Terrariums have been all the rage for do-it-yourself and home and garden enthusiasts in the past few years, even getting this article in the New York Times and this past week I finally got around to making my own. A terrarium is a miniature landscape with plants that is displayed in a glass container. It’s an easy way to get into gardening for people like me who have always wanted to grow their own garden but haven’t been able to take the plunge. They only need minimal attention to maintain and are great for sprucing up an office or room. For my first time making one, I think it didn’t turn out too bad.

1. First thing you will need, of course, is a glass container. You can use basically any kind of clear glass container, for my terrarium I used an open container. Thrift shops are the best for finding these kind of glass containers and they are usually only about $2!

2. For the bottom level of your terrarium you will need about an inch of rocks or pebbles, which works as a drainage for the water in the terrarium.

3. If you are making a closed terrarium, you will need a layer of activated charcoal on top of the rocks. This will filter the air in your terrarium and keep it fresh. I made an open terrarium so I skipped this step.

4. Next, add a layer of spaghnum moss to prevent the soil from mixing down into the rocks. I forgot this but it really does help!

5. Now add a layer of soil. This, including the rock layer, should fill up about 1/3 of your container. Regular potting soil is great for most terrariums but it you are using cactuses like I did, you will need special soil or you can just mix coarse sand into the regular potting soil.

6. Time to add the plants! You want to dig small holes in the soil to place the plants in and depending how large or small your container is you might want to use long tweezers in order to get the plants in the right place. At first I used my hands and accidentally broke some of the cactus leaves so then I switched over to chopsticks so I could be more precise in putting in the plants (gotta make do with what you have!). I used succulents for my terrarium because I’ve always loved desert landscapes but you can use basically any small house plant.

7. Some people like to add little ornaments to their terrariums but I prefer to keep things nice and simple.