Far Out Flora

Succulent Circle


Succulent Circle (after)

Succulent Circle (after)

We’ve been eyeballing this project all last summer.  Just down the road from us along the Great Highway, there are some old garden plots marked by narrow one-foot concrete borders.  Most of them are abandoned and overgrow, but I remember that this garden circle was re-established about 2 years ago mostly with succulents.  You can see above what a 30 minute cleanup can accomplish…below is what this succulent circle was looking like before we popped in.

Before...end of summer.

Before...end of summer.

These garden circles have a lot of challenges to overcome.  First, it doesn’t rain here in San Francisco during the summer.  The only irrigation they see is the fog drip that rolls in around May and lingers until Fogust (August is the foggiest month).  Second, salty winds can be fierce here.  This garden is only a stones throw to the ocean and lots of salt spray can be found in the air.  Lastly, it all sandy soil in these parts.  Sometime so much sand blows in, that they close down the Great Highway until the sand plows can get it removed.

Car full of succulents.

Car full of succulents.

We loaded up the car with some of our succulent cuttings and that giant agave baby from out backyard (mostly crassula, sedum, aloe and aeoniums).  They all should do pretty well in the well draining sandy soil and summer drought.  I’m not certain about the salt in the air, but we see these types of plants growing nearby. I’d say these new succulents have high odds of surviving.

Almost done.

Almost done.

In about 30 minutes, we weeded out the crap, shifted some of the existing plants around, and planted most of our cuttings and that big fatty Agave americana.  There was so much sand piled up on this dune, that we really couldn’t get the concrete circle to expose…but that could be another project day.

Two months later.

Two months later.

After a slow start, it finally started raining this winter and this succulent circle should start looking lusher.  We can’t wait to check in over the next couple of months to see how it’s coming along.

– Far Out Flora


  1. Are you guerilla gardening this spot? Big improvement!

  2. What a great idea! This is so creative. I would love to see a pic in a couple of months when the plants have had a chance to spread.

  3. GOOD JOB!!!! a bit of work but what a kool thing to do. It will be great in about a year and you drive by and realize what you have accomplished. This is such a good thing. I just wish I could grow succulents endlessly…just a few in the house. The freeze in the winter here, as you know. But eventually Mark is making the front porch area all insulated and heated, a sort of green house for me and then we will see. :-)

  4. I drive past this area often and enjoy seeing the evolving gardens in the median strip and on the road side. My partner has a house on 45 th just a few blocks up from the beach and we love seeing how the neighborhood comes together as a community to plant the public spaces.

  5. Great job you guys! How inspiring. Have you seen anyone trying to do similar with the other plots?

  6. Great Job guys! I live a block away and so appreciate the beautification! Just rocked the little patch of sand outside my house and our hanging flower baskets with some succulent cutting goodness! Woo hoo!

  7. I want to see it the next time you have me over for one of your garden extravaganzas. You of course are invited to ours. It’ll be on a Sunday, May 20. Naturally all the peeps your fellow bay area plant peeps are also welcome.

    • Hi Serial Plant Fetishish, we don’t have one planned in the immediate future, and will keep you apprised for when we do. I’ll mark our calendar for yours. Matti

  8. Just love your community succulent garden!!

  9. good job! what about plant theft? seems it could be a problem.

    • Hey Invisible Gardener, yeah…theft is always a concern. Plants do get nabbed, but what are you gonna do. We just plant and hope for the best, plus none of these would be considered specimens, so hope that cuts down on the temptation.

  10. Just an aside since I live in Denver… I love your blog. You inspire me with ideas. Keep the pics continuing…

  11. Looks great! You’re so lucky you can garden with those types of succulents. I would love to have those in my garden! But alas, here in MN, they are house plants. :-)


    • Funny thing is that we have indoor plants that we can’t grow outside too and think…wouldn’t it be great if our Sansevierias wouldn’t melt if we put it outside.

  12. What a wonderful job ! Bravo… How great of you guys to
    share your wonderful plants to make a beautiful space for
    everyone to enjoy, I love this spirit. Wish more people
    would take a few minutes of there day to do just alittle more to make these blank spaces beautiful. How proud
    you guys must feel when you drive by and see how wonderful the new space looks and how well it is growing.
    Many “Atta Boys” to you guys for making the world beautiful.

  13. Hi Matti – After having lived in San Francisco for 18 years, I can see that’s a welcome addition to the Great Highway. Aren’t succulents the best for “no brainer” cuttings? Here in Santa Barbara, I have them on my front porch, in a box in my utility room, & often times just leave them where I cut them in the garden. Now that’s low maintenance at its best!

  14. Beautiful job! How much can be done with just a little time and material! Looking forward to the updates…

  15. Loved, LOVED this post! Way to go, guys! I’m totally inspired to do something similar. I have been known to sneakily tend to the neighbor’s yards/trade plants without permission, but this is on completely different and much better level. :)

    Can’t wait for spring here in MI so I can find a needy spot to garden.

  16. Pingback: day 43: outdoors we will go/ house decor/ succulents and planting day! « ipinterest

  17. Great work. You guys are awesome.

  18. My better half and I drove up to Ocean Beach today and just had to tell you how beautiful “your” circle garden is looking – nice work you two! I only just found your wonderful blog (right about when you wrote about reviving that garden) and I wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration – your photographs, writing and work at Ocean Beach are all note worthy. Thanks again!

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