Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Tim’s garden in Ohio, Day 2: The front yard

2 WAYS TO ENLARGE!Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt

Check out the next awesome transformation in Tim Vojt’s garden in Columbus, Ohio!

Tim says, “Our 100 year-old, suburban home sits up on a berm.  Besides being unappealing, it was somewhat dangerous to mow the grass hill.  I had a wonderful landscaping company devise a nice plan that was going to cost $10,000 for hardscaping. Unwilling to spend that amount of money, I decided to devise my own design for the hillside and began collecting stones to use for landscaping.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt

“I spent an entire summer creating the hillside gardens and the next summer working on the easement.  Spending so much time in the front yard was a great way to meet more neighbors and it created a lot of curb appeal.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt

“I did battle with my biggest enemies, neighborhood squirrels who dig up everything I plant, by pinning down chicken wire to the soil, cutting the wire for planting, and then covering with mulch.  The holes are in the wire are big enough for most any plant to grow through, so now my only nemesis is the occasional rock thief!”

People actually steal the rocks? Weird! Thanks, Tim. Those beds are beautiful now!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt
2 WAYS TO ENLARGE!Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Tim Vojt

* * * CALL FOR TIPS!! * * *
Hey all, I’m pestering you again today! We’re desperate for your gardening tips for the TIPS department in the magazine. Got any helpful shortcuts, quick and easy design ideas, or nifty gardening tricks? Email me at [email protected]! We pay $25 for each tip that we publish, and you could even win a free one-year subscription to the mag! Come on, do a girl a favor…please?  –Michelle

View Comments


  1. gottagarden 01/26/2012

    love the before and after photos. Love the rocks! Great job.

  2. jwiegmull 01/26/2012

    I especially like the stream like flow of what appears to be hakonechloa. This yard definitely proclaims that a gardener lives here.

  3. JulieBW 01/26/2012

    I can't imagine hauling all those rocks. Thanks for the effort and sharing. It is a wonderful garden.
    Thumbs down for those rock thiefs!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/26/2012

    Your very successful front yard transformation must have kept your neighborhood buzzing. Your hosta are so robust and healthy looking. What kind of soil/compost did you add after you had your rocks in place? Certainly looks like it had all the magic ingredients in it to make your plants very happy campers.

  5. lepfan 01/26/2012

    A grassy berm has never stopped or slowed me down but this garden definitely would make me take a closer look and enjoy.
    Great job!

  6. wittyone 01/26/2012

    Just beautiful. Nice house as well.

    Have you started on your backyard yet or are you resting from your labors?

  7. BethTW 01/26/2012

    beautiful! and it makes my back sore just to look at it :)
    i am curious to know what light you get on the hill (southern? / shade) to have such beautiful hostas? we have a similar condition and i need to tackle it but can't quite wrap my mind around it (or muster the energy :).

  8. ppinnc 01/26/2012

    Wow !! Makes this flat land owner wish for a slope !!

  9. siesperanza 01/26/2012

    Inspiration... to get me going on my rock garden project. Thanks Tim. Great job all around.

  10. JTitus 01/26/2012

    Looks great!! I can sympathize with you about people stealing your rocks. I seeded the median to our subdivision and put rubber snakes to keep the birds from eating the seeds and someone stole my snakes. I have been working to get my yard looking good so I do not have the budget available to work on the median like I want to but you have certainly been an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/26/2012

    The hills are north facing slopes. The eastern side gets pretty much full sun. The western side with the hostas is under an enormous cherry tree (think light shade, tons of rotting cherries on the ground in late june....) so it gets some morning sun and some evening sun. I added a little store-bought, generic compost. I also turned the sod upside down to increase the organic matter in the soil. Our back yard, except for the gravel garden, has a long, long way to go (I'd give the project a number in the 100's instead of 500's, Michelle!).

  12. pattyspencer 01/26/2012

    Just beautiful Tim! There are several homes in the Grandview area that have plantings like that - I love driving around in the summer looking at them. I would say this was a labor of love! And yes - there are people who steal rocks. I had brought back some rocks I got from Griggs Dam that has quartz in them that I have in my garden and I caught a kid trying to take them. He said "But they're just rocks" to which I said "Yes - but they are MY rocks and you're stealing"

  13. terieLR 01/26/2012

    This is Fabulous Tim! I certainly would walk by often. Love that you took on the challenge and are showing others ~ it CAN be done.

