Landscaping With Succulents: Good Bedfellows

Succulents make good bedfellows with other waterwise plants. There are endless creations you can design, pairing succulents with drought-tolerant perennials, herbs, and woody plants. Here's one example to get your juices flowing!

I created this landscape in collaboration with an artistic client who wanted a distinctive, drought-tolerant, low-maintenance alternative to the front lawn. I was given free reign to select and combine some of my favorite xeriscape selections from arid climates around the world. The salvias and ceanothus are hybrid varieties of California native plants, while the rest of the species are from arid environments of the Mediterranean, Australia, and South Africa. 

Aside from their low water requirements, I have found these varieties to be relatively free of disease and pest problems when given the correct conditions in which to grow.

Many of these plants actually suffer with the addition of fertilizer and summer water, so unfussy succulents fit into the mix nicely. 

Design/Build Notes

To create better drainage on the flat lot with solid clay layers, we mixed in plenty of aged compost and mounded up the soil. This insures the base of the plants will not be sitting soggy, and adds interest to the composition.

Well-placed boulders provide solid counterpoints to the colorful, dynamic mix. 

Plant List
  • Thymus praecox 'Elfin'
  • Thymus serpyllum
  • Thymus 'Pink Chintz'
  • Erigeron karvinskianus (Santa Barbara Daisy)
  • Salvia x jamensis 'Sierra de San Antonio' (Sage)
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Elkhorn'
  • Anigozanthos (kangaroo Paw orange, red)
  • Agonis flexuosa 'After Dark' (Burgundy peppermint tree)
  • Ceanothus 'Diamond Heights'
  • Chondropetalum tectorum 'Cape Rush'
  • Cordyline 'Burgundy'
  • Aeonium canariense 
  • Salvia 'Bee's Bliss'
  • Golden oregano
  • Lime thyme
  • Teucrium
  • Lime teucrium

Julia Bell
Julia Bell