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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Here Are Chicago’s Best Bungalow Gardens, As Picked By 3,700 Voters

"It’s our little sanctuary," said Irving Park resident Michelle Weiner, who won for this year’s rear/side garden category.

Irving Park resident Michelle Weiner won for this year’s rear/side garden category.
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IRVING PARK — Growing up in Chicago apartment buildings, Michelle Weiner always wanted a garden to call her own.

So when she moved into a single-family home in Irving Park, she tore out the garage and got to work creating the backyard of her dreams.

Weiner’s Wrigley Field-themed garden, complete with an ivy-covered brick wall, won this year’s best rear or side garden category in the third annual Bungalow Garden Contest organized by the Chicago Bungalow Association.

“I was born and raised all over the North Side in apartment buildings, and the only time I ever got to go in our yards was to take out the garbage. So for me to have my own little oasis was a big life goal,” she said. 

Irving Park resident Michelle Weiner won for this year’s rear/side garden category.

It feels great to be recognized for the work she put in to create her “own little sanctuary,” Weiner said.

“It’s a pretty modest space compared to other gardens I’ve seen in Chicago,” she said. “But it was lovely to be recognized and all my friends and family were super excited too.” 

More than 3,700 people voted in this year’s online contest. A total of 99 bungalow owners entered in three categories: front garden, rear/side garden and window/planter boxes.

Chicago Bungalow Association staffers narrowed it down to three top gardens in each category and put the contestants’ photos online for a vote in late July.

The winner in each category got a $250 cash prize from the Bungalow Association, a handcrafted wood planter donated by Craeft and a $50 gift certificate from City Grange.

Homeowners who submitted a Bungalow Garden Contest entry were entered into a giveaway to win one of five rain barrels donated by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Here are the other winners:

Front Gardens

Andrew & Lindsay McKone of West Ridge are first-time homeowners and gardeners. They removed large pine trees that covered their bungalow’s façade and replaced them with a low-maintenance garden.

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Andrew & Lindsay McKone won in the Front Gardens category.

Window/Planter Boxes

Venus & Juan Rodriguez of Hermosa ran out of room to plant in their front yard. So they arranged a variety of planters to bring the garden up to their front porch.

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Venus & Juan Rodriguez won in the Window/Planter boxes category.

For more information on the contest, click here.

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