Revisiting Dreamscape 2014: Steve Williams and David Jesse

By: Nalee vang, Communications Intern

In our last “Revisiting” blog post, we had the opportunity to follow up with the 2013 Dreamscape winner, the Akron Rotary Camp. Don’t miss out on that blog post; read it now!

In 2014, lucky homeowners, Steve Williams and David Jesse, won the Dreamscape raffle, which allows the winner to have the landscape makeover of their dreams worth over $10,000! Craig Graf and Lisa Graf of Graf Growers Garden Center and Landscaping were the lead landscapers. Many renovations were done including planting trees and flowers, light fixtures and installation of a maintenance-free fence and a pergola. For details of the whole process, read “Dreamscape Makeover Provided Finishing Touches to West Akron Home“.


The results were amazing, and seeing the transformation through photos really showed how much work was put into this Dreamscape makeover. We wondered how Steve and David have been keeping up with their exciting change, so we did some catching up of our own with Steve:

Nalee Vang: What was your initial reaction after finding out that you won the Dreamscape Makeover?
Steve Williams: Well, first, [was] shocked.  We absolutely never thought we would be the winners! Then, our thoughts turned into what we would change in our yard now that we had the chance.

NV: The transformation in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture was beautiful. What was your favorite part of the makeover?  
SW: Working with Grafs to design the space and then watching the transformation unfold. It was amazing to watch the craftsmanship that the crew from each firm brought to the project.

KAB-Dreamscape-DrawingNV: How has the makeover changed your home?  
SW: We now have this amazing outdoor living space. We spend more time outside, when the weather permits, relaxing, enjoying the space and entertaining.

NV: Has there been any challenges keeping up with the renovations?  
SW: Well, once the renovation was underway, we realized we would need furniture for the space as well!  Thankfully, we found some wonderful pieces that give it the feel of an outdoor living room, which complimented our existing patio area perfectly.

NV: Looking back at the whole process, what are some reflections or thoughts you have that you want to share with us?
SW: The staff of Keep Akron Beautiful were wonderful and did a very good job of keeping us informed about what would happen along the way.

NV: Were you pleased with the results?
SW: Absolutely!  We could not be more pleased with the outcome.

NV: What is some advice for future winners?
SW: Be prepared for A LOT of change in a very short time!  It can seem overwhelming at times, but hang in there, because the end result is SO worth it!

NV: Would you recommend purchasing a ticket for the Dreamscape Makeover?
SW: Most certainly.  By purchasing a ticket, you help continue the excellent work being done to beautify our community at Keep Akron Beautiful.  Winning was just a bonus!


The Dreamscape Makeover Raffle is Keep Akron Beautiful’s annual fundraiser that was developed 12 years ago to help support our public land beautification program, Flowerscape. We are so happy that Steve and David enjoyed their Dreamscape experience with us! Now, you have a chance to win your very own Dreamscape Makeover too! Purchase a ticket now!

Revisiting Dreamscape 2013: Akron Rotary Camp

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Spring has sprung, which could mean many things here at KAB: clean-up projects, volunteer programs and fundraisers. One event, in particular, involves an ultimate outdoor makeover. For 11 years, the Dreamscape Makeover Raffle has served as our annual fundraiser to support our public land beautification program, Flowerscape. Valued at $10,000, the lucky winner of this raffle receives a front or back yard makeover professionally designed by talented local landscapers.

Dream01In 2013, Ivette Immormino of Rocky River drew the winning ticket but transferred the prize back to the KAB Board of Directors and ultimately to the Akron Rotary Camp at Rex Lake. Running the camp for emotionally and physically challenged children is camp director, Dan Reynolds. At the time, the camp was just finishing up their capital campaign renovations, making it the perfect timing for an outdoor makeover! The gateway at the Akron Rotary Camp

dreamscape 2013went from a grassy, dirt drainage ditch to a large flower bed planted with annuals and perennials, outlined by landscaping rocks to improve the water runoff issue at the camp. Topsoil and compost were donated and blown into the beds and after prepping the two large new planting beds and crews from a canoe rack with lumber were donated by National Industrial Lumber Company. The canoe rack served a larger purpose of freeing up the picnic tables in the pavilion at the camp, which were housing the canoes when not in use. Now, the children can safely put the canoes away and launch the canoes from a new beach the crews added. Lead landscaper was Nick Roth of Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLC, who transformed the camp into a more functional, accessible environment. You can find more details on the makeover here.

