Ice plant adds color to a flagstone walkway.

Landscaping With Flagstone & Succulents

by Paul Schuster

If you live in an area that receives little rainfall or you want to use less water in your yard, a design centered on flagstones and succulents may be the right choice. Succulents store water in their foliage, so they do not need regular watering or rain in most climates. Flagstones work as a stone ground cover, reducing the area that needs watering. Succulents grow best with warmth, and flagstones retain heat, increasing soil temperatures.

1. Walkways

Flagstones work well as stepping stones, or you can place them side by side to make a patio or walkway. With their flat surfaces, flagstones can be placed directly onto the ground with little preparation. Planting succulents in between the stones helps prevent grass and weeds from growing, and they also add an extra layer of appeal. Low-growing ice plant (Delosperma spp.) grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10. It produces brightly colored flowers in spring or summer and has smooth leaves the rest of the year.

2. Rock Gardens

Showcase larger succulents in a rock garden. In most climates, you won't need to water a rock garden, making it a low-maintenance area. Use a mix of different rock and succulent types for variety. Place flagstones vertically to create height. You can also stack flagstones on top of each other to create spaces for succulents, as well as an interesting display. Colorful succulents, such as the dark purple "Zwartkop" aeonium (Aeonium arboreum "Zwartkop"), add a welcome splash of color and contrast. "Zwartkop" aeonium grows in USDA zones 9 through 11.

3. Height

When stacked, flagstones help break the monotony of a flat landscape. Tuck small succulents into the cracks and crevices formed between the flagstones to add texture and color. Push potting soil into the cracks and add succulent cuttings to create a succulent and stone sculpture for your garden. "Black" hens and chicks (Sempervivum "Black") work well in these conditions, growing in USDA zones 4 through 9.

4. Fire Resistant

If you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfires, a flagstone and succulent garden could act as a fire barrier. Because of their wide, flat surfaces, flagstones can help keep fires at bay. Succulents, with their moisture-rich foliage do not burn as easily as other plants, as they rarely become dried out. Because landscaping with flagstones and succulents probably means you have fewer woody plants growing near the house, your yard will be less likely to fuel a fire.

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