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posted: 5/20/2012 1:57 AM

Backyard makeover contest Week 3: Help me reach my potential

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  • A garage for an apartment complex along the back border makes it challenging to enjoy the backyard.

      A garage for an apartment complex along the back border makes it challenging to enjoy the backyard.

  • A good screening plan for a yard includes layering in evergreens along the back, and adding flowering shrubs in front of that.

      A good screening plan for a yard includes layering in evergreens along the back, and adding flowering shrubs in front of that.

  • A decorative birdbath will complete the look.

      A decorative birdbath will complete the look.

  • A decorative bench will complete the look after screening with plantings.

      A decorative bench will complete the look after screening with plantings.

  • A good screening plan for a yard includes layering in evergreens along the back, and adding flowering shrubs in front of that.

      A good screening plan for a yard includes layering in evergreens along the back, and adding flowering shrubs in front of that.

 
By Joan DuPre of Naperville

All I could say is WOW, this is the contest I've been waiting for! Please help my unskilled owners spruce me up so that I can reach my full potential as an awesome family-and-friends gathering place! Right now I have a very lonely existence. The fun always seems to stop at the kitchen door. Folks close the door, turn away, never to set foot on my grass. Please help my owners to block the garage that overshadows my existence!

What the experts at Knupper Nursery in Palatine suggest, on a budget of $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the amount and size of the trees purchased:

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This backyard has so much potential! A large, open lawn area off the patio is bordered at the back by a parking garage for an apartment complex. We chose to focus on hiding the garage wall by adding a layered backdrop to the far end of the yard.

Screening the garage wall in this yard is like layering a cake. Start with a back row of evergreens, such as blue spruce and white pines -- as big and as wide as you can afford. Plant in a slightly staggered row. Next, layer some flowering shrubs. Dwarf Korean lilacs and Cayuga viburnum add width and color, further screening the garage area. Plant in groups between the evergreens. The last layer is the shortest: day lilies or short ornamental grasses to bring the focal point at the edge closer to the ground. A decorative bath or birdbath complete the look.

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