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Article posted: 5/26/2013 5:00 AM

Outdoor makeover contest Week 4: Dreaming of a natural retreat

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Our backyard is the reason we bought our house. It backs up to a meditation meadow that provides a sense of peace and opportunities to observe wildlife in the middle of the suburbs. Little did we know that we would need to dedicate our available time and money into rehabbing the house. Our backyard has remained only an opportunity to dream and plan. What we have been able to do is develop an understanding of the landscape. Next to the meadow is a water retention area. We would love to create either a dry creek bed that would occasionally run with water or a pond that would fit in with the meadow. This would provide a natural retreat -- a place to continue our summer dreaming.

Transformation by RYCO Design Group of South Barrington

Budget: $2,000-$5,000

The homeowners purchased this house because of the incredible meditation meadow the backyard backs up to. Rehabbing the house became a priority, so working in the backyard is something they have only dreamed about. They would love a dry stream bed to help with drainage and to create a natural area for wildlife.

Add a planting bed off existing patio encorporating existing tree to add some color and texture near the patio area.

Add dry creek bed through planting bed to help with drainage and tie into the natural area.

Add bench with steppingstone path to offer a place to sit and enjoy the new space.

Add a bird bath in the planting bed to add to the natural vignette the homeowners can view from the house.

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