I did something the other night that I seldom do: I actually sat through an episode of DIY’s “Sweat Equity.” In this episode, two suckers…er, I mean, a lovely couple, wanted to turn the barren back yard of their cookie cutter McMansion into their fantasy – what the host called a “backyard oasis.” I knew I was in for some good laughs, so I settled in to watch the action.
Since the name of this show is “Sweat Equity,” the lovely couple had to haul the rocks, sink the fence posts and plant the plants. After my previous rants about landscape fabric and over-mulching, I was not surprised to see an overabundance of both. That’s probably why so many people make these mistakes: they believe everything the home improvement shows tell them. And guess who was one of the sponsors of this episode? Why a maker of landscape cloth, naturally.
As the host went on about sustainable plant selection, I was looking at pink chrysanthemums! Then there was the obligatory immense and complicated “water feature” with fountains gushing and water flowing with reckless abandon. In the pond were “mature” koi, which, the host informed us, cost $150 EACH!!!
The final cost of this project was about $22,000 – a bargain, we were assured, because the lovely couple had done so much of the grunt work themselves. And the final result? One of the ugliest backyards I have ever seen – more like a miniature golf course than a landscape. The only things missing were good taste – and a pirate.