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posted: 5/27/2012 1:00 AM

Backyard makeover Week 4: Bowes Bend backyard blues

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  • An unsafe deck was torn down three years ago, but life got in the way of replacing it with something that would help the family of seven enjoy the backyard.

      An unsafe deck was torn down three years ago, but life got in the way of replacing it with something that would help the family of seven enjoy the backyard.

  • A copper fire pit would add warmth and atmosphere to summer evenings.

      A copper fire pit would add warmth and atmosphere to summer evenings.

  • A patio could be created using crushed stone, above, or flagstone.

      A patio could be created using crushed stone, above, or flagstone.

  • A patio could be created using crushed stone or flagstone, above, with grass joints.

      A patio could be created using crushed stone or flagstone, above, with grass joints.

  • A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

      A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

  • A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

      A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

  • A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

      A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

  • Adirondack chairs would be a finishing touch on the transformation.

      Adirondack chairs would be a finishing touch on the transformation.

  • A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

      A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

  • A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

      A mixture of plantings -- flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses -- would round out a new patio.

 
By Karlene Fleming of Elgin

My boys were home from college for spring break when I snapped this shot of our pitiful back yard. When we bought this home three years ago, we immediately tore down the deck as it was falling down and completely unsafe. We planned to put in a cement patio, but something else always came up.

The boys were enjoying their favorite homecoming meal -- cheeseburgers and chips. It would be so great to have a beautiful patio and table to have family dinners this summer. We are a blended family with five children. The oldest boys are in college, the two girls are seniors in high school and our youngest boy is a freshman in high school. When we all have dinner together there are seven but we always seem to have more with boyfriends and girlfriends. Having a casual, relaxing backyard is important to the whole family.

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Please help us with a backyard makeover!

What the experts at Lurvey Garden Center recommend, on a budget of $5,000 to $10,000:

The backyard was quite uneven and contained no hardscape, grass, or plantings of any sort. The yard had rocks and other debris and lacked structure of any sort.

This transformation could include a new wooden staircase down to a crushed stone or flagstone patio with grass joints. The rest of the yard could be planted up with a mixture of flowering shrubs, evergreens, perennials and ornamental grasses, and a tree could be added to shade the new patio. The remainder of the yard could be sodded with Lurvey Select Kentucky bluegrass Sod. To finish off the transformation, an Oxford Garden dining table, copper fire pit and a pair of Adirondack chairs would be added.

Beginning May 6, through June 3, the Daily Herald is publishing 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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