Design a miniature garden


In this activity pupils can design and plan a garden and make a miniature version of it using natural or found objects.

  • Estimated time: 45 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Create an object to develop and share experiences, ideas and imagination
  • Experiment with a range of media
  • Interpret a theme to create an object

Essential background information


Set the theme and ask pupils to design a garden on paper beforehand. You could use SketchUp or CAD if you have them available. Examples could be linked to the curriculum such as Dig for Victory, wildlife gardening, dinosaurs or desert gardens.
Link the garden to a favourite book with younger children.

Equipment needed

  • Flat containers such as shallow dishes or seed trays
  • Potting compost, plants and seeds
  • Collected natural materials such as moss, pines cones and twigs
  • Miniature figures or toys fitting the theme
  • Modelling clay, lollypop sticks and gravel 

Step by step

  1. Fill the container with compost; level off with the side of a ruler to create an even surface.
  2. Following the plan, add in structures such as gravel paths, lid for pond, twig fence, wigwam or bridge.
  3. Place plant material such as carrot, parsnip and celery tops in a lid full of water to sprout into trees in a few days. Small plants or rooted cuttings could also be used. Then add natural materials such as twigs, berries, nuts and pine cones to the design if desired.
  4. Sow speedy seeds over patches where you want to create a grass effect. Sieve a small layer of compost over the seeds. Water well. Leave now for a few days for seedlings to grow.
  5. At the last moment, add in cuttings of broccoli florets, herbs, flowers and shrubs to create tree effect.
  6. Add in any figures linked to your garden theme.

Hints & tips

  • This is a great activity for a competition within the class, school or community. It has been a favourite at village shows for years.
  • Make your garden seaonal to add extra interest. Some ideas may be by adding spring bulbs, petals for summer, mini sqashes or veg for autumn and a twiggy reindeer for winter. 

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