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Thread: City Gardener on HGTV

  1. #61
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    Urban Outsiders premieres at 9:30pm

    just flipping this up to the top to remind folks this show is on.
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  2. #62
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    Comments on the premiere ep - Urban Spa

    That you God, I can now have my weekly dose of Matt James. Matt is in America to do a 26 ep series similiar to hid City Gardener show in the UK.

    We are in California and helping out a young couple who just moved into their first home, a townhouse with a micro mini back yard full of mud and some nice brick and concrete walls. I honestly did not think you could have a yard that small in America.



    The only difference between UO and CG is that we don't know how much the garden cost, although I am pretty sure this show follows the same format as CG and the home owner provides the cash.

    Matt does a blueprint and its funny to see the couples reaction. The UK folks tend to be a bit more vocal about the plans and interacting with Matt. Still I do like how Matt tries to tie in textures and colors from inside the house to the patio. He mentions that the tile floor in the kitchen is his inspiraton for the tile he uses for the patio. He set the patio on a diagonal to make the space seem larger. What is so funny in this sunny California episode is all the rain that happens. I like Matt's comment that 'sunny California' reminds him a lot of 'rainy England'. The other great piece is when Matt's plant order arrives and he realizes that America really is the land of the Supersize. He is amazed over how large the plantings are. Its a good thing the supplier took back part of the order. Matt did place in 2 nice floating benches and hide the AC unit. My only concern is that the AC screen is too close to the AC unit and may restrict airflow. I know because that's the conversation I had the AC guy last yr when I had to cut down some of my plants that were way too close to the unit. In fact most AC techs recommend that you have a clearance of at least 2 or 3 ft around the unit for purposes of air circulation. Regardless, I wish that I had that garden.




    Last edited by Bearcata; 07-13-2006 at 11:22 PM.
    No goat killers on my island.

  3. #63
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    7/19/06 - LAX garden - save the water

    Still in California, near LAX (Los Angeles Airport), a young couple who are interested in plants, gardening and saving water, and want to turn there desolate backyard of weeds and dirt into a desert oasis.

    I must say I was surprised at the size of the yard. I read the requirements as far as yard size for this show, I was interested in applying but my backyard is too big and this one is way big. Maybe they didn't have enough candidates in the LA area. Anyway the couple wants a low maintenance yard, that they can entertain in, relax in and raise some vegetables as well as be ecologically friendly all done on a samll budget. Oh and keep all the trees.



    Matt draws up a plan a of course the couple is concerned about all the stone and gravel. It's times like this the magic mantra must be said: "Trust your designer" over and over again.

    Again concerns arise when an 18 wheel flatbed arrives with stone and 6 tons of gravel. Even worse its 6 tons of the wrong kind of gravel. The company can't take back the bad gravel and Matt uses it as an underbed for the good gravel. Yes, another 6 tons of the good gravel is delivered. See it all fits in very nicely in the backyard that's how large it is. One of the best parts of this show is watching one of the homeowener use a bobcat to level the backyard. Did you know you can rent a bobcat for $200 a day? You can do some serious damage to your backyard with that. Anyway it takes a week to put in the stone and gravel and plantings and build 2 railroad tie vegetable beds, but as always Matt does a wonderful job.







    note the compost bins in the background.
    No goat killers on my island.

  4. #64
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    7/26/06 - West Hollywood

    Ah, we are back to a small backyard, last weeks huge backyard had me worried there. Welcome to West Hollywood and Blumes and Jennifer Tracy's house. It's Maroon siding with a tan trim. The backyard is very narrow and runs the length of the house with very narrow access on both sides. The yard can't be more then 10 or 12 ft wide. There are 2 nice french doors that lead to concrete steps painted the same tan color as the trim and 2 steps high. There is a 6 ft wooden fence on one side a white concrete brick fence on the other side and a beigey pink back wall that is probably 10 ft high. The Traceys attempted to put in a brick patio and have some lawn furniture out but it looks pretty patetic.



    Matt decides to use large pieces of flag stone for most of the hardscape. He will also use gravel in one corner and on the access paths on both sides of the house. He and Jennifer also want to put in moss and other small plants between the flagstone. Now the consideration here is picking plants that can take a lot of stepping on. Blumes also wants a water feature and Jennifer was a fire pit.

    There is an old retaining wall in one corner that was used to save a tree planted in a corner. Matt decides to save the tree but build a much smaller retaining wall so there backyard is all on one level. We find that Matt is a bit afraid of siders. A bunch are hiding under the decking around the tree. Also the old retaining wall is reinforced concrete and a 'bitch' to remove. Blumes becomes a wild man using a sledge hammer to remove the wall. I think he over did it.

