Alpine Gardens

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Alpine gardens are designed with plants that grow in high mountain elevations around the world. Due to harsh growing conditions and a short growing season,  these plants are slow growing,  and have a low and compact growth habit.  Most alpine plants are suitable for rock gardens and can be planted at lower elevations. 

Tips for Designing an Alpine Garden

  • Group plants in patches to create a more natural look 
  • Repeat color, texture, or form throughout the garden to create unity
  • If possible, observe how plants grow in their natural habitat
  • Visit demonstration gardens in your area for ideas

wildflowers in a mountain meadow


alpine plants in foreground frame a mountain view

A native high elevation meadow blooming at about 9,000 feet in Northern Utah. Photo credit: Susan Buffler


An alpine garden in the mountains of Switzerland features plants from around the world. Photo credit: Brian Rosen Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rocky stairsteps planted with alpine flowers



Alpine demonstration garden. Photo credit: La Cita Vitta Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Additional Resources:

Selection and Culture of Landscape Plants in Utah
Mountain Plants of Northeastern Utah
North American Rock Garden Society
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens



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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.