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 Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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