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posted: 5/18/2014 1:01 AM

Time for dreams to grow

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  • Kate Anderson of Hanover Park is looking for some help with her forgotten backyard.

      Kate Anderson of Hanover Park is looking for some help with her forgotten backyard.

  • A patio with a fire pit makes the backyard inviting for friends to gather.

      A patio with a fire pit makes the backyard inviting for friends to gather.

  • RYCO Landscaping suggests adding some trees to increase the shade, making the backyard more inviting.

      RYCO Landscaping suggests adding some trees to increase the shade, making the backyard more inviting.

 
By Kate Anderson of Hanover Park

You can see from the picture I need to be the winner of the Get Your Summer On contest. Twenty-four years ago I moved in as a happy family with husband and kids with dreams of building a deck, doing some nice landscaping and being able to have family and friends over and entertain during the warm months out back. Well, things did not go as planned. I ended up raising the kids on my own, we were able to stay in the house but never got to fulfill the dream of the deck, landscaping flowers, plants, nice patio furniture, etc. due to lack of money. The timbers are 24 years old, the patio set is a hand-me-down from my parents as well as any of the plants and the yard you can see is bumpy and has brown spots. Oh, I really hope you're able to tell from the panoramic picture that my yard needs serious help! Please make my dream come true.

Transformation by RYCO Landscaping and RYCO Design Group

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Budget: $10,000+

From the experts

Navigating life while raising her children, our homeowner never had the time or money to invest in the backyard renovations she had dreamed of decades ago. Now, a barren rear lawn and an exposed house are reminders that this dream has gone unfulfulled for too long. With very few plantings to soften the architecture and frame views from the landscape or interior, the space is not inviting. Exaserbating the stark feel, the rear of the home faces south and this portion of the landscape, without a tree in sight, must be quite forbidding on a hot summer's day.

• Patio. A seating area big enough to gather a few friends around a fire or to sit quietly reading, enjoying a warm summer breeze.

• PLANTS! Now that you've got a place to sit outside, it needs to feel better than sitting inside on your couch. With a southern exposure, shade is key in those months when you're likely to want to be outside. Spend more to get some specimen trees immediately surrounding your seating area and you won't have to wait for spindly twigs to grow into shade-giving canopies.

• Build shade. Including a pergola is a relatively inexpensive way to gain shade without building an enclosed porch. Vines can be trained to grow up the structure to provide even more shade, flowers, or even fruit!

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