Garden Photo of the Day

From Barren Plot to Urban Oasis

Small space, big garden

close up of potted succulents in the garden

Today we’re visiting with Max Cannon who gardens in south San Francisco, California:

garden patio covered in container plantings of succulents and cacti

Our garden started as a barren plot of concrete and hard-pan clay in 2017, our mission has been to create a feeling of oasis in an urban setting.

close up of tropical plants

Gardening is our primary tool for self-expression, our palette includes a diverse array of plants including bromeliads, palms, and succulents.

another view of the densely planted garden

Vertical elements are a key feature in our very small garden creating a feeling of enclosure.

small tropical trees amongst the succulent plantings

We have also tried to create intimate seating areas, places we can relax and admire the diverse array of plant forms in our garden.

close up of various succulent foliage plants

While floral color is minimal and subdued most of the year, foliage color is always a primary concern when selecting and placing plants in the garden.

various potted cacti and succulents against a blue wall

We have emphasized silver and blue in our garden, and have used bold paint colors on our home to help create a backdrop for our beloved plants, including a wall inspired by Yves St. Laurent’s Villa Oasis.

close up of air plants

Recycled material has also become a key element in our garden, a favorite is the mattress springs we scavenge around town. Here a mattress spring serves as a place for Tillandsia (air plants) to  growing and blooming.

close up of potted succulents in the garden

If you want to see more of this beautiful garden, check out their instagram: @planty_magoo


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View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 01/18/2024

    What a spectacular accomplishment, Max! It's hard to imagine how rich a botanical paradise you created in such short order. The diversity in the scale and form of the foliage elicits more excitement than I can recall from years of following GPOD. And I encourage readers to visit in depth via a video available upon opening the Instagram link. It lets us wander through and connect the spaces of these well-photographed images. I appreciate that you've managed to create a bonafide landscape with that enormous collection of terracotta pots along the blue wall. Simply amazing!

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 01/18/2024

      I agree with everything nwphilagardener posted.

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 01/18/2024

    Superb, and a real treat to see such a wide array of foliage and exotic plants. Thanks for sharing!

  3. btucker9675 01/18/2024


  4. moyra_b 01/18/2024

    What a delight!! Thank you for sharing it.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 01/19/2024

    Wow, you really did capture the feeling of an oasis- your garden is spectacular!

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