I love designing my home with things that bring me joy. One thing that I’ve really fallen for over the years is making and keeping terrariums and other succulent planters in my home. They are fairly cheap to make, easy to maintain, and can make even the blackest thumb appear green. Try refreshing your space with some handmade terrariums of your very own.

I wrote about my first experience building a terrarium back in July 2012. I’ve simplified the process a bit more since then and have revised my steps to reflect my current process. One thing that I do is break apart plants to create a more intentional and colorful design. I also avoid overwatering by lightly watering after the planting is complete.


With just a few basic materials, you’ll have terrariums up and running in no time. All of these materials are readily available from your favorite hardware store, garden center, or online retailer. I purchased all of my plants and supplies at Home Depot. I found the large terrarium vessel a few years ago at West Elm. The small grey container came from IKEA recently, and the other glass vase came from an arrangement I received awhile back.

  • glass or ceramic vase or terrarium vessel (just about container will work, no drainage necessary)
  • rocks
  • gardener’s charcoal
  • cactus/succulent draining soil
  • a selection of succulent plants, in a range of heights, sizes and colors
  • green moss, sand, or rocks (your choice of topper/filler)
  • rocks, figurines (optional to complete the look)
How to Make It
  1. Clean and dry your container.
  2. Lay down a layer of rocks for drainage, 1-2″ deep
  3. Lay down a layer of gardener’s charcoal, which also helps with drainage
  4. Lay down about 2″ of soil
  5. Using your hands or a spoon, create space for plants to sit in as you begin to plan your layout
  6. Once your layout is set, begin filling in around and above the roots of each plant, ensuring they are securely rooted and pointing up
  7. Add a layer of moss, sand, or rocks over the soil to complete the look
  8. Add additional rocks and figurines to suit your taste
  9. Water and place in or near a window with access to sunlight

Once you’ve built your terrarium, the process becomes a fun, simple, creative task. They also make fun and easy DIYgifts! I make mine while listening to podcasts. Today I listened to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.

Basic Terrarium Care

Terrariums like sunlight everyday.

Water every two weeks, or when soil is completely dry.

Carefully remove any dried up or fallen leaves as you notice them.

Want to clear off excess dirt on the glass? Try rubberbanding a paper towel to the end a butter knife, or use an old toothbrush to gently brush dirt away.

If you have any questions as you try to make one of your own, please let me know in the comments below, or by writing to me at lindsayliving@gmail.com.