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.

Add a little color 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, but you can choose any flat vessel you like (just be sure to add a drainage hole). Our step-by-step instructions will make it possible to create this stunning moss garden yourself.

tabletop DIY moss garden

BHG / Adrienne Legault

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

drilling into dish for making DIY moss tabletop garden

BHG / Adrienne Legault

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.

Step 2: Add Fabric and Pea Gravel

adding pea gravel to tabletop DIY moss garden

BHG / Adrienne Legault

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

adding potting mix to DIY tabletop moss garden

BHG / Adrienne Legault

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 (such as baby ferns). In this project, David Spain uses a rock and an ebony spleenwort fern for structure.

Step 4: Cut and Add Moss

cutting moss to add to DIY moss tablescape

BHG / Adrienne Legault

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).

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