20 tough street side succulents (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

20 Tough Succulents for Streetside Gardens

Photos show the garden six weeks after installation. A list of plant names is at the end. 

How to blend utility box lids with a garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

In a streetside garden near a busy intersection, utilitarian items are inevitable, but with a little ingenuity, they needn't be eyesores. 

A succulent-scape that Hannah Eubanks of Design for Serenity created for Grangetto's Farm and Garden Supply solves multiple problems and showcases 20 types of tough succulents.

Grangetto's three locations serve homeowner-gardeners and agricultural clients. The Escondido store is on a busy street in a light-industrial area. Inland summer heat and sun can be brutal---one reason owner Kevin Grangetto asked for "a low-maintenance succulent landscape," Hannah says.

Six months earlier, she created an award-winning 1,750-square-foot display garden for Grangetto's at the San Diego County Fair. Hannah repurposed much of the rock from the exhibit into the new street-side landscape.

Completed in January, its five garden areas (three with succulents, two with edibles) enhance long, narrow beds alongside the building. Both are mere steps away from  sidewalks, driveways and a busy intersection.

Hannah Eubanks with American Horticultural Society award (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Hannah at the Del Mar Fair Flower Show awards ceremony in July.

The L-shaped landscaping skirts the foundation of a metal-sided, high-ceiling building with forklift-sized doors.

Grangetto's newly installed succulent garden ©Debra Lee Baldwin

Tough plants for hot inland areas of Southern CA include aloes, ripple jade and variegated elephant's food. (Also see the List below.)

With the help of Grangetto's employees, Hannah expedited five garden areas that flow into each other. Three planted with succulents have a topdressing of golden gravel. She mulched the other two---which feature edibles---with moisture-conserving shredded redwood ("gorilla hair").

Rocks divide two sections of Grangetto's display garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Lava rocks separate and define areas; boulders visually unify them. Red blooms in back, at far right and left, are Euphorbia milii. 

In keeping with the Design for Serenity aesthetic, Hannah sculpted mounds and swales with new topsoil and boulders as accents. This approach is as practical as it is pleasing; mounds give roots good soil, elevate plants, enhance drainage, and provide sheltered microclimates.

Design Challenges

Have you dealt with one or more of these and wondered what a professional landscape designer would do? Tell us in the Comments!

Visually Blend dissimilar areas

Hannah used serpentine borders of lava rock to define garden sections, and amid the dark chunks she placed golden-toned boulders (same color as the gravel). These add continuity to adjacent areas topdressed with dark mulch or beige-gold crushed rock.

Avoid mounding soil against walls

A trench that doubles as a pathway keeps soil from exterior walls (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

A trench that doubles as a pathway keeps soil away from exterior walls

How to surround a structure with topsoil without banking it against the walls? Mound the soil away from it and create a trench around the building's perimeter. It'll double as a pathway that accesses the back of the garden.

Topdressings help keeps walls clean, too. Rain and irrigation that hit loose, bare soil will splash dirt onto surrounding surfaces.

Soften a stark structure

Sage green paint and a farm mural (not shown) help make exterior walls of the warehouse-like building less industrial-looking, as does a mature tree on the east side (leafless in winter). Hannah added the cactus garden. 

Newly planted Palo verde (Cercidium 'Desert Museum') (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

A newly planted palo verde 'Desert Museum' already has blooms.

She also added two palo verde 'Desert Museum' trees. Despite looking dainty with feathery leaves and airy masses of yellow flowers, these green-barked trees are remarkably tough and heat-tolerant.

Yucca rostrata in the display garden of Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply ©Debra Lee Baldwin

Yucca rostrata

Succulents that'll mature into trees over time include Trichocereus sp., Aloe ferox, Yucca rostrata, and a trio of Pachypodium lamerii. All are slow compared to woody trees, but when installed atop mounds, they gain several feet of height.

Aloe ferox in the display garden of Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply

Aloe ferox

Hesperaloe parviflora, newly planted in the display garden of Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora, a desert succulent with narrow, upright leaves, has a fountain-like form. It sends up slender, lily-like flower spikes in summer.

Provide color, texture, height and contrast

Farther from the walls and in lower areas, Hannah added colorful ornamental succulents such as Echeveria harmsii; mangaves; a dwarf, red-flowering Euphorbia milii; Cotyledon orbiculata; and aloes 'Blue Elf', A. vera, and A. cameronii.

