Enchanted Garden Series: Best Ideals to add Mystery and Whimsy to Your Garden

By JULIE - 6:36:00 PM

living willow Auroch sculpture by artist Kim Creswell
This is the third post in our enchanted garden series.   My garden inspiration this season is an enchanted forest.  After watching the movie Snow White and the Huntsman I started dreaming of turning our yard and garden into an enchanted forest. So what makes a forest and enchanted forest?  Here's what I think makes an enchanted forest.  
One meaning of enchanted is to fill (someone) with great delight; charm.  So what are some ways to add charm and delight to your garden?  It's not hard to find great ideal online to add charm and whimsy to your garden.  Your limited only by your imagination.  Some great ways are to add unexpected items, lighting, and tp create mystery by making outdoor rooms, doorways, and meandering paths.
Add Lighting
Lighting can add a sense of magic to your yard and garden at light.  And now with so many options for solar lights it's easy to add lighting anywhere you want.  I've posted some pretty cool ideals for magical lighting before so I'm going to focus on outdoor solar lighting in this article.  Here are some of my  favourite solar lighting ideals.

Mod Home Ec made 3 different solar lights by repurposing  some materials and solar lights.  My favourite one she made is pictured above a table lamp turned outdoor solar lamp.  Genius!  It fits right in with my design astethic of outdoof furniture feeling like indoor furniture.   I will definitely try as soon as I find an inexpensive lamp somewhere (all of our lamps are antiques so I wouldn't want to have them outside).  She simply put a solar lawn light on top of the lamp instead of a light bulb. I would suggest using a lamp that will not break easily since it's more likely to be knocked over by people, animals, and wind than it would indoors.

I love this small solar powered lighted fountain  on Amazon for $30 it's only 7 x 6 x 16 inches so it would be great as a centre piece.

I love this ideal via My Home Lookbook put dollar store solar lights on a planter hook.  I plan to do this on our garage soon.
My new obsession is lights made from solar lights from the dollar store.  At that price even if your ideal doesn't work who cares?
Learn how to make a Solar chandelier at This Sorta Old Life
Learn how to make this outdoor solar chandelier light at Simple Details
 You can make a chandelier, or hang it on a wall (as seen above) with a plant hanger, or just stick them into a planter like Home Depot did shown below.  The ideals are really endless.

Learn how to make this solar light planter at Home Depot

Add Mystery

Charming Winding Paths
How adorable are these concrete stepping stones by Tuffits?

Add Something Unexpected

Unexpected Furniture
This is where the real fun comes.  Let your imagination soar remember our only rules are to bring delight and charm to our garden.  So what do you find delightful and charming?  Personally I like the ideal of real wow factors for this one something that will really make some take pause in a good way.  

You can create this with just plants and dirt like the "lawn furniture" pictured below, with found or recycled objects, or items you make or purchase.  Below are my all time favourites.  

I'm loving the ideal of making living furniture out dirt cardboard and grass. If only our yard was larger.....  Below are a few different ideals for creating "lawn furniture".
I love this chair made out of grass and cardboard!  So tempted to do this....I might have enough room...  via Inhabitat
Don't want to make one yourself then buy one ready made of lightweight plastic by GH Design
grass Ottoman by GH Design
The lawn couch below was made by Greg Tate a California architect for the now defunct magazine Ready Made.  I searched for the original article but could not find it.  The best I could find was a copy of some of it on Farm Show, below is paraphrased from this article.

So How do You Make This?
Greg says you can calculate the amount of dirt you'll need by simply multiplying the dimensions of the couch you plan to make. His sod couch was 8 by 8 by 4-ft., or 256 cubic feet.  "Clear the area of grass and weeds until you have a level swath of dirt. Then sketch the shape of the couch into the dirt with a stick," he explains. "Drive wood stakes into the ground along the perimeter every 18 in. or so, to a depth of about 12 in. These will secure the form."

Then, nail waferboard to the stakes to create "walls," and start shoveling dirt into the form.  Once the dirt is a foot high, water and compress it by stomping on top of it. Continue compaction until you reach the top of the form.

