Do you have an small unused area of your property that could use a little something extra? You can easily make a Hobbit house for the kids or just for yourself. Last summer my neighbor and I did this in about 2 hours. We started with an empty 55 gallon plastic drum. Next, we heaped good soil on the sides and top. The location is in a shady area, so we added shade-loving native plants: lady ferns, Celandine poppies, foam flowers (they spread beautifully), Virginia bluebells, and wild violets.
We tied brightly colored strips of tulle fabric to the tree branches nearby, hung several acorn-shaped bird houses, added a DIY stepping stone, and put in a small fairy garden later on. In the fall, we used only a deep layer of shredded leaves as a mulch. Come springtime, we especially enjoyed watching the bumblebees foraging in the foam flowers.
This year the kids haven't used it since the novelty wore off. The new homemade rope swings on the black walnut tree are the "in" thing now.
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