Miniature Garden and Houseboat
We made this for the Seattle Miniature Show in 2006 and it won Best of Show. The box we made for it is 3′ by 2′ by 1′ deep.

Photo Essay: Miniature Garden Houseboat

From the archives, this miniature garden with a houseboat won Best of Show at the Seattle Miniature Show in 2006. First blogged about in 2012, updated June, 2018.


If you’ve been following my blog, this series is part of the photo archives that got crunched in my old computer. The picture files are too small to be included in my upcoming book from Timber Press, but I can share them with you now!

Miniature Garden with Houseboat
That row of miniature spruces in the very-back were staged for the photo – they were not part of the miniature garden.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Medium size or half-inch scale. It would be too big to move if we did it in one-inch scale. The house is 10 inches wide.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
It was my very first handmade miniature house. There were several “flaws” throughout the house and furniture – and a lot of more-experienced miniaturists at the show thought we didn’t deserve the Best of Show ribbon. It wasn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling for us newbies! But it’s the customers that come to the show that decide who wins – not them.
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Miniature Garden With Houseboat
It was fun to create ‘in the round’ – meaning it didn’t really have a back nor a front to the display. It gave us lots of nooks and crannies to work with.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Blending the two hobbies, gardening and miniatures, add a completely fun level to playing. It’s all small, nothing takes very long to make, so it’s really satisfying and rewarding.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
We wanted to do something quintessentially Seattle. Steve, being the native Seattle-ite came up with the idea. He worked on the pontoon-logs and the deck, while I worked on the house and garden.
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Miniature Garden With Houseboat
We made the docks and the ramps. We found the canoe and a lot of the props at our local dollhouse miniature store, Dolly’s Dollhouse, which is now closed.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
The patio was “installed” using our Mini Patio Mix Kit with broken pieces of marble tile found at Bedrock Industries, downtown Seattle.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
The trees and plants were from our Miniature Garden Center store,
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Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Miniaturists always use resin-water in their dollhouse scenes. We used real water – never thought to do it any other way. I had several people come up to me and ask me how I poured the resin-water so deep and so clear. Others would quickly dip their finger in the water to see if it was real. They weren’t supposed to touch it. Lol!
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Adding the little details is just putting icing on the cake – in a very fun way, I might add… :o)
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Cute huh? But can you figure out what is wrong with this? It’s a birdhouse, a bird feeder and a wind chime all in one. It is very sweet but, if you think about it, it’s just not realistic. The birds wouldn’t know what to do with it – if they ever get past the chimes they would probably feed, but I’m sure they wouldn’t nest in front of food. ;o)
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Miniature Garden With Houseboat
We didn’t keep the houseboat outside, it wasn’t built to be weatherproof.
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
My very first miniature house! I’ll have to make another one day now that I have more experience. A very kind miniaturist was gracious enough to sit down with me after the show to go over why we got so much flak that we did from the “established” miniaturists. (!) She gave me some terrific insight into “seeing” in miniature. Thanks again Mary Beth!
Miniature Garden With Houseboat
Bird’s eye view. We still have the container growing, 12 years later!

About two weeks after the show, the raccoons sniffed out the water and played Godzilla one night. The water flooded into the bank and soaked the plants, I had to begrudgingly take it apart to save everything. I’m glad I took a bunch of pictures though. Remember to document your miniature gardens!

Like this? Then you’ll love my Gardening in Miniature book from Timber Press, due out in spring of 2013. Oh, and my second one, FULL of projects, Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop is now out too. They are here!

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