Make a Mini Succulent Scene

– Posted in: Succulents

Recently a friend came by with a fire pit she’d picked up on a community website for free. Before bringing it over, she drilled holes in it for drainage. Naturally we both thought it would be perfect for succulents, but deciding to make a little scene took a lot of brainstorming and hunting around my basement and garden for rocks and miniature buildings—which I just happened to have from a thrift store. Originally they were sold by a department store back in the ’90s as a collectible set of the CA missions. Doubtless they’re available on Ebay from time to time. Anyway, I paid $1.99 apiece. The only components that didn’t come from my garden are the diminutive succulents.

In my latest video, you’ll see step-by-step how we created a mini mountain scene in a repurposed fire pit, with upright flagstone pieces and succulents that look like much larger plants—haworthias, tiny treelike crassulas, diminutive cacti and more.

Debra’s Ten Must-Do’s for Miniature Gardens (from the newly released second edition of Designing with Succulents):
— Elevate the scene for better viewing.
— Sculpt the terrain to create hills and valleys.
— Choose a main viewing angle without a distracting background.
— Partially conceal a few areas to lend a sense of mystery.
— Create pathways that invite exploration.
— Select small succulents that suggest much larger plants.
— Add a pebbled stream bed dug below grade.
— Use crushed, tumbled glass to suggest sunlight sparkling on water.
— Keep the area free of fallen leaves that compromise the illusion.
— Groom plants with long, slender tweezers, scissors or forceps.

Learn more:
Designing with Succulents, second edition, pp 120-123
Succulent Container Gardens, pp 194-201
YouTube: Mini Succulent Landscape in a Fire Pit (7:40), Make a Mini High Desert Succulent Garden (3:51)

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Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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