heights. They are often modeled after a forest you’d see in a storybook or fantasy. Unlike a standard garden, woodland gardens are often overgrown.
Of course, the garden doesn’t have to be overgrown. If this bothers you, you can weed and mow regularly and keep things nice and tidy. There aren’t strict rules when it comes to woodland gardens, it’s about what makes sense to you.
Finding Statement Pieces Of Your Own
Anyone can plant a few trees or flowers. But it takes someone with a creative mind who can tap into their inner child to create a woodland garden. Finding inspiration can be hard, but if you take a look at nature, you can find that special piece.
A hollowed-out log is a great place to start. Or perhaps a gorgeous set of stone steps. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. You are creating a getaway, a “secret garden” that isn’t so secret.
Creating A Fortress
Woodland gardens are often thought of as life-size fairy gardens. Like human or elven fairy gardens. So of course, some sort of fortress or place to inhabit is a must. You can create a treehouse, hut, or something similar.
You can buy one outright for a few thousand dollars, or you can build your own. There are thousands of DIY guides online for building forts like this, so find one that speaks to you or get original with your own design.
Best Woodland Garden Plants
There are plenty of trees, plants, and flowers you can use. In reality, anything you like will do. But if you want to add to the overall aesthetic in a traditional fantasy way, then consider some of these options.
Let’s start by saying that you can use anything, from oak trees to Easter lilies. But those are plants that you’ve probably already considered. If you want to get more magical, then these are some great options.
Here are some trees you may have never heard of, or at least forget to consider for your woodland garden.
The strangler fig is a strange plant that searches for a tree to call its “host.” It then slowly begins to cover the host with its limbs, sometimes, completely encasing it. The result is a gorgeous and fantastical conglomeration of roots and branches.
Dragon’s Blood Tree
The dragon’s blood tree gets its name from the fact that it produces red sap that looks like blood. The tree itself has a very distinct shape with a crown that mushrooms out and a straight trunk. It really is amazing.
The jacarandas tree is a purple paradise tree. So if you love purple then there isn’t a better option. If you want a pink version of the Jacarandas then consider the trumpet tree which is just gorgeous.
Wisterias of any kind are great additions to a woodland garden. The drooping purple branches add a magical effect to any woodland garden. Another drooping option with a similar effect is the weeping willow.
Japanese maple trees are maple trees with deep red leaves. The biggest difference between them and other maple trees is that they only grow to about 30ft at the high end whereas that is the low end for other maples.
It doesn’t get more magical than the rainbow eucalyptus. The bark of this tree is rainbow in color, primarily greens, yellows, and reds. The bark even seems to glimmer in certain lighting, a real spectacular phenomenon.
Cherry blossoms are beautiful Japanese trees known as sakura. They have pink flowers and offer a peaceful vision for your woodland garden. The petals fall every year in our spring and the result is more than magical.
The baobab tree is a strange tree with a large trunk and a tiny crown. This is opposite to most trees which have a large crown and a thinner trunk. These trees can live up to thousands of years, so get ready.
The dogwood tree is a lovely tree with white flowers. There is also another option with pink flowers known as pink dogwood. These both grow in the United States are fairly easy to find for your woodland garden.
If you have a lot of water in your woodland garden, the mangroves are a great option for anyone. They have roots that grow in water and they can be placed near each other to create natural tunnels or groves.
Flowers And Greenery
Now that we’ve gotten the big things out of the way, it’s time to move onto other plants. Again, any plants will do, we are simply bringing a few strange and often underused ones that make a big impact.
Yarrow is a great, medical plant that has many medical properties including treating fever, common cold, loss of appetite, and more. It looks unassuming but it is one powerful plant that is handy to keep around.
Belladonna is a berry-producing plant that is called “beautiful lady” because it was originally used to increase the pupil size of women. Since then, it has been found to be poisonous, but can add an ominous feel to your woodland garden.
Rhododendron is a great flower if you know how to take care of it. Or rather, how to make sure to take care of the plants around it. If there were a fight, this flower would win, so give it room to grow.
Getting moss started in your woodland garden isn’t always easy. But once it gets started, it can be hard to stop it. This isn’t a problem because moss looks amazing in any type of natural landscaping.
The corpse plant, also known as titan arum, is a huge plant that looks like a boss you’d face in a video game. Unfortunately, it gives off a natural sulfurous odor that is not all that pleasant, so keep it away from walkways.
The rafflesia looks like a giant flower made from rubber. It could definitely be seen in a Nintendo game, inspiring Pokémon and Animal Crossing both. If you love games like those, you have to consider the rafflesia.
Bear’s-Head Tooth Mushroom
The bear’s-head tooth mushroom looks more like icicles, salt deposits, or crystals than a mushroom. But not only are they actually fungi, but they are also edible. Just make sure you know the best way to prepare them.
There are many different types of pitcher plants, so you’ll need to find out what is available to you. Despite popular belief, they aren’t dangerous to humans but will eat insects and small animals if available.
Here are a few more things you can add to your woodland garden that you probably haven’t thought of.
Living Stone – Lithops
Have you ever imagined a living stone? Well, turns out, there is such a thing as one. Living stones are succulent plants that look like real rocks. They open up like pitcher plants and are super fun to watch.
Venus Fly Trap
Like pitcher plants, the Venus flytrap can’t eat anything much bigger than a fly. So you don’t have to worry about that. They do look amazing in any woodland garden because they stand out and can move.
If you have any water nearby, adding lilypads can take the body to the next level. Especially if you have waterlilies to go along with them. They come in all sizes, so you can choose quarter-sized ones or ones big enough to hold a small child.
Creating A “Natural” Habitat
Adding some things that naturally occur in nature, like a stream, is a perfect way to bring your woodland garden together. You can experiment with all types of things, from rocks to bodies of water, to things that don’t even belong.
The point is to take your favorite aspects of nature and put them together to create your haven. If you like water, get it, even if it’s just a fountain. If you want large rocks, then buy them if you have to.
Think Like A Woodland Creature
Finally, the most important thing to remember. Thing like a woodland creature! What’s the best way to create an amazing kids’ room? Think like a kid. What about an awesome man cave? Think like a man.
So of course, the best way to create a woodland garden is to think like a woodland creature. Create your fortress, your oasis, your haven. This is your sanctuary because there’s not much that’s more relaxing than nature.