How to Make a Tabletop Moss Garden

Make your own tabletop moss garden with these 5 simple steps! We even got good tips and tricks from moss expert, David Spain.

By Helen Yoest


May 25, 2016

Add a little flavor to your table with this easy-to-do moss garden! This project will bring the outdoors inside with rocks, plants, and some moss to finish it off. We used a ceramic dish to hold the dirt and moss in place. Our step-by-step instructions will make it possible to create this stunning moss garden yourself.

What You Need

  • Drill and ceramic-tile bit
  • Ceramic dish
  • Landscape fabric
  • Pea gravel
  • Well-draining potting mix
  • Rocks and vascular plants
  • Spoon, skewer
  • Moss
  • Tweezers or surgical clippers

Step 1: Drill Holes

Moss Gardens

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Using the ceramic-tile bit, drill a center hole in the ceramic dish. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, allowing water to settle the dust and cool the drill bit as it heats up. Begin drilling at a 45-degree angle to create a groove as a foothold, stabilizing the bit. Then slowly move the drill to a 90-degree angle and finish drilling. Wash the dish.

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Step 2: Add Fabric and Pea Gravel

Moss Gardens

Line the bottom of the dish with landscape fabric so rock and potting mix won’t clog the drainage hole. Add a thin layer of pea gravel to assist in drainage.

Step 3: Add Potting Mix and Accents

Moss Gardens

Add well-draining potting mix to just below the brim. Begin adding your “bones” of the dish garden. Use a kitchen spoon to dig holes for vascular plants. In this project, David Spain uses a rock and an ebony spleenwort fern for structure.

Step 4: Cut and Add Moss

Moss Gardens

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Add a larger piece of moss than the space allows and, using your clippers, trim to a size a little larger than needed so the edges can be tucked in. Lay it atop the potting mix and press down firmly.

Step 5: Tuck in Edges

Moss Gardens

Use any tool to tuck in the edges of the moss. Spain uses a bamboo skewer. Using tweezers or a surgical clippers, remove any leaf debris. The final design includes mosses Brachythecium rutabulum and Dicranum scoparium, reindeer moss (Cladonia spp.), and ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron). [external_footer]

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