Create a small but mighty home for your plants with this simple DIY project.
Credit: Jonny Valiant

You don't need acres of land or to work around a changing climate to grow your own garden. In fact, you can actually cultivate beautiful plants from the comfort of your own kitchen. The only real estate you need for this easy and petite DIY is a place to display it. From the types of houseplants you choose to the decorative elements that complete your display, this project is one that you can truly make your own. Find out how to make your own bespoke dish garden using our helpful tips below.


  • Gravel
  • Horticultural charcoal
  • Wide, low-sided container (without a drainage hole)
  • Plants
  • Potting soil
  • Decorative objects like shells, stones, and figurines
  • Moss or sand

How to Build It

Creating your own dish garden is simple. To start, sprinkle less than an inch of gravel and charcoal over the bottom of the container. The gravel is used for drainage around the plant's roots while the charcoal helps to keep small amounts of standing moisture fresh. Next, unpot your plants and position them however you see fit, keeping in mind that you are trying to create a miniature landscape. Surround the root-balls with soil, leaving a thinner layer over the nonplanted gravel areas. Then add decorative items like shells, stones, figurines, or other collected objects, and tuck them in with a top-dressing of moss or sand so that there is no bare soil showing.

Maintaining Your Garden

Now that you've created your dish garden, the proper care is important to ensure growth. Keep your garden moist with a watering can or water in the sink and let it soak for a few minutes, then carefully tip out the excess water while holding the arrangement in place with your other hand. Repeat this procedure once a week or when the soil feels dry. Be sure your garden never sits in excess water and replace any overgrown or sickly plants as needed for the best results.

Make sure your dish garden is placed in bright but indirect sunlight, and your houseplants should thrive for months or even years to come.

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
December 17, 2012
The time for procrastination is over. Change your life by getting certified. If you have 10 or 20 years of experience, it must be documented. A Microsoft MCTS is your solution for employment in this competitive job market. 70-297