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Backyard Makeover: RYCO Landscaping Helps a Family in Need


Back of house before the makeover

In May of 2011 the Zeeck family of Prospect Heights, Illinois lost their home and everything in it due to a devastating electrical fire. Sadly, this included their beloved dog. It took a year to rebuild while they stayed in a nearby rental home.


While thankful their family is healthy and able to enjoy time together at their new (old) home, they missed entertaining with family and friends on their patio in the cozy backyard that had to be demolished to build the new structure.


The Daily Herald Backyard Makeover to the Rescue


Fast forward to the spring of 2012 when Sharon Zeeck read the Daily Herald was having a “Get Your Summer On” contest – with first prize would be a free backyard makeover. As did other contestants, she shared their story with the Daily Herald in the hopes of being the lucky winner.


How they received the good news is especially interesting. One day Harry was reading the Daily Herald’s Home & Garden section and noticed a landscape sketch said to Sharon, “This would fit with our house perfectly.”


Then he said, “This looks like the back of our house.” And of course in the next moment the couple together realized it was indeed theirs. They were the lucky first prize winners of a complete backyard makeover valued at $20,300.


When Belgard Pavers approached RYCO VP Colin Taheny with the idea of helping to make the Zeeck’s dream a reality, he jumped at the chance. The RYCO team all agreed this was a wonderful opportunity to help a member of one of a community that has supported us over the years.


It Takes a Community


The Zeeck’s are a family of five with two grandsons, so they needed a generous space for outdoor cooking, dining, and play. So, in addition to the main terrace, a secondary patio space was designed with a fire pit, seat wall and pond.  With the additional privacy of new plantings, it will be a great spot to spend an evening sharing stories by the fire while enjoying the relaxing sounds of the nearby waterfall.


Crews working hard on one of the patio spaces

The RYCO family is honored to contribute our expertise to helping this family once again enjoy their new outdoor space where they can enjoy old memories, and make new ones. A big personal thank you to the many employees from RYCO Landscaping who donated their labor to this cause.


We are so lucky to have such great team members!


This backyard makeover would not have been possible without the generous donations and efforts of many companies, including The Daily Herald for putting it all together, Belgard for donating the pavers, Aquascape in St. Charles for the water feature, and NorthWest Lighting and Accents in Mount Prospect for all the lighting. The Solaire grill came from PMA Outdoor Equipment in St. Charles.


Finishing touches included outdoor furniture from Northwest Metalcraft of Arlington Heights and plant materials from Knupper Nursery in Palatine. GFS, Binny’s Beverage Depot, and Two Fat Guys Gourmet Barbecue Sauce also contributed goodies.


The Zeecks celebrating with Colin Taheny after the installation at a open house party.

The job is done and it is time for the Zeeck’s to start enjoying their new outdoor living space. They have already announced a celebration with neighbors and everyone who helped the family this past year, including those of us who contributed to the makeover.


When you have community support, dreams do come true, don’t they?


How to Build a Space for Year Round Outdooor Fun?


The Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wisconsin wanted to provide a gathering place that guests could enjoy during every season. RYCO custom designed a beautifully landscaped brick paver patio featuring a gas log fire pit and a stepped retaining wall to provide additional seating for events. Not only can this space be enjoyed as a gathering area during the spring, summer, and fall months, but in winter, it is used as an ice skating area!