Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Cacti and succulents can be used for many purposes through the landscape. Here are some ideas.
Instead of concrete walkways, use stepping stones instead. Plant low growing, creeping types of succulents in between the stepping stones. For this project, select species that are hardy to your region. The goldmoss stonecrop would be a good choice for colder climates. This is hardy to about zone three. The tiny leaves are evergreen.
For those really dry sunny areas of the landscape, consider a gravel garden. A gravel garden resembles those Japanese gardens where the gravel is artfully raked.
Gravel gardens are designed to showcase special drought tolerant plantings. To build a gravel bed, youíll need to first remove all of the vegetation from the area. Excavate several inches of the soil. Next, spread a two inch layer of gravel on the new bed. There are many attractive kinds of gravel available. These can be different colors and sizes. Once the gravel is spread, itís planting time. Suitable plants for gravel gardens include hen-and-chick, agaves, yuccas, low growing stonecrops, and wood spurge.
A dry creek bed garden is a special kind of rock garden. These would be ideal for cacti and succulents. A dry creek bed gives the impression of a water garden without all the fuss. A properly constructed dry creek bed gives the impressive that rushing water has deposited small stones and rocks of different sizes along the sides of the stream.
Creating such a garden will take time. Youíll need to buy stone and rocks. But, the results are well worth the effort and expense. The goal is to have a slight depression in the center just like you would see in a real stream bed. Once the dry stream bed is completed, plant low growing cacti and succulents along the sides.
Many cacti and succulents are beautiful enough to use as focal points in the garden. Focal points are very important landscape features. They highlight a particular spot, and help to move the eye to the different parts of the garden.
Plants with architectural interest are the best choices for focal points. It can be a statuesque columnar cacti or architectural agave. Collections of cacti and succulents planted in pots can also serve as a focal point. Rather than scattering the containers about, group some of them together to create a pleasing vignette.