Garden Photo of the Day

Lori’s garden in Utah, Day 2

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener

Welcome to day 2 in Lori’s garden In Layton, Utah. Lori says, “In the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains here it is quite common to see rock walls used as retaining walls. These walls can be a challenge because weeds can be very tenacious and you sometimes literally have to become a rock climber to garden on them!

–BEFORE– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener

“In addition, where we live, there is a constant fear in the back of my mind that I will put my hand in a crevice of a rock to pull out a weed and find a rattlesnake! Despite the challenges, our rock retaining wall plays a significant part in our backyard landscape and I was determined to do a good job with ours. Here are a couple of the before photos and few afters. I focused on planting the steps with lots of varieties of thyme and succulents which will fill in the spaces between the rocks to help keep the weeds down.” Beautiful, Lori! Definitely a successful venture.

–AFTER– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
–AFTER– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
–BEFORE– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
–AFTER– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
–AFTER– Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Lori Carpener


Here’s how it works:

  1. You send in photos of your garden to [email protected], along with a brief description. You know how much you like to read everyone else’s garden stories–now it’s time to tell yours!
  2. At the end of the week I’ll compile a list of names of everyone who sent in photos and choose 5 names randomly from a hat (perhaps a flower pot…). The first person gets first pick, second person gets second pick, etc. I’ll email you if you get picked.
  3. After all the winners have chosen, I’ll tell everyone who won, probably the following week.

Here is a list of the books:

  • Pick of the Bunch: The Story of Twelve Treasured Flowers by Margaret Willes
  • Ginkgo by Peter Crane
  • Gardening Vertically: 24 Ideas for Creating Your Own Green Walls by Noemie Vialard
  • World’s Fair Gardens: Shaping American Landscapes by Cathy Jean Maloney
  • Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo
  • The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City by Patrick Blanc

Now get cracking! I can’t wait to see what’s happening out there. But no worries if winter is still hanging on in your area. Send photos from last year!

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View Comments


  1. PeonyFan 04/02/2013

    I am so envious--I love rocks! Great to see plants nestled among them.

  2. user-1020932 04/02/2013

    what a project! beautiful / functional end results and now you have all those pockets to plant in. you need a chapter devoted to you in that Vertical Gardening book Michelle is giving away. i can appreciate the rock climber abilities you would need for planting / maintaining parts of this. great steps

  3. wGardens 04/02/2013

    Oh my! This is fabulous! (I think we should all meet here for a little tour and a wine and cheese party... :-) !! )

  4. pattyspencer 04/02/2013

    Beautiful! Really like how all those teeny tiny plants creep beside those rocks.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/02/2013

    Amazing stonework and wonderful plantings. Great plant choices. I am green with envy, and maybe my garden will start to turn green soon!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/02/2013

    As much as we all really love rocks, we, even more so, really, really love the little nooks and crannies ( hmmm, why am I suddenly in the mood for a Thomas's English muffin) planting opportunities that rocks provide. Lori, you did a great job in your selection of groundcovers and beguiling succulents to tuck in the empty pockets. I see that you have made use of more substantial evergreens throughout the layers of stones. I would love to see another round of pictures in a few years as those evergreens mature some...things are just going to look better and better with each passing year. Thanks for another chance to enjoy your great view

  7. mainer59 04/02/2013

    What a wonderful solution to a potential eyesore and a chance to expand gardening opportunities. I heard a talk on gardening among rocks recently and every slide was stunning artistically. Halls Pond Nursery is a small place in Maine, but do look at the photos if you are interested in this kind of thing. It is in a completely different climate than Utah and shows that this kind of planting works in other settings.

  8. brainbear 04/02/2013

    Wow, I can appreciate all of your hard work..........moving those rocks will keep you in shape. I really like your steps. You are much braver than me to weed in those crevices, one snake and you'd hear me scream from Ontario to Utah. We have hog nosed snakes that rear up and shake at you, but they don't bite. Great job!

  9. grannieannie1 04/02/2013

    We actually have to buy rocks, so I'm green with envy seeing your boulders. A beautiful garden. Would you name the flowering ones, please?

  10. tractor1 04/02/2013

    Great rock scaping... a monumental task hauling in and placing all those boulders... I'd like to have seen that property before the contractor did that extensive hardscaping... and a talented professional planted it out. All the plants are looking very robust, I'm wondering if there's an irrigation system incorporated... there must be to water that very expansive/expensive lawn. I'd still like to see more of the landscaping at the other parts of that property... it reminds me of many of the properties around Carson City, NV.

  11. sheilab 04/02/2013

    Your rocks are amazing! And, I thought we had rocks here in Newfoundland! They look like pebbles next to yours. The placement is very thoughtful. It must have taken you a lot of time to get things "just right."

  12. sheila_schultz 04/02/2013

    I love this post since I am passionate about rock gardens! Lori, the plants you chose for the pockets are so fitting for their space...not an easy task, I know from experience. You definitely have a great design perspective, and your rock gardens are fabulous. I also feel your pain when it comes to the rock climbing aspect of working in the beds... you kind of need to be a contortionist at times ;)

  13. cwheat000 04/02/2013

    Lori, your rock gardening project is spectacular. With a cup of coffee in hand, those steps must be a great place to soak in the sun and the view. You must really enjoy all the detail and textures of the plantings, as you are sitting there.

  14. erla 04/02/2013

    What fun to have all those great rocks available. Here in Oregon I have to buy the rocks for my flower beds or ask my grandsons to load some on a camping trip. You have put in a lot of hard work, and it looks beautiful.

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