The butterfly has been synonymous with Taylor Swift since her Debut album. With the beginning of the Lover era, we saw the most magical butterfly known to man when Taylor stepped on the red carpet at the Billboard Music Awards when she received her Tour of the Year Award —a tour the critics said would only have empty seats, but instead made history. As an unforeseeable factor, you might find that making a DIY butterfly garden to renew your outdoor space is a great way to bring your love for Taylor to your home.
DIY Butterfly Garden
This butterfly garden can be as big as you want it to be, but here we have created one that is “fairy sized.” When we decided to create a butterfly garden, we first toyed with the idea that it would be a full-size garden.
Then we realized that many Swifties may have limited space, such as an apartment or dorm room. So, we decided to make it small enough to fit any space. Besides, who wouldn’t love to make miniature Taylor ornaments for their tiny garden?
Details Are Everything
Creating a butterfly garden is both as easy and difficult as it sounds. But we’ve already made the mistakes, so it’ll be 13% easier for you. You’re welcome. And remember, get as creative as you like – this is your place, you make the rules!
We incorporated miniature lyric signs made from plant stakes (found at the dollar store) using a black paint pen. We also added in just a couple of small items —a fox, a unicorn, and a bicycle.
One of our favorite added items is a camper that we repainted, a small hanging battery-operated lantern, and a garden stone (also from the dollar store).
TIP: Use a white paint pen to write “Lover” on the garden stone.
Know Before You Grow…
In order to effectively create a butterfly garden, you’ll need to provide for the four main needs for your soon to be butterfly family: food, water, shelter, and space for caterpillars.
The flowers you select should not only attract and support your butterflies but also thrive in the amount of sunlight you have available in the space that you’ve chosen.
Butterflies eat nectar and are attracted to flowers with bright colors, but you should also consider that the caterpillars need a separate food supply. Yellow coneflowers, goldenrod, lavender, and phlox are great choices for butterflies whereas caterpillars love leafy plants that retain water such as sedum (stonecrop) or milkweed.
We chose purple and white phlox for our butterflies and sedum for our caterpillars since we have a partial sunspace. Remember, choose the right plants for your for the sunlight you have to work with.
Believe it or not, butterflies take baths, and of course, they need a source of water to drink from. Our water source is at the top of our tiered garden. We filled the pot with lava rocks and blue glass stones to create a shallow water space.
Butterflies need shelter from the rain. Leaving a space between your second tier and your flowers will give them nooks and tunnels to hide in.
Again, we chose sedum because it flourishes in partial shade, it’s drought-tolerant and easy to maintain. Plus, as it grows, you can separate it and replant it. You could even use the sedum clippings to make a Taylor flower pot, but we won’t twist your arm.
Building Your Butterfly Garden
- x3 Plastic planters, (3 difference sizes: large, medium, and small)
- x1 Bag potting soil
- Ground covering – Dry or fresh moss or rocks *Heat absorbent and helps butterflies maintain their body temp.
- Glass stones (top pot)
- Gardening trowel
- x2 cement pavers
- x1 Package plant stakes (lyric signs)
- Tiny decorations of your choosing
- Black and white paint markers
- Clear warm fairy lights (battery)
- Sturdy stick for support
- Clearcoat spray
- Butterfly/caterpillar food plants
Your butterfly garden should represent both you and Taylor while maintaining its function. Choose a color palette that speaks to the theme you are going for. When it comes to garden decor, think of things that remind you of Taylor.
We chose a fox since she likes foxes, a bicycle for the Instagram “Easter Egg” she gave for this era, and a unicorn for the “Me!” video. The camper we decorated represents the “Taylor Park” from the “You Need To Calm Down” video.
We also chose various lyrics of hers that we painted on the plant stake signs.
Make sure your posts are free from any chemicals. Prepare your garden ornaments (painting your lyric signs, your pots, and anything you want to modify). For the signs, we recommend practicing on paper prior to writing on the signs.
You can use the resource for beginner hand lettering on our Resources page for extra practice. Be sure to clear coat anything that you have painted so it is ready for the elements.
Choose a space that will not be impacted by high winds and clear the area for your garden. It’s best to start your project before direct sunlight enters the space so that your plants are not dehydrated while your building your garden.
Butterfly Garden Instructions
- Fill the large and medium planters halfway with potting soil.
- On the back portion of your large pot, build it up with soil enough that you can place the pavers in it to make them level with the edge of the pot. Make sure the pavers are dusted off so their surface is level. This will support the next pot (test it to make sure that it will be stable).
- Place your sturdy stick behind your pavers to allow reinforcement of your medium and small pots.
- Plant the flowers in the large pot, leaving space for decorations: all on one side, or some on either side, you decide, it’s your creation.
- After the flowers are placed, fill the pot with soil and gently press it around the flowers.
- Place your ground cover around the flowers and pavers.
- Take the middle pot and fill the back (or the side) half to the top with soil, packed down to provide support for the top pot.
- Plant the sedum (or caterpillar food of your choice) in the other half of your medium pot. Set aside. You shouldn’t need any ground cover for this section.
- Fill the smallest post with the glass stones. Set aside. To fit the garden stone we purchased, we had to use a top pot that was larger than originally planned. In order to save money on the glass stones, we filled the bottom with small rocks from the yard.
TIP: We cheated by purchasing an already planted sedum, took half of it out of the pot it came in and filled that area up with soil to support the top pot.
- Place the medium planted pot on the stabilized surface you’ve created with the paving stones.
- Place the small pot on the stabilized surface you’ve created in the medium pot with the packed soil.
- Put your garden stone on top of the glass stones in the top pot, and fill it with water until it just barely covers the stone.
- Place your fairy lights, decorative signs, and garden ornaments. If you are using the fairy lights, be sure to tuck them into the flowers so that they illuminate softly.
TIP: Place the battery pack in a ziplock bag and set out of view.** The larger sign on the front was a garden sign. We attached it to the bottom pot with clothespins and used the stake that came with it to hang our lantern.
We love seeing your take on these projects so please share them on social media using #MyMood13 and tagging our account, @mood13magazine.