Linda and Gary Sonner are the recipients of 22nd Spirit of Union Award

Linda and Gary Sonner received the 2016 Spirit of Union Award.

The Sonners have lived at 32 Laurelgrove Drive in Union since 1981 – for more than 35 years. They have raised two sons here where they have seen their family and neighborhood grow, mature and prosper. Their grown sons now have families of their own and also live in Union.

Instead of downsizing or moving on, the Sonners have evolved with their community and lifestyle. Several years ago, they designed a new look for the front of their ranch-style home: a welcoming entry that blends architectural elements of America’s prairie past.

Their front and back yards also are nods to many landscape aesthetics and plantings indigenous to the region: trees, shrubs and flowers that blend beautifully into a southwest Ohio landscape.

The backyard has been transformed into a retreat, complete with a covered patio, tall grass plantings for privacy and a serene goldfish pond with water lilies.

“Working in our yard and on our home is our retreat,” Mrs. Sonner said. “We like to try different things.”

Mr. Sonner enjoys wood-working; he made the trellis, birdhouse, butterfly house, storage shed and patio cover that are now part of the property.

Mrs. Sonner’s love of flowers was inherited from her mother, she said.

“I like all kinds of flowers: purple and yellow cone flowers, phlox, daisies, hydrangeas,” she said.

Many of the plantings also include such wild flowers as bee balm and prairie dock as the couple loves to attract birds and butterflies to their yard. The colors for these plantings peak in July. She also favors hostas, lilac bushes and Rose of Sharon shrubs.

The Sonners located in Union because of the Northmont School District and they thought Union would be a nice place to raise their sons.

“We’ve always enjoyed living here and have great neighbors,” she said.

The Park Board established the Spirit of Union Award in 1997 to encourage exterior enhancements of residential and business properties. More information about the City’s Spirit of Union Award can be found on the City’s website at