Thursday, May 13, 2010

May Mayhem II -- the Sequel

Yard Crashers!

There is a program on the DIY network that I have really enjoyed watching on Sunday afternoons (while designing something) called "Yard Crashers".  What a great show, and what a truly great premise for a show!

The fact that it is on the DIY network (the "Do-It-Yourself network") and has a premise that people who are quite possibly fledgling away at their own landscape improvement projects might benefit significantly from the aid of a true team of professionals is an awesome thing to see. 

The "client prospects" are found drifting through their local supply stores, with the look of bewilderment as they try to piece together their own landscape projects.  They often have very lofty ambitions and are maybe are even off to a respectable and decent start, but they just seem to have gotten into a rut or have more than they might be able to handle as a "weekend warrior". 

These people are stalked and accosted by the host, Ahmed Hassan, who is a great character as he amusingly trails these people and practically begs them for his help.  Whether these people are "in-tune" with the actual premise of the show or not, I am not sure. From my experience with "Curb Appeal" on HGTV in 2007, there might be just a hint of premeditated (or post-scripted) story built into it.  But is seems like the real deal, where these people finally succumb to the idea that they need help and invite him (and the camera crew) over for a look.

Upon arrival, he gets the tour and clues them in that he has an arsenal of talent and production crew ready to full-on attack their project with aggressive landscaping, at no expense to them.  By which, these people are surprised and are "like... okay, go for it!" with a lot of amusing banter from the host.  Ahmed really does a nice job with this role and is a seemingly knowledgeable and engaging character with the client subjects, and does have some spot-on information that he provides them with as they look over the project and what could lie ahead for them.

So, the premise then starts to merge into the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" scenario where a large team of designers, contractors, installers, vendors, etc. shows up the next day (or what is supposed to be the next day) and brings them out of the house bright and early to overwhelm them with the great design ideas, and a load of talent and workforce in store for them on their project. 

The designs seem utilitarian but do contain a lot of creativity, and are seemingly largely embellished versions of what the homeowner had set out to do, but were floundering away with it.  Again, it is a great premise that can often echo what goes on in the "real world" and does seem to be a very genuine conversation and presentation for the client.

The team gets ready and the commences with the construction, with skid loaders and shovels flying everywhere, much like Extreme Home Makeover. However, Ahmed, the host, constantly walks side-by-side with the clients, and sets them up with all sorts of "tasks" to do throughout the project.  The clients are digging holes, installing base, splitting block, screeding sand, running a table saw, screwing fasteners into a pergola, or whatever it takes to help the production team, while the host acts as their "personal trainer" through the process.  He is almost like a trainer at the gym setting them up to do their third set of bench press, or is a chef running a cooking class with them or something, and does a very nice job with it.

Then, as they proceed to their get bulk materials delivered to them (for free) from Unilock Pavers, or a from the local appliance store, or from a lumber yard, he builds incentives into the situation for them, like "well, if you help out with the installation of these pavers, then we will give you the new stainless steel grill that goes on top of it, which is in this box right here," as he continues motivate the client into getting the project done in a short amount of time.  Whether it truly is "two days" or not remains to be realistic, but it does seem to happen in a short duration of time.

Again, it is a really good premise for a show, and does show the "DIY" landscaper or "weekend warrior" that if you do get the assistance of a professional designer and professional installation team, then you will get way more than you ever could imagine, or would manage to complete yourself.  It shows that landscaping has all kinds of technical aspects to it that could best be put in professional hands....And best of all, in the end, you will be enormously much happier with the results once they are completed..

It might just be one of my new favorite shows and fits in very nicely as a Sunday afternoon lead-in to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which is still such a great show for a family to sit down and watch (while I am designing something), in my opinion.  I love the philanthropic side to that show, the community support, the generosity of the builders and vendors who participate, and the hero that is inside of the people who are seeing their problems abated by a new home, and some of their wildest dreams become a reality in the form of really amazing design ideas.  It is a show that hopefully will stand the test of time and carry-on for years to come.

Anyway, one key quote from Ahmed Hassan that I took from a recent episode of "Yard Crashers" is this:  "There is only one rule when it comes to landscaping in the rain..... Don't Do it!".

Very sound advice, my friend.  I have tried to explain this to several impatient clients in the past, but not so effectively.  There is such a thing as "collateral damage" in landscaping, where you make a more of a mess than what you actually improve.  That is the hidden beast in this profession from time to time.  Unfortunately, it has been raining a lot  lately here and that is probably the best rule to live by.... for a little while, at least.  Those graduation parties aren't going to be postponed, however.

The point is, if you are reading this... please hire a professional designer, such as us at Landscape Design Studios, to make the very most of your project.  And, please be patient if we get a lot of rain and have to wait it out for a little while.

Here are snapshots of a few designs that I have been afforded by all of the rain:

Best of Luck!


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