flexiblefullpage - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Backyard Bliss

billboard -

Backyard Bliss

A Chicagoland remodeler turns his bland backyard into an outdoor oasis

By By Kaitlin Schuler October 26, 2018
remodeler in chicagoland turns his backyard into oasis
This article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Standing on the deck of this 100-year-old Sears kit home in Elmhurst, Ill., it’s easy to forget you’re only 30 minutes from Chicago. That’s precisely what Larry Rych, president of Imperial Kitchens and Baths, wanted when he and his wife began drafting plans for their multilevel dream deck, a labor of love that took more than two years to complete.

The 600-square-foot, tri-level deck creates ample space for relaxation, entertaining, and dining. Mixing covered and uncovered spaces allows for enjoyment of the space regardless of unpredictable Midwestern weather conditions. 

The deck opens to a grassy yard and expertly cultivated garden to the south, and over a handcrafted brook to the west. The 14-foot span covered by the bridge over that brook posed one of the biggest challenges. Using lumber would require supports large enough to obstruct the views of the brook from the house, so Rych substituted 4-foot-long steel I-beams clad in cedar. 

“The brook is what brings my blood pressure down in the evening and helps me start my day in calm,” says Rych. “I wanted to get it right.” 

In order to blend the backyard design with the rest of the home, Rych replicated, on each level of the deck, the white columns found on the front of the house. His son-in-law refers to this space as the “porchopolis,” thanks to the Grecian feel of the columns and glulam beams. Azek PVC trim and column wrap was used to eliminate the need for further maintenance. Rych selected open rafters rather than a full covering to give the area definition while maintaining a sense of spaciousness. 

The cracked blue glass fire pit has 6-inch-tall tempered glass screens that can be put up to block a strong breeze or keep curious grandchildren safe.

To avoid visual clutter, Rych selected L-shaped cedar benches to pull double duty as comfortable seating and hidden storage space.

written by

Kaitlin Schuler

Kaitlin Schuler is the special projects editor for Pro Remodeler. 

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

    This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Related Stories

AnotherStory: Revamping the Second-Story Addition

An architect and remodeler are marketing a new method for completing second-story additions

How to Replace a Window (Part 2)

This time it’s in a fat wall wrapped with a housewrap air barrier and exterior rigid insulation

To Vent or Not to Vent a Home?

The Model ReModel 2022 remodeler must make a decision for the net-zero accessory dwelling unit

3 Pro Tips for Insulating Foundation

Symbi Homes builds and remodels green from the ground up at the Model ReModel 2022 project, the Regeneration House

How to Replace a Window in a Fat Wall (Part 1)

Jobsite Know-How details how to install a window... again. This time it’s in a fat wall wrapped with an air barrier and exterior rigid insulation

Using XPS to Insulate Foundation

Symbi Homes plans to achieve several green certifications for its remodel of a 19th-century Victorian, our Model ReModel 2022 project.

Retrofit Push Benefits Remodelers

Energy-efficient retrofits are an opportunity for the industry

Siding Restoration on a Historic Home: Part 1

In order to give our Model ReModel 2022, a 19th-century Victorian, a proper facelift, the Symbi Homes team opted to repaint in a new palette. The age of the home required a specific approach to manage lead paint and historical requirements.

300,000 Home Improvement DIYers Went to the ER in 2020

A new report finds homeowner's risk for injury during DIY projects.

boombox1 -
native1 -

More in Category

native2 -
halfpage1 -