The Tiny Garden: Building a Terrarium

My mom came in town for a magnificent week of cooking, eating, resting, shopping, cooking some more, and … building a terrarium. This project has been on my to-do list for quite a while, and what a perfect project for two!

I’m not sure my mom had “creating a terrarium” top on her list for what to do during her visit, but I think my favorite thing about that terrarium is that I built it with her. Once completed, we named it The Tiny Garden and it sits on my dining table as the perfect centerpiece.

My mom and I looked at a couple of different websites to figure out how to build it. Both Indie Fixx and Nesting Place give great instructions, very similar to how we created ours. Here’s what we did:

Step 1) We found a vessel and cleaned it with soap and water. For a few weeks I’ve had the perfect glass vessel that was waiting to become something more. (I traded my friend a book for it so it didn’t cost a thing!) I have no idea what it is originally for, but it makes for a fabulous terrarium container.


You can find the horticultural charcoal at your local garden store.

Step 4: Add Layer of Damp Sphagnum Moss

Step 4: Add Layer of Damp Sphagnum Moss

This is where we differed from the sites I listed. Adding this damp moss helps with moisture levels (as does the horticultural charcoal).

Step 5: Add a Few Inches of Potting Soil

Step 5: Add a Few Inches of Potting Soil

Step 6) Now we were ready for the plants – we added an aloe plant that I already had, along with an English Ivy and a Pink Blush Aloe. Once the plants were placed and more soil was added to fill in, I added some rocks in the bare area, a little plastic ninja that had been looking for a good home (I like to imagine him ninja-ing through the forest), and the sign of where the ninja has found himself: in The Tiny Garden.

The Completed Terrarium

The Completed Terrarium

So now I am just observing the terrarium to make sure all looks okay, and that there isn’t too much condensation (a little is okay). If it looks dry, I’ll give it a spritz of water, but otherwise I’m leaving it alone and hoping the plants (and ninja) survive and thrive in their new home!

See the Ninja?

See the Ninja?

Leave a comment


  1. leahsinger

     /  March 28, 2011

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been wanting to create one of these for some time now.

    • It is so much fun – definitely give it a try. Just a note – to find the charcoal go to a local garden center. I checked Lowes and they didn’t have it.

  2. Very nice! I like it! šŸ™‚


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