Attractive Accessibility: Bobcat’s Backyard Makeover

Julie Rummer now has her dream backyard after winning the Bobcat contest.




Julie Rummer of Turlock, CA now has her dream backyard thanks to the Bobcat backyard makeover contest. Last Summer, it was announced that Rummer had won the contest, which awarded a $25,000 backyard makeover using Bobcat equipment.

Rummer survived a car crash in 1995 that left her paralyzed as a quadriplegic and dependent on a power wheelchair. An avid gardener, Rummer loved to spend time in her backyard, but navigating loose, dusty soil and thorny vegetation in her backyard became a challenge. She described the yard as an “eyesore, a big disaster” and an “embarrassment.”

Winning the contest has completely transformed her backyard into a wheelchair-accessible “paradise,” according to Rummer’s husband Rich. With the help of Bobcat and the use of equipment from local dealer Bobcat Central, Inc., as well as the work of area contractors and friends and family, Julie’s dreams became a reality. The overgrown and compact backyard is now an accessible and aesthetic space for the Rummer family.

“I just feel happy; it’s a happy place to be,” she said about her new backyard. “I can’t even shut the curtains at night, the backyard is so beautiful. Having complete access to nature and my garden is freedom.”

The Construction

Rummer’s project was kicked off by using a Bobcat skid-steer loader to prepare the area, as well as the demolish and remove an existing patio. This made room for a new ramp that the Rummers needed for their back door. Tree removal, relocation, and planting was done by HIS Tree Service and concrete work preparations by Ultimate Concrete.

Then came Bobcat Central with a Bobcat MT100 mini track loader to complete work in the fenced-in area. Crews installed concrete paths, which was preferred for accessibility rather than stone pathways or a patio.

The finished landscaping includes a water and irrigation system, new drought-tolerant plants, and compost and fertilizer. New cedar mulch was placed to prevent weeds and hold moisture during the summer. After additional lighting, a fire pit, sound system, and other items were installed, the job was done.backyard

“The team at Bobcat is thrilled that we could help Julie achieve her dream of a wheelchair-accessible backyard with room to garden, entertain, and get away,” said Laura Ness Owens, Doosan Bobcat vice president of brand and marketing. “Bobcat exists to empower people to accomplish more, and this is a perfect example of doing just that. We hope others are inspired by this transformation and recognize the potential in their own outdoor spaces.”

Creating Backyard Accessibility

Backyard accessibility involves creating an environment where everyone can move around safely and comfortably, whether using a wheelchair, a walker, or walking. For Rummer’s backyard, Bobcat and the project contractors incorporated the following key design elements to create an accessible outdoor living space:

  • Clear Obstructions: Create a clear path from the house to the patio or garden. The path should be free of obstacles. Level the ground to remove any major slopes, hole, or rocks. Use a compact loader with a landplane to level and grade.
  • Build a Ramp: Accessing the backyard can be challenging for people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility. In addition, yards also may have uneven terrain, making them difficult or even impossible to navigate. However, by adding a ramp, it is possible to make backyards more accessible.backyard
  • Accessible Patio: It is crucial to ensure the patio or deck is level and has enough space for a wheelchair to maneuver with no obstacles. The minimum width for a wheelchair to turn around is five feet.
  • Provide Gardening Elements and Levels at Different Heights: Create raised garden beds, install planters, and use trellises to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. Consider a water irrigation system to make gardening convenient.
  • Add Amenities: Consider incorporating lighting in the backyard, firepits and sound systems to add additional amenities and ways to enjoy the outdoors.Backyard Makeover

A Team Effort

When Rummer submitted her contest application, she did not have her hopes up. However, when her story was chosen as a finalist entry, her community rallied to show support and help Rummer win the grand prize.

“I appreciate everyone’s vote and everybody who picked up a shovel or lent a hand clearing, shredding, spreading,” Rummer said. “Every day can be a challenge for me, but the kindness, love, and support from everyone during this process just fills my heart. So, thank you, Bobcat, for empowering me and making my backyard dream come true.”

Bobcat Installs Stationary Fuel Cells

The units at Bobcat’s Bismarck and Gwinner manufacturing facilities are the first commercial installations in North Dakota.

In line with its goals to reduce the company’s environmental impact, Bobcat Company has installed 14 stationary, natural gas-powered fuel cells at two of its manufacturing facilities in North Dakota. The fuel cell units, from HyAxiom, Inc., will operate in parallel with the commercial power grid while carving a pathway to decarbonization by producing clean energy for the facilities’ operations.

The three fuel cells at Bobcat’s Bismarck facility and the 11 units at the company’s Gwinner location are the first commercial installations of stationary fuel cells in North Dakota. The recently commissioned fuel cells allow West Fargo, ND-based Bobcat to diversify its energy sources by supplying a majority of the annual power and heat needs of the Bismarck facility, and about half the needs of the Gwinner facility.

Bobcat fuel cells
Bobcat’s fuel cells supply a majority of the annual power and heat needs of its Bismarck, ND facility, and about half the needs of its Gwinner, ND facility.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of sustainable energy solutions with the installation of these new stationary fuel cells,” said Mike Ballweber, president, Doosan Bobcat North America. “This is just one example of our commitment to advancing our facilities today for a better tomorrow.”

The project is owned and operated by DESA Service LLC, a subsidiary of Doosan Energy Solutions America Inc.

“HyAxiom’s stationary fuel cell solutions provide efficient combined heat and power that will help Bobcat improve its operations and continue innovating for the smart job site of the future,” said David Alonso, chief commercial officer at HyAxiom.

In Bismarck, Bobcat is able to provide power back to the grid as a registered power producer. This reduces the demand on Bismarck energy providers and ensures there is enough power on the grid. Thanks to the useable heat produced by the fuel cells, Bobcat has also been able to reduce its overall energy use by eliminating two boilers previously required to produce heat on its paint line.


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