Sparse deck, lackluster yard spring back to life for Get Your Summer On winners

  • Jill and Don Gross of Roselle are enjoying their new landscaping won in the Daily Herald's Get Your Summer On makeover contest.

    Jill and Don Gross of Roselle are enjoying their new landscaping won in the Daily Herald's Get Your Summer On makeover contest. Photos Courtesy of Dave Pea/DPfotography

  • The Grosses won new patio furnishings from Northwest Metalcraft of Arlington Heights.

    The Grosses won new patio furnishings from Northwest Metalcraft of Arlington Heights.

  • About 20 family members and friends gathered at the family's home in late September for a catered Weber on Wheels party on the Grosses' deck.

    About 20 family members and friends gathered at the family's home in late September for a catered Weber on Wheels party on the Grosses' deck.

  • Landscaping was provided by A Garden Guy Landscaping Inc., one of the contest's sponsors.

    Landscaping was provided by A Garden Guy Landscaping Inc., one of the contest's sponsors.

  • A taupe Tropitone Montreux cushion patio set, which includes a sofa, love seat, swivel action lounger and upholstered bench ottoman and coffee table combo, is valued at $5,100.

    A taupe Tropitone Montreux cushion patio set, which includes a sofa, love seat, swivel action lounger and upholstered bench ottoman and coffee table combo, is valued at $5,100.

  • Lurvey's Garden Center in Des Plaines provided a seven-piece Fold & Store Dining Set with cushions and a cover, valued $1,299.

    Lurvey's Garden Center in Des Plaines provided a seven-piece Fold & Store Dining Set with cushions and a cover, valued $1,299.

  • After winning the Get Your Summer On backyard makeover, the Grosses' deck will now get much more use.

    After winning the Get Your Summer On backyard makeover, the Grosses' deck will now get much more use.

  • The family won a Weber on Wheels catered party.

    The family won a Weber on Wheels catered party.

  • Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

    Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

  • Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

    Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

  • Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

    Another contest sponsor, Weber restaurants, provided a grillmaster and Weber on Wheels catered dinner for the Gross family and their guests.

  • In her entry, Jill Gross wrote that their deck previously was rarely used, despite being large and airy.

    In her entry, Jill Gross wrote that their deck previously was rarely used, despite being large and airy. Courtesy of Gross Family

 
By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted10/14/2018 7:00 AM

For the first time in about five years, Jill and Don Gross of Roselle were recently able to entertain on their spacious outdoor deck.

The winners of the Daily Herald's 2018 Get Your Summer On contest held a gathering of family and friends in late September on their now-beautifully furnished deck in their much-improved and beautifully planted backyard because they won an outdoor furniture/landscaping/party/mosquito treatment package in the contest -- valued at more than $12,500.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Previously, the deck had been furnished with old redwood furniture given to them by Don's parents. But over the 22 years they have lived in their Roselle home, it gradually fell apart until there was nothing left, the Grosses admitted.

"We would go out there with our two grown sons each Thanksgiving to take our Christmas card photo and that was about it," Jill said.

A second-grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Roselle, Jill entered the Daily Herald contest last spring after reading about previous Daily Herald contests and regretting the fact that she hadn't entered.

"Our deck is sad, unused, dreary and empty," she wrote. "Our deck furniture was over 30 years old, and slowly fell apart, piece by piece. The deck itself is large, open and airy."

But, she continued, "To sit out there we have to go into the garage and pull out folding camp chairs, which must then go back into the garage so they are not ruined by rain. When I think about all that, I say to myself, 'Forget it. I'll just sit inside and look out the window.' "

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She also wrote that Don, a quality engineer for Northrop Grumman Corp. in Rolling Meadows, would love a small herb garden and a very comfortable chair that would accommodate his 6-foot-4-inch frame.

Thanks to the contest sponsors, Jill and Don got their hearts' desire. Northwest Metalcraft of Arlington Heights awarded them with a taupe Tropitone Montreux cushion patio set (sofa, love seat, swivel action lounger and upholstered bench ottoman/coffee table combo) valued at $5,100. The large "classy and traditional" chair for Don features a taupe background with subtle purple flowers, Jill said. "It looks heavy but it is easy to move."

Lurvey's Garden Center in Des Plaines provided a seven-piece Fold & Store Dining Set with cushions and a cover (valued $1,299).

"It is great and we are just leaving it set up in the summer. But it would be perfect for a small space because it folds up easily and can be stored away. That is what we will do in the winters," Jill said.

"We also got gift certificates from Lurvey's and I used some of those to buy a huge dark copper urn which we filled with planted flowers and placed in our yard, on top of a large stump," she added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A very-involved overhaul of their backyard landscaping (valued up to $2,500) also took place, courtesy of A Garden Guy Landscaping Inc., owned by Matthew Mlynski.

"Matt was wonderful," Jill said. "Before he could plant anything new, he and his crew had to remove dead bushes and scrub trees that had taken root behind the deck and around the corner. It took them forever to dig all of that out and, of course, it was 90 degrees when they were here, so it was miserable.

"They dug new beds and planted beautiful bushes, perennials and a few annuals," she continued. "They even managed to plant some purple flowers which were the only thing I asked for, wanting them to tie in to the purple flowers on the new lounging chair.

"I was at work much of the time they were here but when I came home, it was like magic had taken place in my yard. I couldn't believe how lovely it was," Jill added. "All I told him was that I would like to have a country cottage feel and I asked for hydrangeas and purple flowers to be part of it. The result was breathtaking."

Jill said the yard project was not stressful.

"I believe in letting people do their jobs and not giving too many directions. They are the experts, after all," she said. "In fact, I think you get more from people when you do that because they enjoy what they are doing and can use materials they might have on hand.

"It all looks so wonderful and I have been working hard to water it faithfully and keep it all alive. We feel so blessed," she said.

Jill and Don also received two mosquito treatments from Mosquito Hunters to prevent an insect invasion of their newly improved yard. The remainder of the treatments in their overall anti-insect prize, valued at $1,000, has been promised for next season.

As the time for their late September party with Weber on Wheels neared, Don power-washed the deck and then they pulled the new furnishings out of their garage, where they had been storing them, and placed them around the deck. They also did some additional landscape improvement themselves in the front of their home.

When it was all done, the result was nirvana for Jill and Don. So they were immensely proud when about 20 family members and friends arrived for a late September barbecue (valued at $2,500), courtesy of Weber on Wheels.

"I had the same approach with Weber as I had with Matt from A Garden Guy. I just let them pick the menu and I know that they enjoyed that. Because we only invited about 20 people, we got fancier food. They prepared steak and shrimp with lots of sides for us and it was delicious!" Jill said.

"And the Weber people seemed to have so much fun talking to our guests. It was a wonderful day," she added.

The $100 gift card provided by Binny's Beverage Depot that was also part of the prize package supplemented the gathering by covering the party beverages.

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