It is not uncommon for the Carsons to host wedding receptions, church parties and even the occasional performance of “South Pacific” in their eye-popping backyard.

By Matt Bennett

Some Utah County families spend their weekends visiting Yellowstone cabins, St. George golf courses or riding the Heber Creeper. Gary and Jane Carson are essentially able to participate in those activities without leaving their 2.5 acre home site in Highland. The Carsons, along with their eight children, 31 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren­ have created ­­­one of the most creative landscapes along the Wasatch Front. Their home, accompanied by a log home that is used exclusively as a recreational building, is surrounded by more ponds, gazebos, swings, lawns and flowers than one could easily count on the first walk-through. “We’ve had a wonderful time watching friends and family enjoy our home and backyard,” Jane says. “The young kids love the sandbox, swings and treehouse. The teenagers love the ‘bucking barrel,’ putting greens, pool hall and giving the younger kids rides on the train.”


The Carsons are able to practice their putting without leaving their Highland home.


Gardening has always been a favorite past-time of the Carsons. They claim they excel at growing flowers and are “trying to learn how to grow vegetables like potatoes and corn.”



This tepee was used as a changing room during a showing of “South Pacific” in the backyard.


Drivers headed to American Fork Canyon see the train chugging around the front yard.


Gary Carson trimmed a dead pine tree into a 15-foot stump. Later he constructed this treehouse and hoisted it on top of the tree with a crane.


Volleyball is only one of dozens of different activities available to party guests and grandchildren alike in the Carsons’ spacious backyard.


This outhouse, complete with sink and flushing toilet, was constructed in the backyard to accommodate the hundreds of guests the Carsons often entertain.



This “bucking barrel” is popular with teenage visitors to the Carsons.


This spacious log home was originally intended to have a more mountainous setting as its permanent home, not a busy Highland intersection, a mile east of Kohler’s grocery store in Highland.


This room has hosted events from choir practice to UVSC leadership retreats.



The Carsons’ front porch of their log home is equally ideal for a game of grandchildren tag or a heart-to-heart conversation with family members.

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