Cacti are plants that don’t require a lot of care, look great all year long, and won’t cost you a fortune. In addition, their juicy green colors will add a nice touch to your desk, room, or even garden. That’s right; you can create an amazing cactus garden to proudly display your favorite plants and be able to spend some quality time among them. If you don’t feel up to designing your very own cactus garden just yet, take a look at our collection of cactus garden ideas for some inspiration.
1. Stones and Cacti
If you think you’d like to have a zen cactus garden, you can’t go wrong with mixing plants and stones. Big flat rocks can make a nice base for your cacti pots, and spreading smaller stones in between pots creates a nice ambiance of a Japanese-like garden. If you want to be particularly creative, you can experiment with various colors for your pots and rocks. Mixing and matching them can create different types of atmospheres and ambiances depending on what you’d like to have in your own cactus garden.
2. Glass Balls Reflecting Cacti
Decorative glass balls probably hit their popularity peak in interior design some years ago, but they are still a viable idea for your cactus garden. The sheer variety of glass balls available on the market gives you a lot of room to experiment with different shapes and color accents. This allows you to create numerous combinations and easily redecorate your cactus garden once you get tired of the way it looks.
3. Cactus in Bloom
Cacti don’t necessarily have to be plain old green. Some of them can bloom and show off beautiful flowers for at least some weeks. It is often fairly difficult to make a blooming cactus actually produce flowers because they need very particular conditions to bloom. You may need to move the cactus around your house or apartment for a while to find the sweet spot that works best for your plant. Using special plant fertilizers may also be a good idea if you want to get the best results. However, once you get the cactus to bloom, it will look great for weeks and surely become the centerpiece of your cactus garden.
4. Cactus in A Flowerbed
If you have a garden outside and live in a climate with mild winters, you can add a cactus to your garden to give it a new twist. Naturally, you’ll need a rather large cactus. Otherwise, it is simply going to get lost among other plants in your garden. Also, make sure the cactus you’re getting for your garden is suitable for weather conditions outside. Some cacti types will have to grow in special large pots, while others need to be planted into the ground. Either way, the new succulent inhabitant of your garden is definitely going to be a nice touch to the existing layout.
5. Mix and Match
If you have limited funds or simply don’t want to invest in decorations such as rocks, stones, or glass balls, you can still create a great cactus garden. Take a look at the cacti you already have and try to imagine a nice arrangement in the space you’re going to use for your garden. If you find a combination that works together well, you’re done designing your new garden. If not, take a good mental note of the cacti you already have and get some new ones that you think can complement your old plants.
6. Stucco and Succulents
Stucco walls can add a lot of character to any garden, so why not use it as a background for your new cactus garden. If you already have a stucco wall, you’ll need to take its design into account when choosing the cacti and their pots for the garden. If not, you almost literally have a clean slate, so you can choose to create your garden in antique, oriental, modern, or any other style you like.
7. Create a Mini Garden
If you live in a small apartment with seemingly no space available for a cactus garden, you may still be able to fit one into your living quarters. Window sills often present a great spot for cacti because there is a lot of sunlight coming in from the window. However, if a window sill is situated next to a heating unit or underneath a window that doesn’t get a lot of light, it is probably not the best place to grow a cacti garden. If you don’t have a suitable window sill, take a look at shelves and other flat surfaces at eye level - you’re bound to find a spot where you could place a couple of cacti and maybe even some small rocks.
8. Cactus Fences
Of course, you can’t seriously expect to replace the fence around your house with cacti. However, you can plant the succulents along pathways or alleys to create visual limitations and separate different areas of your yard and garden. Just make sure to get the right types of cacti so that they can survive the transplantation and thrive in their new home. Bear in mind that this type of cactus garden may not be the best idea if there are small children or pets in your household.
9. Cacti in the Desert
People who live in warmer climates may want to go for the desert look for their cactus gardens. Depending on what you already have available, a cool desert design may be very easy or fairly challenging to achieve. In any case, you’re probably going to need some sand and a couple of boulders to set the tone. Once the sand is spread out and the boulders have been installed, you can place your cacti around them and see how they interact with the new environment.
10. Aloe Meets Cactus
It is common for people to think that aloe vera is actually a type of cactus because of its sharp, dry, spiny look. Despite not actually being one of the 2000+ cactus types, aloe vera still is a succulent that can fit into your new cactus garden perfectly. If you plant it outside in suitable conditions, it will grow to be pretty big, so make sure to allow it some space to grow into. Centering your cactus collection around an aloe plant is bound to result in a nice looking garden.
11. Explore the Variety
As you already know from the previous paragraph, there are over 2000 various cactus types, and of course, they don’t all look the same. We all know and recognize the stereotypical cactus look, but there are some succulent plants that you probably wouldn’t even identify as a cactus, yet they do belong to the Cactaceae family. Thus, your perfect cactus garden design may all come together once you take a good look at all the various shapes, forms, and even colors of cacti you can purchase.
12. Go For Exotic Cacti
If you have a soft spot for rare or unique things, we feel you may like to decorate your cactus garden with some exotic cacti. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get your hands on some pretty rare and interesting cacti types without much trouble and effort. If there are no rare cacti easily available in your city or even country, you can still look for them online. This way is going to be more challenging, but finally obtaining the desired cactus is also going to feel much more rewarding.