Recently, we got in touch with Dan to talk about the Akron Rotary Camp’s Dreamscape experience and what it’s like today:

Nalee Vang: What was your initial reaction after finding out that you won the Dreamscape Makeover?
Dan Reynolds:
We were extremely grateful!  As a grassroots nonprofit in the community, we put most of our resources into serving our kids.

NV: It was really cool to see the transformation in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.  What was your favorite part of the makeover?
DR: The best part of our makeover was creating some functional spaces for our campers.  Our new boating area not only looks good but works well too.

NV: How has the makeover changed the Akron Rotary Camp?
The makeover happened at the tail end of our capital campaign renovations. We had some great new indoor spaces for our campers but the area that was made-over was very overgrown.  Now, we look great inside and out!  Most importantly, we have another accessible area at camp where we can work with our campers to help them accomplish something that they never thought they could do or would have the opportunity to do.

Dream02NV: Has there been any challenges keeping up with the renovations?
DR: Most of the areas are low maintenance and have required little TLC.  With the help of volunteers, we are able to mulch and sand our dreamscape design annually.

NV: How was the reaction from the kids and/or staff after revealing the makeover?
Everyone loved it!  Our campers are always so happy to see something new and different at camp. The staff is always grateful when we make accommodations that can help make their jobs easier.

NV: Looking back at the whole process, what are some reflections or thoughts you have that you want to share with us? Were you pleased with the results?
We are very pleased with the results and have identified future areas for the next Dreamscape. I just really want to thank Keep Akron Beautiful and all of the volunteers that made the project possible.  I know it is a big commitment every year to do a yard make-over but it means so much to the property owners and in our case, our campers, staff and camp volunteers.  It’s a shot of self-esteem and pride.

NV: What is some advice for future winners? Would you recommend purchasing a ticket to for the Dreamscape Makeover?
Of course, everyone should buy a ticket for a chance to win – no matter where you live! Advice to future winners: have fun and enjoy the process.  Have an idea for what you want to fix up or change and then let the designers work their magic. It’s a blast!

Dream03It was so much fun to have worked with the Akron Rotary Camp in 2013 on their well-deserved Dreamscape makeover. Here at KAB, we are thrilled to see the kids enjoying camp after the big transformation! Remember, this could be you!

Buy your tickets to enter the drawing for your very own Dreamscape makeover NOW!

More Winter Gardening Seminars Coming Your Way

By: Nalee Vang,  Communications Intern

Our wonderful Dreamscape Vendor Partners are still at it with their winter gardening seminars. If the winter’s got you down, they can lift you right up with gardening tips to get you ready for spring! Who wouldn’t want to think spring?! Check out the list of upcoming seminars below!


Located at 1015 White Pond Drive, Graf Grower’s will present a series of winter gardening seminars on Saturday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m. until approx. 11:30 a.m. Seminar costs are $12/person. Enrollment is limited & registration is preferred, walk-ins are welcome. To register, call 330.836.2727 or go online at Upcoming seminars include:

February 21st, Container Beauty: Peppers and Palms Among the Petunias
Speaker: Dr. Mark Miller, Education Manager at Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens In Columbus, Ohio
Ready to spice your container gardens with a plant other than geraniums?! Craving a look that is different and will WOW everyone that stops or drives by? We’ll learn how to add tropical plants to container gardens that’ll add interest and beauty all summer long.

February 28th, Add Excitement & Value to your Outdoor Living Oasis
Speaker: Graf’s Landscape & Design Experts
Need to freshen up your patio or front porch, but are having reservations about the investment? Craving new ideas to revamp your current outdoor space, but aren’t sure where to being? Join our Landscape & Design experts as they give you new ideas and techniques that will add both beauty and value to your outdoor living areas.


FREE garden seminars are held every Saturday this month at 11 AM. All of the seminars are located at their Garden Center (937 E. Waterloo Road in Akron). You must register for the seminars by calling 330.724.0550, ext. 110. The following presentations are planned:

February 21,“Seed Starting Basics” – Speaker: Lee Paulson, Master Gardener. Whether you start out with a few seeds or go big with dozens of trays, Lee has some great tips and techniques from his many years of experience. Stating plants from seed is economical, fun for the family, and a great way to get a jump on the season.

