Voices

Valley yard 1 of 8 on Spokane in Bloom tour

It began as a simple desire to add a water feature to the backyard. Almost 2,600 pounds of cement later, a beautiful pyramid reached toward the sky, in the shade of tall pines, conifers and a volunteer sumac. And then the water feature grew into a koi pond, with a circulating waterfall and a little bridge from where to watch the fish.

Linda and Kevin Fairhurst’s amazing garden just off University Road, on 35th Avenue in Spokane Valley, hides behind a typical 1970s style house on a very typical Spokane Valley street, but there are many reasons why it’s part of the Spokane in Bloom garden tour that’s being put on this Saturday by the Inland Empire Gardeners.

“We’ve been on the tour before,” said Kevin Fairhurst, standing next to one of the many stepping stones the couple has received as garden awards. Kevin Fairhurst has turned the stepping stones into Asian-inspired garden sculptures, which line the entry to the backyard. “It’s a little intimidating and sometimes, as it gets closer, we ask ourselves why on earth we said yes?”

They both smile.

“We both like to be part of the tour,” said Linda Fairhurst, “especially now when we know what to expect.”

It’s obvious from the beautiful layout of the yard, the creative combination of plant colors and textures, garden art and water, that the Fairhursts are dedicated and experienced gardeners – yet they struggle with some of the same issues any other gardener faces: how to keep the bishop’s weed runners from creeping under the fence into the neighbor’s yard and the occasional dog-related yellow stain off the grass.

The Fairhursts moved into what they said used to be “the ugliest house on the block” a week before the big ice storm in 1996. In 2003, they began transforming the relatively empty backyard into the tree-filled oasis they have today.

“The dogs keep losing their lawn,” said Linda Fairhurst, laughing. “So yes, we are running a little bit out of space.”

The garden has a definite Asian flair with many Japanese maple trees, including a peaches and cream variety, right by the entrance to the backyard.

“According to Kevin, you can’t have too many trees and you can’t have too many rocks,” Linda Fairhurst said. She loves the weeping trees including the Blue Atlas Cedars and Norway spruces.

They haven’t had much luck with roses but grow a large variety of ornamental grasses, ferns and hostas.

This is not a big backyard by any means, yet it seems roomier because of the way sitting areas have been built into the landscaping and the now-tall trees.

“We move stuff around a lot, until we find a place where that plant is happy,” Kevin Fairhurst said. “Nothing is right until it’s been moved at least three times.”

He adds that he hopes tourgoers find inspiration in his and other yards on the tour.

“You can’t just take something from this yard and copy it in your own yard,” Kevin Fairhurst said. “Don’t plagiarize, but get ideas for your own space – that’s what the tour is all about.”



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