Secret Fairy Garden in an Upcycled Wheelbarrow
Written by on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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!

Here’s a fun video I made of the garden:

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:




  1. Gary says:

    LOVE this!!!!! You are soo talented!

  2. Debbie Flanagan says:

    That is one of the best ideas you’ve ever come up with. My sister made a fairy garden in a terrarium and entered it in the county fair just yesterday. She got grand champion with it. I wish we could have seen yours first. I am going to send it to her. She loves your idea too. Thanks Eileen.

  3. Kathy Costner Brown says:

    Perfect!! Thankyou so much, I actually have the same wheeelbarrow with a broken handle. Have been thinking about putting a fairy garden somewhere in my garden for my 1 yr old grand-daughter and grand-son to enjoy. Never thought about this great idea. I love it!

  4. SoundEagle says:

    Good recycling and creative effort all in all!

  5. So incredible! I love this!!!

  6. […] You may also want to check out my Fairy Garden! […]

  7. Miguel P. says:

    Wow very nice work!
    The houses door looks amazing. Keep up the great work and please post more!

  8. Dani says:

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from Neww Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the
    good job!

  9. […] you might remember the fairy garden I created inside a recycled broken wheelbarrow… […]

  10. Jill Paulson says:

    This is GORGEOUS and so creative. Please share what soul & plants used. Did you have to put holes in the barrel for the water to drain?

    • Eileen says:

      Thank you Jill. I’m not sure I can remember all of the plants, but here is a short list: plumbago, lantana, porter weed, begonias
      I didn’t need any holes in the bottom of my wheelbarrow because it was so deep, but I did lay a bed of rocks down first. I think I would add drainage holes in wheelbarrows that are more shallow though.
      Thanks for stopping by The Seasonal Home & enjoy the creativity and videos! Eileen

  11. John Moyer says:

    Very creative . An alternative use of expired wheelbarrow . Much thanks for such idea. This would enhance the beauty of garden.

  12. Dela Cruz says:

    Thanks i love to use it wheelbarrow for my garden work, its really helps to make easy garden work.

  13. […] The Seasonal Home – Secret Fairy Garden in an Upcycled Wheelbarrow (Video) […]

  14. Charlotte Koch says:

    We have an old lonely wheelbarrow in the back that I’ve been wanting to do something with. With your inspiration (I have no imagination) it’s going to get a makeover and a special spot in the front garden. So looking forward to this project. Thanks for sharing.

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