February 28, “Beekeeping in an Urban Environment” Speaker: Geoff Westerfield, Summit County Beekeepers Association. Many people don’t realize they have beekeepers close by, even in the city. Geoff covers beekeeping facts, shows some of the equipment, and discusses some of the challenges of urban beekeeping. You’ll be able to try some local urban honey, too.



Located at 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road, Dayton Nurseries will present the following seminars which will begin at 11 a.m. and usually last about two hours. The cost is $10, or $6 for garden club members. Dayton will provide coffee, tea and a light lunch at no additional cost. Seating is limited to 70. To signup, call 330.825.3320 or email

February 21, 52 Weeks of Bloom and Color – It Can Be Done!Speaker: Michelle Riley, All About You Landscape Design. Did you know there is something blooming with interest each week of the year?  Even in the winter? Join us for 52 weeks of bloom and interest and discover new ideas to enhance your landscape gardens appeal!  Colorful power point presentation included.

February 28, Mums The Word Speaker: Bill Aulenbach. Barberton’s annual Mum Fest is a wonder to the eye! Secrets about Barberton’s Mum Fest and tips on how to grow and over-winter better garden mums will be discussed by Bill Aulenbach, a member of Barberton Beautification who has worked with chrysanthemums for Yoder Brothers (now Aris Horticulture) for 58 years.

Thank you to our friends at Graf’s, Donzell’s and Dayton Nurseries for being a part of our Dreamscape team! We hope you can make it out to these seminars and get excited for spring. Check back for more updates on March seminars!

Dreamscape 2014

By: Genevieve Bohnak, The University of Akron Intern

KAB-Dreamscape Drawing

Pictured above are KAB Board of Directors, volunteers, and KAB staff members before drawing.

Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) held their annual Dreamscape event at the Alexander Park on West Market Street in Akron on Thursday June 5, 2014. The event started at 10:30 a.m. where top ticket seller Kimberly Haws-Falasco of Robert W. Baird & Co. drew the winning ticket. The 2014 grand prized winners were Steve Williams and David Jesse of West Akron who won a professional designed front or backyard makeover valued at $10,000.

The Dreamscape ticket sales supports the 33 year-old public land beautification program, Flowerscape, which plants and maintain 34 Flowerscape sites in the city of Akron. Raffle tickets were sold for $25 a piece or 5 for $100 to Summit County residences and businesses. For the first time in eleven years, KAB sold all 1,500 tickets which raised approximately $36,000. Tickets were sold at our five vendors: Dayton Nurseries, Inc., Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center, Graf Growers Garden Center, Paul’s Greenhouse, and Suncrest Gardens.

Steve Williams and David Jesse will work with our lead landscape makeover designers of eleven year, Lisa and Craig Graf, of Graf Growers Garden Center, to create a design for the landscape transformation blitz that will take place August 4-8, 2014.


Runner-up winners received donated prizes by Dreamscapes’ generous Vendor Partners:

1st Runner-up: J. Nelson of Akron will have his choice of mulch blown into landscaped beds by TerraScape Ltd., owned by Mike Clar.

2nd Runner-up: Bradley Bowers of Akron will receive a bird bath donated by Suncrest Gardens.

3rd Runner-up: Chastity Duskey will receive will receive a $100 gift basket of gardening supplies donated by Graf Growers.


Eric Jones, KAB Board of Directors, and KAB Board Chairman Captain Dan Zampelli were also awarded two hanging baskets donated by Graf Growers for selling the most tickets.


The Dreamscape Raffle 2014 was sponsored by SummaCare, Inc. and the following Vendor Partners, not mentioned above, offering goods and services for the August 2014 landscape makeover:

Apex  ElectricBelgard ® SalesCascade LightingCircle KEarth’ n Wood

Gates Landscape Company

Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc.

Main Street Gourmet

Miller’s Party Rental


Naragon IrrigationNick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLCPam’s Perennial Plant FarmPepsi Beverages CompanyR.G. Thomas Landscape & Design, Inc.

Star Printing Co., Inc.

Tim’s Custom Electric

Vision Graphics & Printing

Wilson Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

YES Press Printing Co.