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Backyard retreat
Homeowners make over garden 
to raise money for neighborhood

By JOANN PETASCHNICK

July 2006

Lori Sommervold never claimed to have a green thumb, but her backyard garden in the Enderis Park area of Milwaukee is breathtaking all the same.

"I really know nothing about gardening, but the Enderis Park Neighborhood Association was planning to hold a home and garden tour last summer to raise funds for Enderis Park renewal improvements. The association wanted to add a jogging track, swings and a wading pool among other things, so we wanted to help out," says Sommervold, who with her sister, Jodi, owns a 1950s Cape Cod-style home in the neighborhood. The Sommervold house was one of six on the tour, which raised more than $4,500 for park improvements.

The sisters believed they had an impressive yard that possessed much untapped potential. Fortunately, their neighbor and friend Brian Boeding is a landscape architect with Paragon Design Group in Milwaukee. The Sommervold sisters sought his assistance with plans for a redesign of their backyard.

"I didn’t feel particularly confident about my ability to plan a patio or garden," says Sommervold. "Brian was able to design a concept that we fell in love with."

Boeding enlisted the help of Gamroth Landscaping in Allenton to flesh out his plans for the yard. The result is a beautiful and practical patio and yard, complete with curving stone pathways and gardens, with room for outdoor dining, entertaining and relaxing.

"Brian really had a grand vision of what could be done with the yard," says Sommervold. "Now we have beautiful bluestone on the porch, stone pavers leading throughout the yard and individual garden spaces. There is so much to look at."

Redwood fencing surrounds the yard and two large cedar pergolas stand, adorned with brightly colored hanging plants and vines. Birds can take a dip or catch a bite at the birdbaths and feeders interspersed among the gardens. Plants include tall ornamental grasses, mixed in with colorful annuals and perennials that dot the borders along the paths in shades of pink and violet. Ornamental shrubs add height to the border gardens. Hanging sculptures and mobiles sway in the breeze. Urns and vases overflow with ivy and flowers for your gazing pleasure.

The sisters could not be more satisfied with their yard. "We try to add something here and there, but it really is just beautiful. We’re very happy," says Sommervold. "I love to sit outside in the backyard and just enjoy the surroundings."