Even if you live nowhere near the beach, you can still plant your own little paradise. This garden is a vacation in a pot. You can’t help but relax when you look at it. Small succulents stand in for their larger counterparts that natively grow along beaches. Tumbled glass mulch forms the water, while aquarium sand covers the beach. The featured plant in this garden is a screw pine seedling (they grow to be 15-foot-tall trees along the beaches in Florida), but you could also use a jade plant, aloe, or other large treelike succulent as a focal point.


The weathered wooden “fence” container provides a finished look for this beach-themed garden.



Notice that the bucket of shells is perfectly sized to sit on the beach chair.


  • Driftwood
  • Tumbled glass mulch
  • Seashells from the beach
  • Beach chair
  • Beach bucket filled with shells
  • Optional-beach umbrella (not pictured)

If you’ve gone on a beach vacation and brought back shells or sea glass that you didn’t know where to put, your problem is solved. Now you can create a garden to showcase your beachcombing treasures.
In a miniature garden larger shells look more like creatures from the deep than diminutive mollusks. To fill a beach bucket in scale with other beach furniture you need to look for teeny tiny shells no longer than your pinky fingernail.


All of the plants used in this garden, with the exception of the screw pine (Pandanus spp.) are succulents. The finished garden was planted with hens and chickens (Sempervivum spp.) next to the beach chair. Haworthia spp. plants on the right side of the screw pine look like the big agaves you often see growing along beaches and dunes. Assorted 1-inch succulents with blue-toned leaves are planted in the “water” section of the garden.
When selecting a “specimen” tree, look for plants that can tolerate the same dry conditions as the succulents.


Place a liner inside the container.


The metal container did not have drainage holes, so I poked holes in a clear liner and used it inside the metal pan. This container is 12 inches in diameter, but the same style is available in larger and smaller sizes.

Potting Soil

Add perlite to potting soil to create a lightweight mix suitable for succulents.


A tall and grasslike screw pine is the star plant of this grouping.

Garden at the Beach Step by Step

First Step

Start by poking holes in the liner container. This will allow some drainage in this indoor garden without water dripping through onto your dining room table.


Second step

Mix the soil by adding one part perlite to two parts potting soil.


Third step

Place the liner in the container and fill the container with the perlite-amended potting mix.


Fourth step

Place the largest plant, the screw pine, in the pot.


Fifth step

Arrange the other plants around the screw pine (or other specimen plant) to check spacing before removing them from their pots. Once you’re satisfied with spacing, go ahead and plant them.


Sixth step

Add the tumbled glass “mulch” for the water. I used larger pieces to outline and smaller pieces between the plants.


Seventh step

Use a soup spoon to fill in the “beach” with aquarium sand from the pet store. Aquarium sand is coarser in texture than playground sand and is intended to be around plants and water.


Eight step

Place the furniture and accessories.


Care and Maintenance

As with the other succulent gardens in this book, watering is the chief concern. You don’t want to overwater the plants. Use a turkey baster for watering so that you don’t scatter sand all over the place. You can set this garden outside during the summer, but bring it in if a heavy rain is forecast. Because there aren’t large drainage holes, the garden can get swamped with just 1 inch of rain.

Keep an Eye on the Details

Even within a relatively small garden, there is still room for little vignettes. On one side of the screw pine there’s a beach chair and shell bucket. Little sand toys would be cute additions to this area.
I looked all over for a small umbrella that wasn’t a paper cocktail umbrella, but couldn’t find one. Are you crafty? You might enjoy making your own.

Don’t you just want to spend a relaxing afternoon in this little beach chair?


Different haworthia plants represent the large century plants (Agave spp.) seen growing along the dunes in coastal areas.