How to Create a Succulent Garden in Your Yard
By Sarah Finazzo • May 1, 2023
Succulents are nature's clever solution to surviving in arid environments. These incredible plants store water in their leaves and stems, allowing them to withstand long periods of drought. But succulents aren't just practical - they're also incredibly beautiful and add a dynamic and eye-catching element to any garden design.
In this blog post, we'll explore more about this type of garden, as well as some tips for creating your own.
What is a succulent garden?
A succulent garden is a type of garden composed primarily succulents, plants that store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. This allows them to survive in arid or semi-arid conditions.
Succulent gardens are popular, especially in the Southwest, because they thrive in the given conditions. People often think of cacti, but cacti are a specific group of succulents that are characterized by their unique areoles, which are small bumps on the stem from which spines, flowers, and new branches grow.
What hardiness zones can you plant succulent gardens in?
Succulents are generally native to warm, arid or semi-arid regions, and some species are more cold-tolerant than others.
In general, succulent gardens are best suited for hardiness zones 9-11 (you can check your zone here), which include areas with warm temperatures and mild winters, such as parts of California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. However, many succulent species can also thrive in cooler climates with proper care and protection.
For example, some cold-tolerant succulents, such as hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.) and ice plants (Delosperma spp.), can survive in hardiness zones 3-4, which include areas with cold winter temperatures and short growing seasons. These succulents are adapted to survive freezing temperatures and can be grown in rock gardens, container gardens, or as groundcover.
In cooler landscapes you can also create gardens in pots and planters, which can then be brought inside if it gets too cold.
Front Yard succulent garden ideas
If you're considering adding succulents to your front yard, here are some popular ideas:
Create a rock garden design with a variety of succulent species, such as sedums, echeverias, and agaves. The rocks will help with drainage and provide a natural and attractive backdrop for the plants.
Create a "succulent tapestry" by planting a variety of succulent species close together in a large area. This can create a beautiful and textured display that is sure to catch the eye of anyone passing by.
Plant a variety of succulents in containers of different sizes and shapes, and arrange them around your front yard. This can be a great way to add height, texture and depth to your landscaping while still maintaining a low-maintenance garden.
Use a large, striking succulent, such as an agave or a yucca, as a focal point in your front yard. We also love the minimal look where you place a few statement succulent plants throughout your front, creating a modern and thoughtful garden design.
If you aren't in a position to create a full garden in your yard, there are other options to start smaller.
Many succulents can be grown indoors in pots. They prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. You can use a variety of containers, such as terrariums, hanging baskets, or small pots, to create a miniature indoor succulent garden.
Succulents can be planted in vertical gardens to create a living wall. This is a great option for small spaces or areas with limited ground space.
What types of plants are popular in succulent gardens?
There are many plants that work well, here are a few popular examples:
- Aloe vera (Aloe vera): Aloe vera is a well-known succulent that is known for its medicinal properties. It has thick, fleshy leaves that store water, and it produces tall spikes of orange or yellow flowers. Aloe vera prefers bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.
- Echeveria (Echeveria spp.): Echeverias are a group of succulent plants that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves that come in a range of colors, from pale green to pink to blue. Echeverias prefer full sun to partial shade and a space with well-draining soil.
- Sedum (Sedum spp.): Sedums are a large group of succulent plants that are known for their low-maintenance and drought-tolerant properties. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from creeping groundcovers to tall, upright plants. Sedums prefer full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
- Crassula (Crassula spp.): Crassulas are a group of succulent plants that are known for their diverse shapes and sizes. They have thick, fleshy leaves and produce clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. Crassulas prefer full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
- Sempervivum (Sempervivum spp.): Sempervivums are a group of cold-hardy succulent plants that are often grown in rock gardens. They have rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves that come in a range of colors, from green to purple to red. Sempervivums prefer full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
- Dichondra: This is a low-growing perennial plant with round, kidney-shaped leaves that are about 1-2 cm in diameter. It produces small, inconspicuous white or yellowish flowers that are about 2-3 mm in diameter. It is also used in hanging baskets, as a ground cover, and as a filler plant in mixed container gardens - where it looks beautiful hanging over the side of a pot.
What are some benefits to succulent gardens?
Succulent gardens have several benefits, including:
Succulent gardens are ideal for water conservation. They store water in their leaves, stems, and roots, which means they can survive in dry conditions without the need for frequent watering.
Indoor and outdoor use
Succulent gardens can be grown both indoors and outdoors, making them a versatile option for a large or small area. They are often used to decorate patios, balconies, and indoor living spaces.
Like many other plants, succulents can help purify the air by removing toxins and pollutants. This can help improve the air quality in your house or office.
Things to think about when starting a succulent garden outdoors?
If you want to plant a succulent garden in the ground outdoors, there are a few things to consider:
- Soil: Succulents require well-draining soil to prevent root rot. If your soil is heavy and clay-like, you may need to amend it with sand, gravel, or other materials to improve drainage. Alternatively, you can plant your succulents in raised beds or mounds to improve drainage.
- Sun exposure: Sun exposure depends on the species of succulent. There are many that prefer full sun, but you can also find varieties that love a shady corner. Make sure you choose a location that receives the appropriate amount of sunlight for the specific species you want to grow.
- Watering: Succulents are drought-tolerant, but they still need some water to thrive. In general, it's best to water your succulents deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. Overwatering can cause root rot and other problems, which is why we stress that your soil must have good drainage.
- Climate: Succulent gardens are best suited for areas with warm temperatures and mild winters, such as hardiness zones 9-11. However, many succulent species can also survive in cooler climates with proper care and protection. Make sure to research the specific temperature tolerances of the succulent species you want to grow before planting them in your garden. And if you are in a cooler climate, try a succulent in a pot indoors!
- Maintenance: Succulent gardens require relatively little maintenance compared to other types of gardens, but they still need occasional care. Some succulent species also need to be divided or propagated periodically to prevent overcrowding.
Here's some fun Tilly inspiration from plans our designers have done!
Ready to start a succulent garden in your yard?