Echeveria harmsii

Echeveria harmsii has fuzzy, red-edged leaves and, when in bloom, orange lantern-like flowers 

Grangetto's newly installed succulent garden ©Debra Lee Baldwin

Above: Aloe cameronii, foreground (greater sun will turn it red), ripple jade, purple mangave, variegated elephant's food (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata') and at center back, Aloe vera. 

Trichocereus surrounded by golden gravel topdressing ©Debra Lee Baldwin

This trichocereus will continue to offset. In spring it produces showy, vivid flowers.

Aloe cameronii (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Aloe cameronii contrasts with pincushion-like Yucca rostrata

Plan for plant size at maturity

A purple mangave in the display garden at Grangetto Farm & Garden Supply, Escondido, CA (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Boulders that provide a sheltered microclimate for a  purple mangave are far enough apart that the plant has  room to grow.

Trio of newly planted pachypodiums grace the display garden at Grangetto's Farm and Garden Supply ©Debra Lee Baldwin

A trio of pachypodiums add interest to the corner where both of the narrow gardens meet. These intriguing, prickly-trunked trees from Madagascar attain six to eight feet over time. 

protect plants near driveways

Gravel is a smart solution for an area where cars could run over landscape plants. (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Gravel is a smart solution for an area where cars might inadvertently crush plants.

Alongside most driveways, especially where a garden corner meets the street, plants are at risk of being run over. Rather than trying to prevent or fix it, it's easier to fill at-risk areas with crushed rock.

Add edibles beautifully and efficiently

Raised vegetable beds in the display garden are a specialty of Grangetto's Farm and Garden Supply ©Debra Lee Baldwin

Raised vegetable beds with lettuce, cabbages and strawberries are a Grangetto's specialty.

To show how homeowners can grow crops in a small area, Hannah planted a variety of dwarf citrus in the ground, with vegetables nearby in raised beds. Grangetto's sells seeds and, in season, rooted plant starts.

See the garden under construction and its "Grand Reveal" on Design for Serenity's YouTube channel. 

Here's your LIST: 20 Tough Streetside Succulents

Give this list to your garden designer-installer, or if you're DIY, take it with you to a succulent nursery. Many of these came from Waterwise Botanicals Nursery in Bonsall, CA:

  • Agaves 'Moonshine' and A. colorata
  • Aloes 'Blue Elf', A. ferox, A. vera, A. cameronii
  • Cacti: Pilosocereus pachycladus, Trichocereus sp., Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrels)
  • Cotyledon orbiculata
  • Crassula ovata 'Gollum' and ripple jade
  • Euphorbia milii (dwarf with red flowers)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora
  • Mangaves 'Aztec King', 'Mission to Mars', and 'Kaleidoscope'
  • Portulacaria afra 'Variegata' and 'Minima' (elephants' food, low-growing varieties)
  • Yucca rostrata 


Do leave a comment below! Are you a fan of Hannah's? How about Grangetto's? I've gone there since I was a kid---my dad took me along when buying fertilizer, gopher traps, and irrigation supplies for our groves and garden. 

Related Info on This site

Hannah Eubanks Del Mar Fair Succulent display garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

See Hannah’s Award-Winning County Fair Garden

Hannah Eubanks, 25, of Design for Serenity (she’s Laura Eubanks’ daughter and protégé), completed a herculean task: Creating a 1,750-square-foot succulent display for the Del Mar Fair Flower Show

Enjoyed this article? Please share it!

Why You Really Need Rocks

Smart designers cover bare soil with rocks in succulent gardens that are as sophisticated and good-looking as they are practical.

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Succulent garden maintenance referrals

Succulent Garden Professionals: Referrals

Where to find or recommend a succulent garden designer or maintenance professional. Do you know or need someone skilled in this? Tell us!

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Enjoyed this article? Please share it!


  1. joan Booke on February 9, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you for the information and bdeautiful garden designs.

  2. Joanm Booke on February 9, 2024 at 2:59 pm

    see above

  3. Marilyn Chaffee on February 9, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Love LOVE Granjetto’s … been going there for 20 years. Since succulents came into our lives 😉.
    Great photos, helpful information as usual, Debra. Thank you!

  4. Sherman Blench on February 10, 2024 at 7:52 pm

    I watched the transformation taking place at Grangetto’s with interest and anticipation. Hannah did an outstanding installation here! Now if she could just get the post office next door to do her magic on their eyesore area near the drive up mailboxes this corner would look amazing!

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