Rear/Side Gardens

Voting is now closed but you can still view our top 10 submissions. The winner of this category will be announced on our Facebook and Instagram on August 2, and an email announcement will follow.

1. Rose Blouin, Chatham


“My back yard garden includes a pond I built which received a Driehaus Foundation Bungalow Award. My garden also includes a variety of amenities including a hammock, picnic table, fire pit, deck, garden bench, patio table and chairs and several beds of flowering plants. I've used my original bathroom sink as a garden planter and there are no fences on either side of my yard which gives it an ‘open space’ atmosphere.”

2. Rhea Coleman​, Avalon Park

“I’ve lived in my bungalow since 1985. I didn’t garden back then, allergies kept me from trying. Thanks to Claritin and a neighbor I began planting seeds and rescuing ‘clearance’ plants. I now use my EarthBoxes to experiment with blooms that have not worked in my soil and I’m loving the dahlias, nasturtiums, and zinnias which are emerging this year."

3. Ev​e Fineman, Albany Park


“The concept for this garden focuses on variety, of texture, color and height. Contrasts between multiple varieties of sedum groundcover and tall variegated grasses lend drama to a small backyard space. Blooms occur throughout the summer adding pops of bright color against the green textures.”

4. Maureen Geoghegan, Portage Park

“Bungalow-friendly gardens featuring mostly native perennials, designed for maximum impact with minimal maintenance. Side: transformed ‘traditional’ yew patch into welcoming feature garden. Back: woodland retreat designed to thrive in the shade of a 50-year-old spruce. Carved out sunny space for raised vegetable beds.”

5. Tommie Harris​, Beverly


“My backyard is vibrant and lush with a variation of perennials and annuals, with Day Lilies that grow wild and crazy and border the rear. The hostas add multi colors of green to the rear sidewalls. The center is a cluster of ferns, canna, elephant ears, and marigolds with heights of 1’ to 8’ that stretch the length of the yard. The center patio has elephant ears, and various herbs border the deck.”

6. Kristin Huysken, Albany Park

“When we purchased our bungalow, it had an all-grass yard with a hedge of overgrown juniper bushes. Our goal was to have a place to sit, color in every season, little to no watering, and native/sustainable attractions for the insects and birds. We have since added an herb garden and vegetable patch.”

7. Deborah Lust, Edison Park

“In 1999, our back yard was solid grass. We designed the beds, incorporated plants saved from our old house, and laid a stone path and patio ourselves. Today, our back yard corner lot garden invites conversation with neighbors heading to or from the train or park, but it also provides privacy. Many of the plants have special meaning to us and from April through October, there is always something in bloom.”

8. Nettie Parks, Avalon Park

“My garden was inspired by my dad who taught me at a young age to appreciate and respect nature. I set out to create an oasis that would not only attract bees, butterflies, and birds, but would also be a peaceful and relaxing place for neighbors and friends.”

9. Maureen Volini, Edgewater

“There are several different areas to explore in our small bungalow back yard—from having dinner under the pergola in the rear of the garden, to relaxing with a glass of wine on the swing built by Mike, to having morning coffee on the patio by the back stairs. Just perfect!"

10. Michelle Weiner, Irving Park

“With plenty of parking on our street, we decided to tear down our crumbling garage and build outdoor rooms and pathways. We love our pergola, deck and ivy-covered ‘outfield’ wall where we painted the number of feet from home plate at Wrigley Field to our house. It’s our summer living room, dining room and home office, as well as a bird-watching spot full of low-maintenance perennials. Never a second of regret over losing the garage!”


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