See a Succulent Tidepool Terrace

A terrace near an outdoor sitting area is perfect for a colorful, easy-care succulent garden. This one in Laguna Beach, CA, also is an adventure: It suggests a tidepool. When you visually immerse yourself in it, you might as well be snorkeling. I discovered it on the Laguna Beach Garden Club’s spring Gate and Garden tour.

Like many gardens in Laguna, this one is multi-level.  After the owners restored and remodeled the 1920s beach cottage they bought in 2014, they reconfigured and replanted the garden. This prominent terrace became a whimsical, colorful focal point that enhances the view both indoors and out.

Succulent Tidepool Terrace ~ Key Aspects

Succulent tidepool fountain (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulent tidepool terrace fountain

  • A fountain infuses the area with the splash of water, thereby enhancing the theme and muffling the outside world.
  • A tile backsplash, which continues along the length of the wall, is glass in shades of blue and aqua green. These have a shimmering iridescence.

Succulent tidepool terrace Laguna (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Rock retaining walls 

  • A retaining wall of rounded granite boulders and concrete suggests beach rock and sand. This low wall also doubles as seating for the adjacent patio.
  • Succulents that suggest undersea flora lend continuity to the design. Among them are slender, upright sanseverias (snake plants), Senecio vitalis, sedums, bottle palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) and Portulacaria afra ‘Minima’.
  • In the bed, softening the visual impact of a structure beyond it, is a dracaena tree. Its slender multiple trunks appear to undulate.

Golden jade in succulent tidepool terrace (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Golden jade and sansevierias

  • Colorful succulents that enhance the composition also include echeverias, graptoverias, trailing crassulas, shrub crassulas such as golden jade and silver dollar jade, aeoniums, and Kalanchoe fedschenkoi.
  • Weatherproof fish tucked amid the succulents lend animation and interest. Find comparable ones online (affiliate link).

Fish, lobelia, Senecio stapeliiformis (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Fish look hungrily at Senecio stapeliiformis. The blue is lobelia (not a succulent). 

  • Nonsucculents that contrast with vivid fish include blue lobelia and burgundy coleus and cordylines. The latter echo the dark rusty hues of one of the terrace’s aquatic inhabitants: a metal sea serpent.

Echeveria, sansevieria, eel (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Echeveria, sansevieria and ceramic eel

  • Sea-themed accessories include chunks of slag glass, large shells (some planted), a ceramic eel, and my personal favorite: a pirate’s treasure chest filled with small silver bowls and large glass jewels.

Undersea succulent garden treasure chest

Treasure chest

Nancy's Mermaid Garden Nearby

According to tidepool succulent garden owner Gabriella Rice, “The person whose vision, design and labor made our garden what it became was Joe, my husband.” Sadly, Joe passed away in 2019.

Laguna Beach Garden Club past-president Nancy Englund helped Gabriella prepare her undersea terrace to be on tour. Nancy’s own mermaid garden is renowned. Do enjoy my video of it, from an earlier Gate & Garden tour:

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  1. Laura Balaoro on May 26, 2021 at 3:19 am

    As you know, I love the underwater theme with succulents. So exciting. Thanks for more ideas.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on May 26, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Yes! I remember the one you did for the Succulent Extravaganza after you came back from Hawaii!

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