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Rooted in the Wood River Valley

The beauty of the Wood River Valley is undeniable. Mountains, rivers and lakes spread out in all directions. But spend some time here and it becomes clear you don’t have to venture deep into the Sawtooth Wilderness to find spectacular natural settings. In this part of Idaho, the homes and their surrounding property offer impressive landscapes as well. This is thanks in no small part to the crew at Sun Valley Garden Center.

The Sun Valley Garden Center is well established and has been around for nearly four decades. In 1980, Jan and Mike Turzian opened the first full-service garden center in the Valley. “They started with an F-150 pick-up, a small John Deere tractor, and a couple flats of flowers,” says current owner, Bryce Turzian.

“Relationships are the biggest part of our business. Without strong relationships with our employees, clients, local architects and builders we would not be where we are today.”
–Bryce Turzian, Owner, Sun Valley Garden Center

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Things have changed in the years since then. “Our retail operation has five acres of nursery stock in Bellevue, Idaho, and is operated year-round. As we gear up for spring, we have hundreds of trees and shrubs that are delivered from all over the western U.S. The garden center also offers a beautiful gift shop for that special gift or new home décor. In addition to the retail aspect, the Sun Valley Garden Center also offers full landscape construction and maintenance services,” adds Bryce.

If your landscaping ambitions are high, the team at the Sun Valley Garden Center are good people to know. As Bryce shares, “Our landscaping services range anywhere from small backyard plantings to new multi-family landscape projects. Hardscape, water features…we can help with any aspect related to outdoor living.”

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“Our landscaping services range anywhere from small backyard plantings to new multi-family landscape projects. Hardscape, water features…we can help with any aspect related to outdoor living.”
–Bryce Turzian, Owner, Sun Valley Garden Center

The company’s long-running history is a large part of its success. It is the avenue to their deep accumulation of knowledge and the foundation of strong relationships. When you talk to Bryce, you understand that these personal connections are extremely important. “Relationships are the biggest part of our business. Without strong relationships with our employees, clients, local architects, and builders, we would not be where we are today. We live in a small town and respect and loyalty are key attributes to keeping strong relationships. These relationships don’t start and stop during business hours,” he explains. “My relationships with many of the people I work with stretches well beyond the job. The ability to work with friends and people you enjoy being around and respect is what makes this job fun.”

Bryce continues, “We’ve created strong partnerships with contractors and architects throughout the Valley. We’ve built a lot of trust and a continuity, knowing what to expect from each other and being able to communicate on like terms has helped the success of many of our projects.”

This not only leads to better working environments but also to creating special projects. “Landscapes are becoming less of a yard and more about unique, individual, and useful spaces. Landscapes are now designed to draw you out of the house and provide spaces for social interaction while at the same time, encouraging enjoyment of nature,” says Bryce.

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Being outside is something that attracts most people to this part of the world, but as we all know, it can also be a harsh place. Contending with the elements of an alpine environment is one of the challenges Bryce and his team have learned to deal with. It’s one thing to create an inviting outdoor space, but quite another to build one that will survive 200” of snow and bounce back the following spring.

There are elements of design as well as considerations of the viability of what you’re planting. “We focus on things that will work and survive. We try and be up front if someone specifies something different; we let them know there’s a risk. Although we focus on stocking items that we know will work, we are also eager to find and experiment with new plant material. Growers have begun to better understand our needs over the years. There has been a lot of progress with growing new plant material that meets our demands. An example of this would be upright dwarf pines. These have helped us provide year-round screening while at the same time protect our fantastic views of the mountains,” explains Bryce.

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There are also issues of a plant’s impact beyond just the client’s yard. Bryce considers them all when involved with a project. He says, “We have a big concern for wildlife. Protecting our plants from the wildlife and the wildlife from our plants is a struggle in our area. We do the best to recommend products that work for each of us. Our recommendations consider whether it works in our area and for our true natives.”

It’s this deep concern for the land, the people, and doing the right thing that has led the Sun Valley Garden Center to go to the extra measure of hand-selecting and personally visiting their growers each and every year. “We have had relationships with many of these growers for over 30 years. We purchase nursery stock from Montana, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Colorado,” he says.

“Having a long relationship with these growers gives us a lot of trust in knowing what to expect from them.,” says Bryce.

In addition to new varieties in nursery stock there is also a wave of discoveries in hardscape products. “Natural stone and concrete pavers have come a long way in the past 10 years. The boundaries and possibilities have become limitless. Many of the older landscapes were built with what was local and available. There were primarily two types of local stone and a small selection of pavers. Clients want something new, something fresh,” says Bryce. “The market understands this and has adapted. Stone is now coming from as far away as India and being fabricated in any imaginable dimension. Because of this, hardscape projects are much more integrated and inspiring. It’s fun to have someone look at a certain detail and be baffled as to how it could have possibly been built.”

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“It’s a small town and being able to be a part of it and contribute to its appearance and health is a joy”.
–Bryce Turzian, Owner, Sun Valley Garden Center

“When Bryce talks about relationships, it is a comprehensive approach. After visiting growers and selecting each tree, it could be argued that he has a personal relationship with everything involved in the entire operation.

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It’s easy to get Bryce talking about the exciting projects the Sun Valley Garden Center is involved with throughout the Valley, but what’s even easier is to get him talking about people. The people he works with. The people he works for. The people who work for him. He sees it all as a communal effort—people coming together to create harmonious spaces in this amazing part of the world.

Bryce sums it up by saying, “It’s a small town and being able to be a part of it and contribute to its appearance and health is a joy.”