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August 4, 2010

urban outsiders s02.

Jon and Shawn Morehead bought their tiny Brooklyn apartment several years ago, but since then they've had two children. Space is at a premium: The backyard is a wilderness of kids' toys, and there's no place for the adults to hang out. Host Matt James sets about turning the space into a green garden fit for both adults and children.

The neighbourhood is a dream, but the yard is far from idyllic. Plastic toys are scattered about, the lawn is history and the whole space is neglected. It's an unwelcoming place for both kids and adults. Shawn and Jon want an outdoor room where Maddie and Mina can have fun while Mom and Dad relax, thus helping to expand their living space.

Episode 2
Zeina Farha is a single New Yorker with a passion for mid-century modern furniture. Her retro taste has been indulged throughout her home, but the yard is a sad story.
The narrow backyard is a blank slate of dust and not much else, except for the invasive Japanese knotweed that's trying to infiltrate from a neighbor's yard. Plus, there's zero privacy and a terrible view. The ground is hard and compacted, and lots of organic matter are needed before any planting can be done. Host Matt James aims to turn the dusty, dead space into a garden where she can relax and hang out with her friends.

Episode 3
Host Matt James transforms a small Manhattan backyard into a traditional English cottage garden, using natural stone, reclaimed brick and a timber pergola.Jennifer Dondero is a green-thumbed native New Yorker with the tiniest of studio apartments. Her yard is one of her big loves but despite trying to make it beautiful, it's more of a dumping ground for plants than anything else.

Episode 4
Cleve and Megan want the exterior of their recently renovated brownstone to match its modern interior. But their tiny, stark backyard looks more like an alley than a child-friendly garden. The combination of concrete and brick paving is unsteady, and the old wrought-iron fencing atop the crumbling brick wall makes the cramped space feel like a prison. The couple desires a private patio with lush plantings and comfortable outdoor furniture where they can enjoy cups of coffee.

Episode 5
Allan Suarez and fiancée Evelyn Gonzales have a history with their house, Allan has lived there since he was a small child and the garden hasn't been touched since then ! They have recently installed a large deck, meaning the view from above has become just as important as the way it looks from the ground. Using flagstones and traditional plantings, host Matt James brings structure to the yard, making it a formal yet relaxed space that looks great from any direction.

Episode 6
Scott and Susan Smith and their pug, Lola, have just moved into their Brooklyn Heights apartment. It had one major selling point, a basement garden. However, it's cold, grey and lifeless — a million miles away from the couple's designer dreams. Host Matt James uses a combination of handmade Tuscan terracotta tiles, evergreen plants, cream paint and railway ties to create a lush green hideaway that feels light and airy.

Episode 7
Adam and Stephanie Guggenheim have recently had their Spanish-influenced Los Angeles home completely renovated from top to bottom. The work has taken a year and now that it's finished, they have turned their attention to the yard. They want a space, where their two kids can play and they can use to entertain. Host Matt James creates a slick contemporary design with a hint of rustic Spanish.

Episode 8
Kip and Shannon have lived in Pasadena for a few years and although they love their home, the garden is a complete L-shaped disaster. The lack of lush greenery and comfortable seating keeps the home owners from enjoying their small piece of real estate. Kip and Shannon yearn for a respite where they can enjoy a cup of coffee and read the morning paper. Host Matt James uses a combination of classy tiles and rustic willow screening to turn this forgotten place into a classy yet comfortable space.

Episode 9
An awkward, rectangular-shaped backyard has left the home-owners wondering what to do with the space. After initial attempts to fix up their yard failed, the space became a barren area they don't use except as a place to let their dog run. Truc and Jae were married at a Japanese garden and would like to bring Asian elements into the space. However, the architecture of their house poses a challenge because it doesn't fit in with the Asian theme. So Matt must try to fuse components of a traditional Japanese garden with the California-style surroundings.

Episode 10
An overwhelming expanse of concrete combined with the lack of grass plagues this tired backyard. The homeowners want to take advantage of the yard's large space to host dinner parties of up to 20 people. They also want a low-maintenance retreat where they can unwind at the end of the workday and enjoy the cool Los Angeles weather. With the exception of a healthy lemon tree, Matt has a blank canvas to work with to create his masterpiece in this backyard. The new garden will be the perfect blend of a retreat with entertaining space.

Episode 11
Gerry Cornell leads a very busy life in Long Beach and has remodelled his home into a chic, cool urban hangout. However, he ran out of inspiration when he got to his back patio. Starving for plants but not wanting for hardscape, this backyard is nothing more than a shaded concrete pad. Gerry has understated, minimalistic tastes that are reflected in his home's interior, and he wants to bring that style outdoors in the new garden. Because space is rather limited at this California pad, the home-owner wants to make the most of this outdoor area for entertaining and relaxing.

Episode 12
Patti Olmsted is a busy fast-food executive that spends most of her life on the road between business meetings. The garden has been left to suffer; in fact, it's been left to go to ruin. Matt creates a cool yard where Patti can relax and unwind; he fills it with plants that won't suffer too much if she is away on business.

Episode 13
Newly-weds Matt and Michelle Turner have lived in their cute, trendy Venice home for three years. They love the house and the neighbourhood, but they hate the garden. Host Matt James combines a distinctive fence with lots of tropical plants to create a front-yard sanctuary. An old chain-link fence, a tired lawn and an unimaginative concrete path provide little interest or privacy for the front yard. Although an overgrown hedge blocks the view and sounds of the busy park next door, Matt and Michelle would like new tropical plants that are better suited to the diminutive size of their California garden. Having recently remodelled their home's interior, the home-owners want a garden that matches their funky and contemporary style.

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