    Again a huge shipment of plants arrive, even I think it is a lot for such a small space. The delivery truck gets struck under a branch of a tree in front of the house and Blumes climbs up the side of the truck into the tree and breaks the branches. Matt is not happy about hurting the tree.

    At long last the project is completed.




    At www.HGTV.com on the Urban Outsiders page they list the resources from where the stone, lighting, fountain and other materials come from. I find this very helpful as a lot of viewers have a hard time finding things they like on the show. I particularly liked the water feature and checked out www.kineticfountains.com and found some really cool basalt fountains that I would love to have on my backyard.
    Last edited by Bearcata; 07-30-2006 at 07:55 PM.
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  5. #65
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    8/2 - comments

    Today we are in Echo Park, which is an older section of LA near downtown. In fact you can see the skyscrapers from the street. It is a very eclectic area with a great mix of people. Steve thompson and Richard Andreoli have don't know what to do with their backyard. They want to use is as an outdoor room to entertain friends but it is small and narrow and all concreate. The floor is teal. The back wall is lime green, on side wall is purple and the other is white. Privacy is an issue since they are on a hill. They would like some of the walls higher so the neighbors are not peeking in. Also the waterheater and washer and dryer are in a little roofed alcove on the back of the house. They don't want to have to look at that when they are entertaining. Also currently the main lighting are stings of Christmas lights.




    They would like a Spannish Mediterrean feel for their garden. Matt draws up a plan and there are concerns. Matt wants to cover the concrete floor with handmade hexagonal tiles. Use cedar battens to make wall screens and to extend the raised flower beds in 2 areas. Both Steve and Richard are concerned that there might be too much tile and it seem very massive, but are willing to go along with Matt's plan. Technically this is the first episode but HGTV did not air it first. The first day of demolition goes well, except that they have a hard time bringing materials from the front of the house to the back. The alley way on bothsides of the house is very narrow and everyone is scraping shoulders as they try to bring materials in. Unfortunately, Matt suffers sun stroke and has to take a couple of days off and both Steve and Richard are worried about being withou their designer. The funny thing is the very nect day it rains all day. The tile guy manages toget all the tile down. To break up all the hand made Mexican tile, although the clay has color variations in it, it is not enough, Matt had chosen a blue glazed tile with a stamped relief on it, that is randomly inserted. By the time Matt is back on the job the tile has been grouted. The new planter beds built and stuccoed. and the cedar batten wall screens put up. It is very impressive. It does seem a bit overpowering with all that terra cotta coloring. Matt did break up the flooring at one end were he had aggragate concrete or gravel put in. It is hard to tell. He plan to put in 3 nonfruit olive trees in 3 terra cotta pots at that end of the garden. There is also a wheeled screen made of the cedar battens for the washer/dryer alcove. The plants are put in and the lighting. Matt put some uplights in the raised planter beds and it looks really great at night. He also used some rusted gazing balls as added decoration by the olive trees. He did mention that while popular here in the US, noone really uses gazing balls in the UK.




    Note the use of juniper in the bed on the upper left and the bougainvellia (sp?) on the upper right of the planter bed. Matt also reused the ice plants that were already in the planter beds and put in the the planter bed and in the terra cotta pots that hold the olive trees.

    Also Matt mentioned that the cedar batten wall cost $3,000.

    All the materials used are mentioned on the www.hgtv.com site.
    Last edited by Bearcata; 08-06-2006 at 02:20 PM.
    No goat killers on my island.

  6. #66
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    8/9 - comments

    Today we are in Venice Beach, California, In Tom Moyer's backyard. He is a sales director and commutes round trip 100 miles a day. Now I have been to LA and the traffic is heavy. During rush hour it does move which is more than I can say for the stop and go style we have here in the Washington DC metro area. The thing is the traffic does move in LA just very slowly, around 1o mph. Tom wants to come home and use his backyard to distress from the work day and the commute and hopefully do a little grilling and entertaining. The problem with Tom's back yard is that although very small, it is an odd shape. sort of a larger triangle in the middle with two smaller triangles on either side. Cause his house is in Venice Beach, his neighbours are quite close and there are major concerns about privacy. Tom is eager to be able to take care of a garden but he is also concerned about ease of care cause he does not want to kill anything. There is a huge hedge of trees that block out a lot of sunlight but they do provide privacy from the neighbours. It is cut down. The guys get to use a chainsaw. Wow, power tools. All the dead plants are removed as well as a bamboo screen covering a chainlink fence. Wants to make one of the smaller triangles a grilling area and in the other smaller area put in a built in seat. He wants to put down flagstone as the main hardscape and of course beds for the plantings and replace the bamboo screening. There is a wonderful scene were Matt attempts to speak spanish and give his workers their directions. Good thing Tom is there to translate. What amazes me, that for such a small space having a landscape plan with well thought out uses for the space always produces such great results. The only regret I have is that no before and after overhead shot is provided to really get a scope of what was achieved.
    Last edited by Bearcata; 08-12-2006 at 03:46 PM.
    No goat killers on my island.

