Easy to care for, tempting to cuddle — moss is having a real moment in naturally-styled homes everywhere. This stunning DIY for the entryway caught our attention in the pages of Decorating With Plants. It’s not the kind of project that’ll take over your weekend, but it may just get your hands dirty enough that you’ll feel accomplished in the end. Here’s how to make it happen… 

To turn your entry into a quiet retreat from a busy world, keep your planting simple. Choose soft shapes, , an unobtrusive container and a harmonious and subdued color palette. Be sure to maintain an open path that allows for passing by with ease. This design takes its inspiration from the Saihoji Kokedera (moss temple) garden in Kyoto, which is mostly swaths of green mosses and where visitors instantly feel relaxed upon entering through the garden gates. To mimic that calming experience at home, display a pre-potted bonsai tree, or re-create this mini Japanese landscape with a handful of easy-to-find plants.

moss bowl DIY

A Zen Entry With Potted Ferns + Moss


ferns and mosses (pictured above: cretan brake fern, Sprengeri fern, spike moss, sheet moss and mood moss)
wide, shallow bowl
potting mix
smooth, protruding rock


Set the plants inside the bowl to plan the layout of the arrangement. Although it is the combination of all the plants that makes the design beautiful, the space that holds the subtle moss ripples is the most impactful feature. Let the tranquil power of the negative space radiate; be thoughtful and add other plants sparingly.

Soak the moss in water.

Fill the bowl about three-quarters of the way with potting mix — leave enough room so the plants and moss will rest below the rim when they’re added.

Add a few more scoops of soil and, with cupped hands, mold the soil piles to form tiny mounds.

Place the rock off-center in the bowl. Unpot and plant a small fern, tucking it in at the base of the rock as if it grew there naturally.

Plant the biggest fern at an angle, letting it drape over the edge of the bowl.

Grab clumps of the soaking moss and give each a squeeze to release the water. Gently rest the moss on the soil — mood moss naturally mounds and creates an undulating layer of green, but the mounds give any type of moss a lift. Tuck in a piece of sheet moss or any other kind of moss in the fall of the ripples to create a wave-like moss meadow.

To care for the arrangement, keep a spray bottle handy and mist daily with water. Bright or moderate light works well for this planting, but keep it out of direct sun.

Excerpted from Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Aubrie Pick.

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