13. Cacti in a Rock Garden
Rocks are a very versatile material for garden design, and some people even choose to have rock gardens with little to no plants just for the sheer stone aesthetic. If you happen to have a rock garden already and feel fed up with its look, you can instantly make it more fun by placing some cacti around it. Choose the cacti types for your rock garden wisely, and you’ll be able to create a nice, welcoming space where you can read books, relax after a day at work, or simply watch the stars.
14. Playing With Contrasts
If your house walls are painted white or another light color, you can plant some tall cacti next to them to create a sharp contrast. The fresh green colors of the cacti are going to stand out against the light colored walls, bringing a lot of visual diversity into your garden or backyard. This design looks particularly great during sunny days when the walls present a bright background, and the cacti cast solid, crisp-looking shadows.
15. Glowing Red Spines
Sometimes the best way to create an interesting visual aesthetic is to experiment with the light. Assuming your cactus garden is going to be outside, you have a lot of room for experimentation due to the variability of natural light. If you can place or plant your cacti in the right spot, you can get the sun to shine at them at that particular angle that creates a certain backlight and makes the cacti glow in it. The best cacti to go with this kind of design are the ones with red spines: once they are hit by the light from the right angle, they start producing a nice pinkish glow.
16. Colors Fill Spaces
If you have a large space intended for your cactus garden, you don’t necessarily have to fill it all up with cacti, rocks, or other expensive decorations. It is possible to create a great cactus garden with a limited budget regardless of how the spacious it is going to be. The trick is to avoid leaving too much open space by covering up the ground around your cacti with small colorful stones. Being quite affordable and coming in a variety of colors, these stones are perfect for creating circles or maybe even other geometrical shapes around the base of your cacti and filling up vast empty spaces.
17. Escaping the Shadows
It is no secret that cacti need a lot of sunlight to live and grow. Unfortunately, sometimes all the space you have for your future cactus garden is an area hidden from the sun by your house, shed, or maybe a large tree. Still, it is often possible to find small spots that get more sunlight even in darker areas. Use these spots to strategically plant your cacti, creating a visually engaging scattered look for your cactus garden.
18. Minimalism is Key
In a world full of an overwhelming amount of different things, concepts, and ideas, your cactus garden can become a place where you can meditate and focus on what matters most. A minimalistic design is definitely going to work best for such garden, and symmetry can help you implement minimalism without completely missing out on the decorative aspects of a garden. Get some similar cacti in uniform pots and center them around a tree, a fountain, or a large exotic cactus to build a symmetrical pattern.
19. Cacti Leading the Way
This cactus garden design will probably require you to spend more money and effort than most others on this list, but your investment will be rewarded by having an unusual and very cool garden. Choose a suitable path in your garden or backyard and plant cacti of different sizes along it. Ideally, they would surround the path from both sides, but if you only have the money or space to do one side, the design is still going to look pretty good. It is a good idea to take some extra time and find cacti of as many sizes as possible to create smooth visual transitions between plants.
20. A Rough Patch
We have already given you some ideas that work well if you have a large space for the cactus garden and only a few cacti to place there. But what if money is not that much of a concern and you are prepared to spend a lot on your new garden? Well, in that case, you could go for expensive, super rare cacti and proudly display them in the garden, or buy a dozen cacti of the same type and cover up a patch in your garden. This design works particularly well with large round cacti which all look more or less the same and are relatively easy to obtain.
21. Tiny Cacti
Since cacti vary in shape and size, your cactus garden doesn’t necessarily have to be large. Some people prefer small cacti that can easily be placed on desks, shelves, or tables. Such cacti work great for an indoor cactus garden described in our idea #7, but some of them can even be planted outside. Just be careful not to step on your tiny garden once you’re done planning and planting it!
22. Display Your Personality
If you’re the one designing your cactus garden, it can become your creative outlet, reflecting your personal traits and preferences. Are you methodical and organized? Your cactus garden layout could be revolving around lines and strict geometric patterns. If you’re spontaneous and creative, your garden could reflect that just as well, being a chaotic mix of different cacti and seemingly random decorations. Expressing yourself is fun, so why not do it while designing your cactus garden instead of just copying someone else’s design?
23. Don’t Forget About Pots
Even the least remarkable cactus garden designs can be “fixed” with a splash of color - and colorful rocks or glass balls are not your only option. Use pots of different colors to accentuate your cacti and make your garden look much more vivid and engaging. Just make sure you stick with bright colors for the pots. Otherwise, they’re just going to blend in with the ground or the cacti themselves.
24. Cacti Hills
Some gardens happen to have hills waiting to be incorporated into the overall garden layout, and planting a bunch of cacti on them is a great way to do just that. Having multiple green succulents populating the hill will make it an essential part of your garden instead of being an eyesore. In fact, a well-designed cactus garden on a hill can look so cool that some people intentionally create uneven landscapes to accommodate their cacti.
25. Don’t Get Exclusive
The name “cactus garden” clearly suggests that the main plants in the garden should be cacti, but that doesn’t mean they also have to be the only ones. Cacti can work really well with small, bright flowers, creating a textured green background for the colorful little plants. Also, you can try mixing cacti with larger succulents of different types - this could be gsreat for a larger garden with some rocks, statues, or even a pond.
Did you enjoy my list of cactus garden ideas? It would mean a lot to me to get some feedback from you, even if you have some criticisms regarding the article. And if you think the ideas on this list are helpful and inspiring, please take some time to share it with your friends and help them design cactus gardens of their own!