Church leaders and members began planting trees and shrubs in the area soon after their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley in hopes of fulfilling Isaiah’s vision that “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1
). By the 1890s, a greenhouse was erected on Temple Square to grow flowers and shrubs that could be placed around the square. Temple architect Joseph Don Carlos Young designed a landscape in the 1880s that reflected popular landscape designs of the late nineteenth century.
Subsequent generations of Temple Square gardeners left their own mark. Gardeners in the 1940s planted trees from all over the world—most notably, a cedar of Lebanon near the east gate to Temple Square. Gardeners in the 1970s replaced more formal planting designs with a greater variety of plants and colors throughout the gardens to bring a greater informality to the design. Several large water features were added in the 1960s and 1970s. While historically a road ran through the center of Temple Square, when the Main Street Plaza was created, it unified the entire Church campus so the gardens would run uninterrupted through two blocks. The Church Office Building plaza is currently undergoing a renovation project to beautify the grounds and direct attention to the Salt Lake Temple.
With over 3 million people visiting Temple Square each year, the gardens are an important part of the experience. They serve as a visual experience and can help provide a feeling of refuge.
Employees and volunteers help maintain the gardens and transition the landscapes for each growing season.
The grounds are open for walking and viewing on your own. The gardens on the Conference Center roof are available for personal or group tours.