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Article posted: 6/2/2013 6:00 AM

Outdoor makeover contest Week 5: Bottom of the barrel


Being at the low point of our entire neighborhood, rain and snow cascade into what used to be what we like to call "the great room."

Our small 1,200-square-foot house gets crowded with a family of four and two dogs. After long Chicago winters we love being able to open the sliding doors to our very spacious backyard, or "great room," but recently it seems as if a plague has diseased our haven.

We have always dealt with the backyard flooding, so much so that the ducks swim in our yard every spring. And although we love animals, ducks included, it is just another reminder that WE can't enjoy our backyard ... at least someone is.

Our backyard used to be a place where we could entertain and lay in the sun. Grass won't grow, no matter how much we tend to it, even after taking down a tree that blocked sunlight. The deck has more than a few holes in it, and the enjoyment of a backyard itself has been lost for some time now.

Our two dogs, one 16-year-old who can barely get off the deck, and a 2-year-old who loves to run, have suffered as well from this pit of mud. And, unfortunately running around in our yard means a very long and tedious fight to clean off paws.

We love to entertain, we even put a gate in the fence between us and our neighbors for easy access to our "great room." In addition to our neighbors, we have many friends wondering when our next barbecue will be. Hopefully with the help of the Daily Herald we can tell them it isn't far away! Thank you for considering us for the backyard makeover.

Transformation by Northwest Metalcraft of Arlington Heights

BUDGET: About $2,000

This collection, called Malibu, by North Cape International, is ideal for a family looking to create a "great room" in their backyard. This furniture is made to be outside year-round and is ideal for entertaining because it provides plenty of seating. It's made from synthetic wicker and will not rust.

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