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posted: 5/13/2012 6:00 AM

Backyard makeover Week 2: Yard needs an attitude adjustment

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  • This backyard is the scene of many neighborhood gatherings, but the small patio makes for some crowded conditions.

      This backyard is the scene of many neighborhood gatherings, but the small patio makes for some crowded conditions.

  • A new deck with LED lighting will have the Elk Grove Village family partying with friends and family well into the night.

      A new deck with LED lighting will have the Elk Grove Village family partying with friends and family well into the night.

  • NorthWest Electrical Supply.

      NorthWest Electrical Supply.

 
By Melissa Meier of Elk Grove Village

We'd love our yard to be as fun as the people who use it.

Instead our yard says, "Take a number ... no more room on the patio." As soon as it gets a little bit warm, we are out in the backyard almost every night. Problem is our patio is so small, people have fallen off of it trying to join the party. We love our neighbors and love to entertain. A bigger patio and a little pizazz would go a long way!

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There would be much rejoicing from our boys who love to roast marshmallows by the fire. Our neighbors could hang with us and not worry about being squeezed over the edge. A summer enjoying the company of all your friends and family in an inviting new yard. Sounds like heaven to me!

The NorthWest Electrical Supply experts recommend, with a budget of $2,000:

With a landscape and exterior lighting makeover, plus added design elements, this backyard has the makings of an extraordinary gathering space. Our in-house landscape designers created a plan using up-lighting and down-lighting on existing trees to bring depth and interest to the space after dark (B). We suggest adding trees and landscaping to the lot line to create privacy, and illuminating these features with accent lighting for dramatic focal points (A, C). Accent lighting under the new deck railing, step lights showing the way from the deck to yard, and task lighting for nighttime grilling completes the well-lit picture (D, E). We recommend using LED lighting because it's energy efficient, easy to install and low maintenance.

From May 6 through June 3, the Daily Herald will publish finalists in our Get Your Summer On backyard makeover contest. Two winners will be chosen and they will receive prize packages valued at about $15,000. Winners will be featured in Home & Garden on June 10. To see more backyard makeover ideas, special web page at www.dailyherald.com/entlife/homegarden/summer.

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