Front yard fun
Exterior decorating the Yellowknife way

Tracy Kovalench
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 07/98) - From gravel to grass, plastic to fibreglass, the areas surrounding many Yellowknifers' homes are as distinct as the buildings they live in.

A short growing season may have forced newly erected homes in the Frame Lake South area to settle with a front yard view of sticks and stones, but with next summer just 10 months away, exterior enthusiasts may want to start planning their plants now.

Famed Yellowknife gardener Stan Hutyra has spent the last four decades turning his front yard into a magnificent masterpiece as well as a successful food source.

Broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes help form a garden kaleidoscope, divided by columns of colorful flowers.

"What I know now, I've learned by my own mistakes," says Hutyra, who hopes to give amateurs a 40-year boost into the Northern gardening scene with an appearance on the national program Canadian Gardener Sunday morning.

Heading North to the downtown core, novices in front yard novelties need look no further than the land of Faith Embleton.

"You should always put a bench beside your door to make people feel welcome," says Embleton, who takes her entertaining hospitality to much greater lengths.

Embleton's front yard is the home to about a dozen pigs. Frolicking on the front lawn, digging in her flower garden or lounging under a tree in a polka-dot bikini, the pigs can be found in all shapes and sizes, your choice of wooden, plastic or cardboard.

"I think they're fun," says Embleton, who has been collecting the creatures for about six years.

In addition to her boarish buddies, Embleton's yard is also the host to plastic pelicans, blue jays, frogs and the little mermaid. Four bird houses and a bird bath also invite feathery folk of the warm-blooded kind onto the land which she has deemed the Fairfeather Inn.

Preferring a life-size fibreglass polar bear to little piggly wigglies, Les Rocher shares Embleton's desire for decor. In addition to the bear, which he purchased from the owner of a mini golf course, Rocher also has a life-size mermaid statue looking out from his yard to face the shores of Great Slave Lake.

"It's something different," says Rocher. "The kids like it."