"Once the basic shape is in place and secure, carefully remove the wood form and mold the couch to your liking, rounding off the corners. Next, sit on the couch and squirm around to form a comfortable seat. Smooth out the entire sofa like a large sculpture, making sure it is the exact shape and comfort you want. Then sprinkle the sofa with a healthy layer of fertilizer and gypsite and water," he says.

"For extra reinforcement, lay strips of poultry wire netting over the arms and back.....Now you're ready to lay the sod. Stagger the rows so the seams don't fall in a line, and use chopsticks or planting stakes to hold the sod in place over the wire. Over the next few weeks, water your sofa often, soaking it thoroughly. Once the sod has taken root, remove the planting stakes and trim as needed with an ordinary weed trimmer."

To add to the emphasis on truly "outdoor furniture," Tate suggests making a "sand bag chair" in conjunction with the sod sofa. Use 3 ft. long by 5/8-in. dia. rebar stakes driven about a foot or so into the ground behind the chair for support. Otherwise the bags will slip away.

"I've always wanted to do an entire installation of sod furniture with sofas, chairs, ottomans and such, as an outdoor room - complete with river rock "throw rug," says Tate.  Wouldn't a river rock rug be fun to finish it off!  Mental note if I ever make a patio....  I would love to ask Greg if there was an easy way to mow his sculpture?  Any ideals?
A real living couch made by architect Greg Tate for the now defunct magazine Ready Made
 I guess England loved the living furniture ideal because the National Trust has constructed a series of “open air sitting rooms” The campaign, dubbed “Sofa, so good,” has reached 12 spots across the UK from Osterley Park and House in London to Northern Ireland’s Rowallane Garden to Cambridgeshire’s Wimpole Hall— complete with oversized (one is really big) davenports with accompanying coffee tables — from hay bales covered with “grass blankets” and placed them in outdoor venues around the UK.  “Traveling” sofas can also be found around various town centers throughout the summer.  How fun is that?
image via Mother Nature Network

image via Mother Nature Network
You can even make a bed!  Don't you just want to climb into this?
image found via Vintage Rose Garden
If you don't want to make furniture out of your lawn but want living furniture you can try to re purpose furniture by painting it bright colors and planting succulants, groundcover plants, ferns, ivy, or moss like Garden expert Debra Prinzing did below.

via Apartment Therapy  living repurposed chair by  Debra Prinzing  
Unexpected Structures
willow deer sculpture by artist Caroline Gregson

I love the ideal of willow animal sculptures for your garden.  This one is made by artist Caroline Gregson.   You could have moss growing on it if you want or have plants growing in it like  the anouch sculpture by artist Kim Creswell pictured above.  She also created a living arbour pictured below that would create a cute nook anywhere.

living willow arbour created by artist Kim Creswell
This fake tree was made for Halloween, but I think it would be cool year around!

Check out this fake tree made by the Dark Gardener
Whimsical Plants
You can only imagine the fun shapes you can trim shrubs into to make fun whimsical shapes.  Think Edward Scissor Hands (love that movie by the way).  Think about how cool your sculptures will look in the winter.

Edward Scissorhands
topiary people!  How fun  via Topiary Park
How Pretty is the bark on this tree?  Korean Stewartia Tree via Wills Orchard Co
Imagine an entire forest of trees with bark like this?  Very Enchanted indeed.  The Korean Stewartia Tree is a small to medium-sized, deciduous garden tree, 30 to 40 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide, has camellia-like flowers in summer, and bright yellow and red foliage in autumn.

Unexpected Planters

I've posted about the ideal of planting dressers  I love colour combo of these flowers and dresser.
Dress form turned planter with roses from Nostalgia at the Stone House

I love the ideal of a planter that makes the plant the hair (see below)!

image via Fine Gardening Courtesy of Linda Phair
Whimsical Outdoor Furniture
So what kind of furniture would Snow White relax on.  Here's what I envision:

found via Inspire Bohemia
found via Inspire Bohemia
So this outdoor set pictured below is for kids and is available via Chasing Fireflies.

image via Chasing Fireflies

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