Small Succulent Garden for the Birds and Butterflies

This small space succulent garden from Cindy Davison of The Succulent Perch is incredible! You don’t have to have a lot of space to have an amazing succulent garden. 

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On a trip to San Diego I had the pleasure of being invited to visit Cindy Davison’s (of The Succulent Perch) garden.

I’ve always admired Cindy’s succulent creations and was fortunate enough to have her create some for my book, Idiot’s Guide: Succulents. When I heard about her garden redesign and saw her pictures of it, I knew I wanted to see it in person.

I am in love with this small succulent garden! So many good ideas!

So often the much admired succulent gardens are massive and require a dedicated gardener (or two, or three…) to maintain.

However, Cindy’s garden is so practical and well designed, and completely awe inspiring. It’s not huge but it’s so beautiful!

So, enough of my rambling, you’re ready to see it for yourself, right?

The front of her house has beautiful beds overflowing with succulents. It’s very inviting. Plus, right off the bat you start to see signs of Cindy’s fascination with birds. Notice the birdbath full of succulents to add more height to the succulent display.

Make the most of your small garden with birdbaths and succulents

She also created a beautiful hanging planter using cork board and greening pins to attach the succulents and then filled in the rest of the space with sphagnum moss. The driftwood and large Echeveria ‘Sahara’s make for a stunning focal point.

This vertical succulent planter is amazing! I love the driftwood as the focal point

When you first enter the side yard you’re greeted by this trickling fountain and terra cotta pot of succulents. You’ll notice that contrasting colors are used throughout the garden. Here, reds and oranges are complimented with blues and greens.

Plant blues and greens in terra cotta pots to add contras and interest to your succulent arrangements

I love how much thought goes in to every part of Cindy’s designs.

She is very aware of how colors work together, how to make the size of everything feel balanced and proprotioned, and finishes off with perfect accents.

Use complementary colors to add striking contrast in your succulent garden

These cacti are planted in pots and then placed in the ground to keep them small and contained. It’s like having a small arrangement but with the pot hidden it blends in nicely with the surrounding landscape.

Keep cactus small by planting them in plastic pots and burrying them in soil

The wood planter boxes are all surrounded with succulents, especially by the corners so you don’t get too close and bump into them.

Plant succulents around your grow boxes to add visual interest

Plant succulents near the corners of grow boxes to prevent bumping into them

Cindy is also great at keeping things natural and organic and has included a grow box full of greens that can easily be picked and eaten. The “trellis” here is actually a table with the legs removed and turned on it’s side. Genius!

This trellis is actually a table without legs turned on its side

Really, everything about this garden is adorable.

She has included little hints of birds and butterflies every where, some large and obvious but some more subtle, like a treasure hunt.

Nestle small garden trinkets in between plants for a fun visual surprise

Miniature birdhouses can be added to any garden

Add small birdhouses throughout your garden to add unity

Creating a theme within your succulent garden is a great way to add unity

And if all the birdhouses, bird baths and miniatures aren’t enough, she even has a cute “trash can” that doubles as decor. I’ve been on a lookout for something as fun as this wood pail, but haven’t found anything yet.

Use a painted wood pail as a trash can and decor in your succulent garden

It’s hard to really show you the scale of this garden, but it’s not big. Two people can walk down the path at the same time, but there’s not a lot of extra space.

An arbor adds visual interest to a succulent garden

Use an arbor to create a window into your succulent garden

I think that’s one (of many) things that makes her garden resonate so well with me.

It’s very simple and doable for anyone!

Those of us window sill and porch gardeners wouldn’t need much more space to create something like this.

I love the addition of the chimenea so you can enjoy a fresh cooked meal while sitting among your plants.

Enjoy outdoor cooking in your succulent garden with a chimenea

The plant choice for the garden definitely features succulents, but Cindy has also included plants that will attract birds, bees and butterflies, like this milkweed. Though we didn’t see any at the time, there were some Monarch cocoons hanging on nearby succulents.

Add milkweed to your succulent garden to attract butterflies

While the plants are stunning, and definitely the most exciting feature of the garden, I am also a bit obsessed with the way Cindy used gravel to add more visual interest within the garden.

Stunning Echeveria Sahara with Crassula lycopoides

She used three different sizes of gravel in the same color family. Larger right around the succulents, medium sized just out from that, and then the majority was the size of coarse sand. It’s like having a matted picture, but in your garden.

Speaking of pictures… Cindy has a large photo hanging on the side of her house, just above the air conditioning unit. Rather than try to hide the unit she embraced it and decorated around it.

Rather than hide your AC unit just hang a photo above it to add a different focal point and surround it with succulents

The large picture is so fun and make the garden feel like an extension of the house.

She has also decorated the air conditioner with a succulent arrangement, just like you would a table inside!

Decorate your AC unit by adding a succulent arrangement instead of hiding it

One of my consistently favorite succulents (I have a lot and it really depends on the day) is Sedum clavatum. As I was photographing this beauty, Cindy told me this was her very first succulent! It’s amazing how one plant can completely change your life…

Sedum clavatum hanging out of a terra cotta pot

I left Cindy’s garden feeling so uplifted and inspired! I can’t wait to do something like this in my future home. It gave me some ideas for how to spruce up any apartment or home we rent, so I’ll be sure to show you those one I do them.

A stunning Mangave Bloodspoot succulent

If you want to see more of Cindy’s beautiful work, check out my book, Idiot’s Guides: Succulents or head over to her Facebook page where she shares photos of her arrangements and design tips for creating your own.

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Wondering who I am?

Let me introduce myself... My name is Cassidy Tuttle and I’m a professional photographer turned succulent addict. These are my two sweet children and wonderful husband in the photo with me!

My adventure with succulents started with three small plants on the window sill of my basement apartment. Within a year I had propagated them and purchased more, totaling over 100 plants!

It’s been a fun adventure since then as I’ve drowned, burned, frozen, and starved my collection of succulents. This site is where I teach you how to avoid all those mistakes I made or help you recover from them.

While I’ve killed plenty of succulents in the last few years, I’ve also kept hundreds alive and thriving, and I know you can do the same!

Did I mention I wrote the book on succulents?

It’s true! I’m the author of Idiot’s Guides: Succulents which is designed to help those of us who love succulents (but are limited to growing on our window sills and porches) keep our succulents looking great.

You can purchase my book through my Amazon affiliate link here or pick it up at your local Barnes and Noble.

If printed books aren’t your thing, I’ve also written several ebooks about succulents on various topics including indoor growing, watering and propagating. You can check those out on this page.

My goal is to help you not just keep your succulents alive, but help them thrive no matter where you live.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

I’m impressed you’ve made it this far down. You should probably be rewarded for that…

How about some bite sized succulent tips delivered daily to your inbox?

I’m sure you’ll love my 30 Days of Quick Succulent Tips email series. Each day I’ll send you a 2-3 sentence tip about growing succulents along with a photo and link to learn more.

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