Succulents are wonderfully popular right now. I’ve always have a special fondness for succulents after my grandmother and I put together a succulent potted garden together when I was about ten. I can’t remember everything it included, but I know it had an Aloe and a Jade plant, both of which grew to an enormous size. That potted garden lasted for more than a decade until an unexpected cold snap, and my negligence killed them. When was visiting my local Home Depot, I found that there were dozens of varieties of succulents and lots of different types of containers currently available, so I decided to make a succulent garden. I knew that I wanted a rustic wooden garden box, but the ones that were for sale were a little pricey. Mellow Man is good at building things, so I showed him what I wanted, and asked if he could make one for me. Here’s how we made our very own wooden succulent garden box with scrap lumber that we already had.
The other advantage of making my own, was my ability to choose from the dozen of varieties of succulents currently available. I ultimately found seven different succulents that had different textures, colors and heights. I’ve learned that mixing plants in this way creates a more visually appealing design.
I played with them for a while until I got them settled in an arrangement and pattern that I liked. Mellow Man was going to build a wooden box around the number of succulents that I had, so I arranged them on the length of the wood that was going to be the base. Mellow Man then drew a line across the wooden plank to indicate where he would cut the wood with the miter saw. We played with them a bit more to make sure– remember Measure Twice, Cut Once! We also measured how high we wanted the box to be. This again was done using pieces of wood and the actual plants. We actually had spare wood from shelves that my grandfather built that we took apart. I liked the idea of using a piece of lumber that he used to build a little garden.
Mellow Man built the box with 2 end pieces, two thin side pieces, and a base. The end pieces and base were a red stained wood, so he also cut a thin “veneer” to top each of the ends to make the color continue to the top part of the ends. I asked him to make the end pieces higher than the sides to make the garden box look more like a crate or rustic container.
After the box was completed, Mellow Man drilled 5 holes into the base piece for drainage. Remember that succulents don’t need a lot of water, but it’s good to have ways for the water to leave the container to reduce the expansion of the wood.
In addition to the holes in the base, I added gravel before I put the soil in the container. This helps with drainage, as I’ve read that it’s better not to have succulents get too wet. I then added the plants and “Cactus” soil. Hardware and gardening stores sell specialty soil for cacti and succulents, and apparently the composition of the soil is better than traditional potting soil.Once the plants were all securely placed in the container, I watered and fertilized the plants– again, I have a small bottle of succulent/cactus food.
The last step in building the garden was the addition of pebbles and the tiny mushrooms. I found both at Michaels. There are many different sizes and colors of stones at the store, but I used the two smallest sizes. We’ve had our happy little succulent garden now for about ten days, and I can already see some growth! Hopefully, I will get to enjoy this special garden box for many years to come!