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Article updated: 5/5/2013 2:36 PM

Outdoor makeover week 1: Can blank canvas be a masterpiece?

The Kendall family would like to enhance their yard with a small pond, a fireplace to gather around in cooler weather and a lovely garden to brighten the otherwise empty space.

The Kendall family would like to enhance their yard with a small pond, a fireplace to gather around in cooler weather and a lovely garden to brighten the otherwise empty space.

 

Courtesy of Jenny Kendall

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

 

Courtesy of RYCO Design Group

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

 

Courtesy of RYCO Design Group

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

RYCO Design Group would add a patio space with seatwall using Belgard pavers, a firepit, small water feature and colorful plantings.

 

Courtesy of RYCO Design Group

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By Jenny Kendall of Palatine

Two years ago in late June, my family moved into our new home. Our previous home was on a creek and in a flood plain that often wiped out my modest attempts at gardening. I was excited that our new backyard was clearly a blank canvas waiting to be enhanced by a small pond, a fireplace to gather around in cooler weather and a lovely garden to brighten the otherwise empty space. After a 100-year storm flooded many of the homes in the area, the first summer in our new home was spent cleaning up and repairing our basement. The following year I helped to care for my terminally ill sister who sadly passed away in October. Now we are preparing for our third summer in our home and my desire for a beautiful, functional space in which to entertain and just hang out and relax this summer is even greater still. I saw the yards that were beautifully transformed in your contest last year and realize my ambitious plan may be out of my realm of thinking. I would love the opportunity for an expert eye to take this blank canvas and make it into a masterpiece that can be enjoyed by many -- at family gatherings, cookouts with friends, book club meetings, or my teenagers just hanging out with their friends. Whether or not our yard is selected, I look forward to seeing and being inspired by the beautiful designs your team creates. Thank you for your consideration.

Transformation by RYCO Design Group

Budget: $10,000+

This started out as a blank canvas. The homeowners had a sad concrete patio, a few trees and some patchy lawn. They are looking for a space to entertain, enjoy a water feature and colorful plants.

Recommendations:

• New patio spaces and seatwall for extra seating using Belgard pavers. Also the addition of a firepit to enjoy the landscape into the evening.

• Small water feature next to patio area to listen and watch the soothing sound of water after a hard day of work.

• Colorful plantings to soften the new hardscape areas. Plants chosen should give four seasons of color to enjoy something different all year round.

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