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Carpet Gardening: Weaving Groundcovers into Low-Growing Art

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Using low-growing groundcovers to create a patchwork of color, texture, and shape in the garden?AKA carpet gardening?was the trend that resonated the most cool spot 11x11 popup gazebo tent instant with mosquito netting outdoor gazebo canopy shelter with 121 square feet of shade beige_700053 me as I toured the show gardens at the  in 2016.

Weaving a garden tapestry: carpet gardening with groundcovers

For years I have been drawn to planting shorties in the garden. With a small urban garden and a love for groundcovers, it can be a way to decorate a ?jewel box garden,? the name my mother fondly calls my space packed with dwarf cultivars and decorative showpieces. The carpet is decorative as it fills in the space but it also allows a few single stunning plants to shine like jewels.Creating garden interest with large boulders and low-growing plants

This striking feature garden, the Tiny Tetons created by , used plant carpeting to create the illusion of the meadow-like setting of Wyoming?s Grand Teton National Park.Creating an illusion with garden plants

Many of the display gardens also created a tapestry of plants intermixed with stone to create a lovely, low-growing landscape without the use of lawn. These photos are from show garden, Discovering Alaska. A variety of plant material, some native to Alaska, were used to create a depiction of a lowland meadow. The use of river stones, boulders, and plants creates artistry through structure.

natural wonders landscape design

Stones and boulders in landscaping

Designer and Plantswoman Susan Calhoun created A World Away on Na Pali Coast, a tropical paradise that was lush and colorful. Susan even did a seminar on carpet gardening. Be sure to visit her website, , for a summary of the talk. Look for Susan?s article, Keeping it Low, in  magazine.A World Away on the Na Pali Coast

Iris and Heuchera

This  and cactus garden shows another version, this time with water-wise landscaping. The garden pictured below, entitled Southwest Serenity, was created by the to showcase warmth and natural beauty in .

Drought tolerant landscape carpet gardening

Back in 2009, I snapped a few more photos from a small urban landscape on a garden tour. I was eager to see lawn replacement options like this, that create a beautiful landscape without all of the water-hogging turf grasses that are a going concern with pests like the . These designs are more wild and organic than the ideas shown in the show gardens and may appeal to home gardeners looking for a relaxed landscape. Whether you are planting in patterns or creating a looser design, the idea remains the same.

Carpet gardening with colorful groundcovers Carpet gardening with groundcovers

Carpet gardening works well on rooftop gardens as well. I spied this oceanview green roof on the East Vancouver Garden Tour a few years ago. A mix of seashells, sedum and other ground covers made for a green space that didn?t take away from the industrial ocean views.
Oceanview drought-tolerant green roof
My own has built in some of the concepts of carpet gardening, with a mix of woolly thyme, tri-color ajuga and winding a path through a kid-friendly garden. This space was designed to be a maximum of 18?-24? in height, but most of the plants are 6?-12? to appeal to my toddler as he cruises through to smell the flowers, pick ground cherries, or touch the bunny tail grasses.

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour (15)

My play garden will be growing in more this year and I plant to work on the groundcovers to create more interest and take these ideas out to some of the other areas of the garden as well.

For more information on plant choices, Susan Calhoun has a great resource list from her seminar which you can see .

Carpet Gardening weaving groundcovers into low-growing art

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You know that feeling of excitement that you get as spring approaches and you know that things (at least in the garden) are changing for the better? Or what about the feeling of accomplishment when the hard work you have put into the garden is showing off gorgeous blooms resplendent in their glory? Or the the feeling of abundance when you harvest the fruits of your labor and sit down to a well-deserved feast? Well wrap all of those up into one and you know how I bubbled over with joy when I got an email from the team at to say that Garden Therapy has been chosen as one of the top 10 gardening blogs for their (out of over 700 nominations!).

I had no idea when I started a blog that someday it would lead to a career as a freelance writer and . I began Garden Therapy in 2009 because I was sick of being sick. I took to the garden to heal from a debilitating illness and shared what I was creating on the pages of a blog in hopes that I could reach out and find others who were doing the same. (You can read more about that journey .)

I did find those others. I met people who were gardening to heal from serious illnesses, those who used the garden to absorb everyday stresses, and everyone in between. And while all of our paths started in a different place, they all led to the garden.

The idea that gardening could touch the lives of others they way it has touched mine, keeps me writing and creating a place for ideas to get anyone?no matter what their experience, space, or ability?outside for a little .

I?m grateful for the friends that I have made in writing this blog, for the readers who take the time to email me or comment with a little piece of their story, and for the who have added so much more to this blog than I ever could have on my own.

Please head over and vote for your favourite blogs. You will absolutely make my day by but go with your heart and vote for the blogs you like best in every category. All of the blogger categories (DIY, decor, food, fashion, and gardening) are in the same contest but if you just want to skip forward to the gardening blogs, then choose the Skip This Category arrow until you reach Gardening:

As you can see, I?m keeping company with some pretty amazing gardening blogs. I?m humbled to be included in this list among the gardeners that admire and follow, some of which I am lucky enough to call friends. If you don?t have them already on your reading list, you will be delighted at the creativity and brilliance that comes through each one of their pages.

You can vote every day from now until March 7th. All of us from the thank you for your support!




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Slough off dry, dead skin with this moisturizing homemade sugar scrub. The lemongrass and ginger scent combination makes for an invigorating aroma that wakes up the mind, while the essential oils work to stimulate muscles and promote circulation, better joint function, and pain relief. Kick start your day with this energizing, healing scrub.

Lemongrass essential oil stimulates circulation as well as healthy joint and tendon function so it?s an invigorating and healing choice for a skin scrub. Its aroma will wake you up but also keep bugs from biting, making it perfect for mosquito season. Lemongrass and ginger oils are great for stimulating digestion, so it can help if you are having tummy trouble as well. With all those great benefits and a yummy aroma, what?s not to love!? If you are interested in adding lemongrass to your herb garden, learn more about .

Ginger essential oil can help relieve muscle tension, backaches, and arthritis pain. This spicy essential oil has some heat to it, which will create a warm tingling sensation. I love the way this feels, but some people don?t like it, so if it?s not for you be sure to try  Both lemongrass and ginger may cause skin irritation in some people, but with 4 drops to 3/4 cup of carrier oil, it is quite diluted. Even my sensitive skin is completely fine with this scrub. It?s best to try a bit on a small area of skin before you go all out with it though!

Be sure to also check out my recipe for for a different energizing scent combination.


Makes 3 jars

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup
  • 3 drops of
  • 1 drop of
  • 1/4 tsp for coloring (optional)

Make it!

In a bowl or large 1 L measuring cup mix together the sugar, oil, essential oils, and turmeric.

Spoon mixture into small jam jars and smooth out top.

Optional: download and print these  to dress them up!






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