Succulent planter and spa (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

See a City Hacienda Succulent Garden

In my latest video we visit a restored,1930s Spanish bungalow in Orange County. In keeping with a Mexican hacienda theme inspired by the famed La Quinta Resort, Nanci and Kevin Zinngrabe's urban succulent oasis includes sculptural cacti, euphorbias, aloes, agaves and more.

Front yard succulent garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Front of house

You'll love all the bright colors inspired by Mexican tile and Talavera, and the innovative ways the couple utilize limited space, create inviting outdoor living areas, muffle neighborhood noise, and maximize privacy.

Floral Park bungalow in the 1930s

The house has been in magazines and on home-and-garden tours.

The Zinngrabe's "Z Casa" is in Santa Ana’s Floral Park, an Orange County community of more than 600 vintage homes built from the 1920s through the 1950s.

The 8,000-square-foot lot on a busy corner includes a spa, water features, a garden potting bench, shelves that display succulent pots, and areas for grilling, dining and entertaining.

Hacienda patio garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Outdoor sink, countertop, bar and grill

Especially noteworthy is how they've used vertical space for succulents. Tall specimens in narrow planters show to advantage against 6-foot, brick-topped stucco walls.

Cacti and euphorbias create a living art gallery and cast intriguing shadows throughout the day. Planters are conveniently sitting-height.

How the Zinngrabes interpret Mexican hacienda style

  • Talavera and terra-cotta from Mexico
  • A palette of blue, orange and golden brown
  • Bricks in patterns

Talavera and brick wall feature (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

  • Carved wood and wrought iron accents
  • Archways
  • Smooth white stucco walls

Cobalt pot fountain (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

The largest of several fountains muffles exterior noise

  • Fountains
  • Mexican chiminea (a free-standing terracotta chimney)

Nanci's potting bench

Nanci's work table serves as a garden focal point, as do shelves that hold assorted Talavera pots.

Succulent potting bench (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Nanci's potting bench is both eye-catching and practical.

Terracotta blends well with Talavera, and so do containers with a desert theme.

Succulents in Talavera pots on shelves (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Nanci displays small succulents in collectible Talavera and terra-cotta pots on outdoor shelves.

Nanci’s favorite succulents

Shown here: Agave attenuata, Agave macroacantha, Agave ovatifolia (Whale’s tongue agave), Agave tequilana, Aloe bainesi, Aloe ‘Blue Elf’, Aloe marlothii, barrel cactus, Coppertone stonecrop, Euphorbia ammak ‘Variegata’, Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’, Pedilanthus macrocarpus, sansevierias, Yucca aloifolia

Succulents for a Spanish bungalow (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Spanish bungalow, front yard plants


Succulent planter near spa (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

The corner behind the spa has a curved planter featuring Aloe bainesii


Sansevierias in cobalt pots (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

In the potting bench area are sansevierias (snake plants) in cobalt pots


Large agave and aloe (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

A large agave and aloe in the front garden

Inside the historic house

Archways, weathered wood, wrought iron and hints of Old Mexico continue in the home’s interior.

Mexican hacienda style (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Elements of Mexican hacienda style


Front porch with wrought iron and sansevierias (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Front porch with wrought iron and sansevieras


Cactus dog toy (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Even Ollie, a Yorkie mix, has a saguaro squeak toy



(c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Contrast Colorful Succulents with Colorful Pots

An important, easy secret for effective plant-pot pairings is to contrast colorful succulents with contrasting, colorful pots. Like glazed pots, succulents come in all colors

Enjoyed this article? Please share it!
Pam and Tim Jara with Debra Lee Baldwin (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

See a Seven-Room Succulent Garden I Love

This standard-sized back yard has 7 outdoor living areas: spa, bar/barbecue, dining, fireplace, vegetable garden, bonsai/mosaic garden, and fountain/aeonium garden. There are even more if you count…

Enjoyed this article? Please share it!
Enjoyed this article? Please share it!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.