Check this succulent garden design. Todd Holloway drilled four large drainage holes in a client’s cast-concrete birdbath, and then transformed it into a garden focal point with white-webbed Sempervivum arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek), several Sempervivum cultivars, and feathery Sedum ‘Angelina’. Holloway’s streamlined, contemporary aesthetic is consistent with the sleek metal pots his company, Pot Incorporated, designs and fabricates. Loyola, who favors a more rustic look, uses repurposed objects at the Succulent Café—a quaint coffee shop where you can purchase succulent arrangements. In Oceanside, near San Diego, the sun is bright but not searing and temperatures are mild year-round.
Vancouver is colder and wetter, but Holloway’s enthusiasm for dry-climate, frost-tender plants has yet to be dampened. He praises succulents as “modern and architectural, with bold leaves that offer sharp contrasts and brazen textures.”Both say succulents are easy to care for, low-water using, tough, diverse, and intriguing. But what is it about the plants that they like best? It seems succulents are a designer’s dream; like fashion models, they tend to “look good in anything.”
It’s an investment to obtain several of the same or similar containers, but echoing shapes and colors invariably enhances outdoor living areas. And when grouped, such pots create a focal point. The simple lines and neutral, gunmetal-gray color of this trio by Holloway display the succulents they contain without upstaging them. In two are hens and chicks, which will overwinter outdoors in Vancouver. The middle pot is replanted annually; it showcases green and variegated Aeonium cultivars, blue Senecio mandraliscae, Crassula, and Sedum. Succulents benefit from warmth radiated from the hardscape, and don’t drop much leaf litter—a good thing, because these are poolside pots. Although another designer might have snapped off the heads of this leggy Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ (syn. Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’) and replanted them as cuttings, Holloway used it to lend height to a composition in a client’s matte black, concrete, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed urn.
Filler plants include: strappy-leaved Yucca aloifolia ‘Purpurea’, Sedum morganianum, purple-variegated Echeveria nodulosa, blue Senecio serpens, bright-yellow Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’, Echeveria ‘Powder Blue’, and Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’. When designing with black Aeonium, think of them as silhouettes and position them against a blank wall. If the background is too busy, their dark color makes them disappear. Are you interested in making succulent garden design? None found.