Here is a beautiful example of layering plants and decorative objects in garden design firm Living Green’s booth at Sunset Celebration Weekend. Styling an outdoor room the way you would style an indoor room creates an inviting and interesting space that you don’t want to leave.
- Group similar objects for more impact. In this case, Asian inspired statues, natural stones, and potted orchids on the table.
- Simplify your color scheme. Here, natural tones and textures with mix with tables, ceramic stool, glass rock, and textiles all in shades of blue-green.
- Play with scale. Huge containers and big objects on the ground, tables of varying heights, small potted plants and objects on the tables (and tucked in the big pots).
Succulent walls are a huge trend right now and so perfect for small spaces, low water environmentally friendly gardens, or just overall extreme coolness. This spectacular succulent wall was created by Succulent Gardens in Castroville.
You can have these installed and maintained, or do it yourself by with box frames, chicken wire, and sphagnum moss. The sphagnum moss is your planting medium here – you don’t want to use dirt with these. You’ll need to water and feed these more frequently than conventional containers.
Here are some good succulent frame DIYs:
You can buy succulent box frames at Succulent Gardens, Flora Grubb Gardens, and probably about a million other places. The frames come in all shapes and sizes.
I noticed several of these portable plant screens used at the Sunset Magazine gardens to screen or block off certain areas.
This could not be easier: an inexpensive trellis from the nursery or garden center, vine, container, and maybe even a plant stand with wheels. I don’t normally like plastic pots, but in this case I’d recommend a plastic pot that looks like terra cotta because it will be easier to move around and you won’t have to water it as often. Depending on which vine you choose, you might need to tie it to the trellis.
I’d probably do something fairly indestructible like a Jasmine, Bower Jasmine, or Ceanothus because I know I can grow those in a container without killing them. Clematis and Mandevilla are awfully tempting, but I’d probably forget to water them. I believe that’s an Akebia in the picture.
Sunset has a great list of fast growing vines like Thumbergia and Morning Glory that work well in containers.
Spotted at Sunset’s Celebration Weekend: succulents in a Hover Dish hanging planter. I’ve been wanting one of these for a while now. Anything would look great in a planter this cool, but it really is so perfect for succulents.
The frilly echeverias are clearly the stars here. Smaller echeveria are planted in alternating clusters of green and purple with spiky forms filling the spaces between the clusters. Sedums are planted at the edges – the ‘donkey tail’ varieties will grow to spill over the edges of the planter.
Even with all of the late season rain, we’re still in a drought. So here is inspiration to get rid of your lawn: the courtyard garden at Cava in Montecito. Terra cotta pots hold citrus, pittosporum, and boxwood. The garden beds contain more citrus, rosemary, lavender, lambs ears, bougainvillea, roses, agave attenuata, and succulents. This is an easy, happy little garden that will smell amazing on a warm, sunny day.
This beautiful, lush garden fills an awkward spot between a fence and the street. Mediterranean Fan Palms (Chamaerops humilis) are underplanted with Agave attenuata and a swath of silver-blue Senecio mandraliscae. Once the plants are established, this needs virtually no maintenance, just infrequent cleanups and very occasional watering.
It was so cool to see this front yard garden in Montecito among the water-hogging tropical-esque gardens and the hidden, but no doubt spectacular, gardens behind walls and hedges. Simple, stunning perfection.
Sago palms, ponytail palms and agave all grow quite happily here in the bay area as do any number of drought tolerant evergreen shrubs. I’d need to substitute the cacti for varieties that can tolerate our cooler climate and wet winters. Prickly pear grows very well around here and can reach 6 feet tall. I’d also use an upright grower like crassula tetragona which can reach 3 feet tall.
In the best stroke of luck ever, I found these polished clay pots secondhand (buying used is one of my new year’s gardening resolutions). They don’t quite match but they’re beautiful, heavy, good quality pots. I planted them with baby pine trees that I ‘recycled’ from Christmas decorations, added tumbled stones to keep water in and raccoons out, and put them out front on either side of the garage door. I plan to prune the trees into tall, narrow forms as they grow. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll replace them with podocarpus.
I managed to pop them in and snap some pictures before it started pouring again. We desperately need this rain, but I do think the succulents have had enough.
Hayrack window boxes are an English country staple. The addition of succulents here gives a modern rustic look and makes the whole business even more low maintenance. The coir liner holds water pretty well and can be easily replaced. Best of all, they won’t go out of style and they’re not hideously expensive. You can find some nice ones along with replacement liners here.
In this mix are Aloes for spiky forms, multiple echeveria varieties for fullness, aeoniums for height and some dwarf jade (also called elephant food or Portulacaria afra) spilling over the sides. Aeoniums are so versatile in size, color and form: some will grow long curving stems and branch, some will grow tall and lush, or you can break them off and replant them if you want to keep them short.
Here is the inspiration for the project: the entry garden of our a house our friends rented in Sri Lanka during their trip around the world. The bowl of flowers in water near the front entry attracts positive energy and luck.
A bowl of flowers in water near my front entry will only attract raccoons and my thirsty labrador retriever, so I tried for a similar effect with succulents. I selected a couple of varieties of Dudleya with rosettes similar to the white flowers with their pointed petals and planted them in concrete bowls from Vietnam which I bought at Filoli’s annual plant sale. Here are similar planters at Terrain.
Dudleyas are the easiest succulents, you just plant them. To start a new plant, just snap a rosette off at the stem and stick it in the dirt. They’ll even root and form a new rosette from a single leaf. They are much more fragile than Echevaria so handle them carefully.
Here is the finished result on my porch.