  14. riverain 01/26/2012

    Really great solution to a formerly unusable area! I have seen some rock gardens that just look like a jumble of debris--but yours flows and swirls in a way that looks natural and designed all at once. I have a steep slope that adges my driveway and had been considering putting rocks along it, as a more natural edging, but wasn't sure how it would look... Now I am definitely copycatting you this year! I am a rock collector myself and have lost a few, and the rock stealers are probably just kids. As long as the stolen rocks aren't going through windows, I figure it's probably good the kids are so interested in something other than video games. You just need to get heavier rocks. :)

  15. sheilaschultz 01/26/2012

    Your front yard is fabulous, Tim. I agree with Meander1, your neighborhood must be so happy you moved in.

  16. greengrowler 01/26/2012

    First, Tim, you've done another magnificent transformation! I especially love the "hell-strip" plantings. Here's my "rock" story.... In transforming my own "hell-strip", I needed smallish rocks for a border; money being tight, "store-bought" rocks were out of the question. So, for about 1 1/2 years, I hauled rocks - in a backpack! - about 1/2 mile's walk from home to a very rocky outcropping. The rocks are covered with lichen and a tapestry of shades - beautiful! Call me husband does!

  17. tesstie 01/26/2012

    Very nice transformation. Im sure it took a lot of hard work. Ill bet if you planted some fruit trees they would stop stealing your rocks!

  18. tractor1 01/26/2012

    I just know all you nice folks are gonna hate me but I have to be perfectly honest, I like the grassy slope much more than that Barny Rubble approach, just doesn't compliment that period style home... insteasd of blending into the hood it sticks out like a sore [green] thumb... all that hardscaping would maybe compliment ultra modern contemporary architecture. That yard is small to begin with, totally covered with rocks makes it appear much smaller. When one abhors mowing there are many ways to cover a slope with live plants rather than that jumble of mismatched stones... I can see a small outcroping of matching stone slabs for a focal point to act as a retainer, but that sci fi hodgepodge robs more than half the planting space, and will look very boring when it all those plants die back come Ohio's cold weather. To me those stones say a grave digger lives here, not a gardener. Also if that sapling planted at the curb is a maple or oak it's not going to do well as a street tree, and once it gets to growing it will raise that sidewalk... while it's still young I'd swap it for a gingko or a linden. Sorry, but I've never been one to knuckle under to political correctness.

  19. Cay442 01/26/2012

    So interesting to look at - it really adds value to your neighborhood!

    "Rock envy" is a serious problem among my friends and relatives!

  20. greengrowler 01/26/2012

    Typically I find it best to simply ignore dubious comments; however, today I am compelled to respond. "Political correctness" should not be confused with what may be seen as blatantly unkind comments. While this is a forum to freely express opinions, name-calling such as "grave digger" or "septic system worker" do not seem to be in the spirit of constructive criticism. I don't know how others feel, but harshly knocking down another gardeners' efforts does not foster community. There are ways to disagree respectfully.

  21. perennialgrdnr_z4b 01/26/2012

    AMEN I agree with GreenGrowler, certain people here seem to always feel the need to knock others down with their unnecessary comments. I usually ignore most, if not all, of what they post here when I see their nickname attached.

    To Tim, I appreciate the wonderful use of plant materials and for making that berm into something that is so much more interesting than a boring green slope. Nice work!

  22. margoa 01/26/2012

    As a landscaper, this is a great treatment for a slope - and it transforms your home. The wrap around porch (if I'm seeing it correctly) has to be getting so much more use and I'm sure your work has invited some little inhabitants to the garden who would not have ever enjoyed a grassy slope. Wonderful to see. My momma always told me, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but I see nothing to complain or correct here. Good job!

  23. luvyardwrk 01/26/2012

    How about a sign that reads, "Snake Habitat," or "You may take the rocks, please leave the snakes." Most people will avoid the area.

  24. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/26/2012

    I've gotten lots of suggestions about how to avert rock thieves. I like the snake sign idea. The fact of the matter is that I can never leave anything alone and am planning on replacing some of the smaller rocks on the east side with *much* heavier rocks (mjw must have read my mind!) The wrap-around porch is, hands-down, the best feature of the house!

  25. terieLR 01/26/2012

    LoL... tesstie, "fruit trees" Yep, I'm a bird lover too ;)

  26. boards 01/27/2012

    I am certain that the rock thieves have priced rocks and know their value. A thief is a thief and I see no reason to be kind or politically correct in addressing this serious problem. I confronted a thief who was making a stop at my road construction every afternoon. He left in a hurry and did not return.
    My hardscaping was seriously diminished by that thief.

    Still a happy gardner.

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