Horticulturist Matt James, previously seen in The City Gardener, crosses the Atlantic to work his magic for members of the public.
Steve Thompson and Richard Andreoli recently moved to their small home in Echo Park and inherited a backyard in desperate need of some imagination. The space was a horrifying mix of purple walls and lime-green splashes, more psychedelic than classy. Matt James takes on this space with a vengeance, going for a Mediterranean look with a modern twist that will create the entertaining space the guys are after. It’s not all plain sailing–the California weather is refusing to play ball, going from baking sun to pouring rain and then back again. With Matt more used to the mild weather of London, he finds himself bedridden with sunstroke while the build continues without him.
Architect Jamie and attorney Alexis Myer are busy young professionals with a very noisy neighbour—LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world. Their daunting backyard looks more like a field than a garden and they harbour dreams of a water-saving space where they can also grow veggies. Host Matt James uses all his garden knowledge to create a garden with a real wow factor that saves water and doesn’t cost them a lot.
Host Matt James is pushed to the limit trying to inject a bit of Tinseltown chic into this problematic backyard. Using bricks and paving, the Tracys have tried to transform their long, narrow yard into a paradise. These attempts have been unsuccessful, however, and Blumes admits he would rather “stick needles in his eyes” than have guests see it. The couple has ambitious demands: one wants a firepit while the other desires a water feature. They want their garden to be an oasis and an extension of their home.
Ex-Marines Jason and Renee Tatum purchased their newly-built home a year ago. They chose everything from the window trims to the floors, but when it came to the outside, they ran out of dollars and ideas. What they’d love to have is a place where they can relax after work and find some solace, and Renee would especially like it to be spa-like. She likes the large brick wall that surrounds it, so Matt needs to preserve the brick-wall look while still providing focal points and greenery to break up its massiveness.
Busy Venice bachelor Tom Moyer has always dreamt of a space where he can get away from it all. However, his awkwardly-shaped yard is overgrown with dying plants and is divided into three very separate areas. With a lot of sweat and hard work, host Matt James and his team open up the space by using natural stone to tie all the areas together.
Soon to be married, Nicole Tran and Peter Chang are happy with their Huntington Beach love nest but the back patio is a real heart-breaker. It’s a mixture of mud and tired decking that doesn’t fit with their designer dreams. With a combination of clever lighting, scented plants and towering trees, host Matt James completely transforms the space,
Todd and Liz Hallet live in the trendy district of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Their recently-constructed apartment building is sleek and stylish testament to contemporary city living, but the roof terrace is a concrete catastrophe. The interior of their home is effortlessly chic and now it’s time to reflect their impeccable taste outdoors. They long for a clean contemporary garden with abundant plantings where they can relax high above the hustle and bustle of the city below. Host Matt James transforms this dull, colourless terrace into a smart sky scraping sanctuary, proving with roof spaces the sky really can be the limit.
Five years ago, Jeff and Jennifer Lederman bought their beautiful Brooklyn brownstone to escape the manic Manhattan life. However, their dream of quality family time hasn’t been realized because of their overgrown, ramshackle yard. Host Matt James transforms the mess into a stylish, multifunctional space where the adults can relax and entertain and their daughter, Shira, can play safely in a child-friendly garden.
New York party girl Caliopie Georgiadis recently brought her dream home in Brooklyn, but there is just one nightmare left lurking out back. Her concrete box of a backyard. After moving from the hub of Manhattan to a more chilled-out Brooklyn, city girl Caliopie is longing for somewhere to relax or party with friends. Although she wants a minimalist yard, the current concrete box that is her yard has been referred to by friends as a prison exercise yard! Matt’s challenge is to come up with a design that softens the harsh space and is manageable for this first-time gardener. His plan is to use the concrete as a subbase for a stylish cedar deck and keep the planting simple with bamboo and easy-maintenance perennials.
The Wagners are living the all-American suburban dream in the heart of urban Brooklyn, but their backyard is anything but a haven from the surrounding hustle and bustle. For over half a decade, Helayne and Leslie have let their once children’s playground become an overgrown jungle. This once tranquil and tidy yard where the kids used to play has become a redundant overgrown mess. Now that they’re grown, they no longer use it, and the garden has fallen into disrepair. Finally after five years of looking out on this jungle, parents Helayne and Leslie have called in Matt to reclaim their yard for more grown-up uses. The home owners want to be able to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and relax at home with their family.
After a lifetime of looking out on the same old yard, Jacqui Powell and her son Maurice decide it’s time for a change. Their Brooklyn brownstone has been handed down from generation to generation, and although the interior of the building has been transported into the 21st century, the backyard is trapped in a time warp. Host Matt James works his magic to create a garden bursting with bright plants, while remaining on a tight budget. The new plan includes three principle areas: a large patio made from existing bluestone for entertaining, a lawn for the children to play on and a stone circle where the family can relax at the end of a long day.
Basia Grocholski and Douglas Friedmutter have set up home in the fashionable neighbourhood of Williamsburg, N.Y. Together they have set up a successful graphic design business that they run from the basement of their condo. With little space to escape from each other, living and working together can quickly turn from a dream into a nightmare. They are both mad about Tuscany, where Douglas proposed and long to be able to step out into Italian-inspired backyard. Matt James uses authentic clay bricks and overflowing Mediterranean plantings to transform the yard with a little touch of Tuscany. A concrete condo and patchy lawn are two challenges he faces when redesigning this couple’s backyard. How will he create a Tuscan garden while still adhering to the condominium’s design?
City creatives William Crow and Philip Kain live in a small but perfectly-formed apartment in one of New York’s most desirable districts, the Upper East Side. However, their backyard is dark and dingy. After a failed attempt by William and Philip to create a Spanish courtyard, the yard is shambles full of broken pavers, flaky paint and clutter. After stripping the garden back to basics, Matt James sets about implementing his design of a hideaway from the hectic city. To tame the clutter in this space, an under stairs storage area will be built. Matt will create a lush getaway with an ambient jungle feel. By keeping the centre of the yard wide-open and uncluttered, the space will be very versatile.
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