  7. #67
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    august 16, Huntington Beach

    Welcome to soon to be maried Nicole Tran and Peter Chang and their Huntington Beach condo. Ugh!! needs work.


    Nicole wants herbs and scented plants. I'm not sure what Peter wants but he is the worrier of the two. Of course since Matt is in sunny California it has been raining constantly and yes of course they are having trouble putting in the new cedar decking and the flagstone paving. The paving costs about $70 a sq ft but it is a very small area so it really is not that expensive. Matt wants to draw the eye out to the trees and green areas in the condo common areas so the garden will seem larger than it is. Still it is a small space and it has the advantage of no grass so no mowing. I thought the yards in DC were small but they are even smaller in LA. Matt wants to but in some lygustrums that are lollipop smalled but I don't care for the idea. I am a very big fan of low maintenence and no pruning. still the finished product looks great.

    I am having a lot of trouble posting images I am getting thumbnails instead of larger images.
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    Last edited by Bearcata; 08-20-2006 at 12:06 AM.
    No goat killers on my island.

  8. #68
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    East Coast Gardening

    Matt finally left the West Coast and went from LA to the Big Apple and is doing a condo terrace garden. What happened to all the places in between???
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  9. #69
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    New York City Terrace Garden





    Welcome to Fort Greene, Brooklyn and Todd and Liz Hallet's terrace garden, the sumpious grey concrete paving is to die for. Matt hopes to create and extension of their living room so they can double their living space. Matt is a tad concerned about using to many materials but will be using a decking material similiar in color to their living room hardwood floors. Amazingly enough the dog matches the floor color. What I really liked in this design was the repetition of color and line. The color of the decking, the new outside teak dining table and chairs. I liked how the line of the decking drew your eye out to the terrace and then down the long narrown corridor. The resin planters were really cool. Matt really has a gift of finding these really cool products made of new materials that just suit each project he does. That or the show has a really gifted production assistant. I also like how he kept the plant materials simple, grasses, yarrow, coreoposis and the repetition of color, oranges, reds and yellows. The colors of the plants are also picked up in the yellow of the planters, and the red of the decking. A very simple color palette but it works well against the greys of the building color and the red brick of the next building, very subtle but powerful detail.



    Last edited by Bearcata; 08-24-2006 at 07:22 PM.
    No goat killers on my island.

  10. #70
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    8/30/06 - backyard in Brooklyn





    Welcome to Jeff and Jennifer Lederman’s Brooklyn brownhouse backyard. This is the first backyard that I have seen on this series that really comes close to gardens in England that host Matt James usually designs for. I liked the overhead shots of the neighbourhood. You think of New York City as big skyscrapers and lots of concrete and no trees. Brooklyn is an older neighbourhood that has tree lined streets and from over head it is a sea of green with just the house rooftops popping up. Jeff and Jennifer moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan and want to be able to relax and distress from work in their backyard, and to let their daughter, Shira use it to play in. Unfortunately, the fence has fallen down in areas, there are 2 huge 180 yr old honey lucusts (trees) in the yard that even the neighbours want cut down. The backyard is overgrown, the brick path and patio and steps are crumbling and its simply not used.

    Matt wants to create 3 distinct areas in this garden, a play area for Shira, a area to relax in and a area to dine in. He also wants to provide a storage area underneath the staircase for all the pots and bits that are used in a garden. I was surprised that the fence was put in first before the area was cleared out but I guess when you are doing a remodel in a weeks time you make do when the fence installers show up. There was a huge rose bush that they took out because they didn’t want Shira getting caught in it. The garden needs to be child friendly. Matt does keep the 2 huge honey locusts and a smaller tree growing in the back of the yard. The back of the yard is a slightly raised decking area designed to be Shira’s play area. The middle will be a blue slate patio to relax in and the front part will also use the reclaimed slate that came with the house and be the dining area. Matt is thrown for a bit of a loop when homeowner Jeff, also a chef, buys a huge stainless steel grill. Good thing it is on wheels so it can move. Since the trees are staying the garden will be mostly shade plants with pots of fresh herbs for Jeff.

    What is simply amazing about this transformation is the extra room that is adds to this home and the tranquility it adds to the home owners lives.





    Last edited by Bearcata; 09-02-2006 at 08:13 PM.
    No goat killers on my island.

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