This lighted indoor herb garden is already a favorite with the boys. The mini LED lights I strung around the garden tray and colorful birdhouses prove too irresistible. Luckily, this little tray garden is just out of reach. So, safe until the next growth spurt. The herbs fascinate the oldest too. He keeps asking to sample them. Especially, the mint. This lighted indoor herb garden was so simple to make. You can easily have it done in a couple of hours.
What you’ll need:
- 1 tray large enough for your plants and decorative items
- 2 or 3 birdhouses (this vintage camper bird house would be adorable)
- 1 set of wire LED mini lights (between 7 and 12 feet is best for this project)
- Herbs or other small indoor plants
- Heavy Duty garbage bag or other thick plastic sheet
- 1 dowel cut into 4 – 8″ sections
- 4 eye hooks
- rocks to line bottom of tray
- potting soil
- decorative items (rocks, wood discs, etc.)
Start with an empty tray with a rim high enough to hold the herbs, about 4 inches high works. I found this tray at At Home a couple of months ago. If you can’t find one at a local store, Amazon has a few options that would look cute.
Cut your heavy-duty garbage bag so that 6 inches or so hangs over all 4 sides. Leaving extra long sides now makes it easier to fill the tray without worrying about the plastic shifting. Lay the plastic on top of the tray and push it flat along the bottom and into each corner. You will have extra material sticking up on the edges for now.
Put a light layer of gravel along the bottom of the tray. Then place the herbs where you’d like them. Pour the soil around the plants or scoop the soil out to place around each plant. Make sure the tray has enough soil to be firm all across the tray and around the plants. Cover the soil in a light layer of mulch. This protects the birdhouses and other decor from the soil and, in my case, keeps little fingers out of the soil.
Trim away the extra plastic along the edges of the tray. Screw an eye hook in one end of each of the 4 dowel sections.Stick a dowel in each corner of the tray, eye hook end up. I also glued my dowels into the corners, using regular Elmer’s glue. Start the lighting by hiding the battery pack for the lights behind the tray or between the liner and tray. Make sure to never let the battery pack get wet, it is not waterproof. The wire and the lights on most of these mini LED lights are waterproof though, be sure to double-check the instructions included with yours. Wind the wire LED mini light around each dowel and through the eye hook to secure the wire in place. Depending on the length of your wire, you may need to do 1 or more dowels twice. Just be sure to always start and end each dowel with the eye hook to make it look more like the lights of a little bird village. 🙂 I left the front of my tray free of lights. I didn’t want to obstruct the view of the birdhouses and herbs. If you are designing this as a centerpiece, you can always change the layout of the lights so that they are across the center of the tray or even shorten the dowels to keep the lighting along the edge of the tray.
Once the lighting is done, place your birdhouses, little log steps, and other decor to suit your taste. You could really have fun with this idea and make it into anything you can imagine. If your family is into fairies, mice, butterflies, horses, etc. Go with that as a theme. You could use gravel to make a dry creek bed. Create little mailboxes from craft wood. Or even use fairy garden decor for your little garden. Herbs need a lot of sunlight to thrive, but this tray could be made with medium or low light plants to suit your area. Have fun with it.
Side note: I made my wood discs from a branch I found in our yard. I used my miter saw to quickly cut it into slices.
Feeling inspired? Want to build your own little lighted indoor herb garden? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!