HGTV Grows New Yard Makeover Show From Cutting

Chris Lambton, host of HGTV's latest yard makeover show, Dull as Dirt, I mean, Going Yard. I'm sure he's a nice man.

Generically hunky 30-ish host? 


Backyard “transformations” involving firepits, water features, and a big “reveal”?


Homeowners who host a party at the end of the show in their new “space”?

And theeeeere’s the trifecta.

Mmmmm-hmmmmm, I can barely summon the energy even to summarize HGTV’s new “landscaping” show.  But then, I don’t really need to, do I? 

Because HGTV has been making this same show since 1995.

They are REALLY sticking to this format, aren’t they?  So I guess they must figure we must REALLY like it, right? 

Well, somebody out there must like it because HGTV just keeps cranking it out, with only the most minor variations —  like the host’s hair is chestnut brown instead of sable brown, for example.  And it seems this latest host is sporting a Something About Mary style hair-do, so I guess that’s kind of new.

But I have to say, the producers are getting REALLY lazy with the titles. 

Going Yard?

Hang on…..

Oh sorry, I was just trying to imagine the incredible Meeting of the Minds that must have been that production meeting. 

Anyway, I know I’ve posted about Gardening Shows before, but I just want to re-iterate how desperate I am for some quality gardening TV.  Even a minor variation on the theme would be welcome.  How about an overweight host?  A couple who fights about their yard on the air?   How fun! 

Or maybe a twist at the end where the beautiful garden is revealed but then they cut to a closet in the house where there’s a hidden painting of a yard that just keeps getting uglier and more overgrown.   Ooooooh….

Now THAT I’d watch.

(Photo credit: HGTV)

42 thoughts on “HGTV Grows New Yard Makeover Show From Cutting

  1. OMG…yes, they are formulaic, aren’t they? As my partner can tell you, my biggest nightmare is having them come to my house and RUIN my back yard. I can’t imagine who actually thinks that tacky stuff is cool (the fire/water feature is the worst concoction ever).

    BTW…I got the overweight and crabby thing down to a science…when does my show start…you know, the one where I say things like “A hot tub…not on my watch, you can get herpes at a singles club like everyone else.”

      • Sadly, I’m not even contemplating working on a book for the next five years, even if asked. I’m waiting for the fallout of the collapse of Borders to settle, and I’m pretty certain that the situation in publishing is only going to get worse in the next two or three years. (Right now, we’re at the equivalent of the housing bust circa 2008, where everyone was _certain_ that we’d already hit bottom.)

  2. I like all of those ideas…I’d love to see a gardening equivalent of that British cooking show called “Two Fat Ladies” where the two very homely and rather grumpy ladies drive around on that motorcycle and find interesting places to eat fattening food.

  3. I liked it when they imported Matt James from the U.K. Especially the episodes in SoCal where he got pissed with a homeowner who was acting like a jackass and breaking his tree and the other episode where he got heatstroke and couldn’t oversee the rest of the project. And then there would be moments of cultural disconnect as he stared at Latino landscaping crews piping cement like frosting in between flagstones and he would say things like “I’ve never seen anything like this before” aka, “this is not the proper way to do things, like the way we do in the U.K.” All this and we still had the trifecta. Sigh. I guess after one season he realized that gardening media in the U.S. is a load of crap and went back home to England for good. I miss you, Matt James.

    • Susan, I used to watch Matt James, too — on his British show and on the American one, too. I didn’t know he had such unfortunate experiences over here…too bad. I haven’t watched much gardening tV at all recently, but I liked Jamie Durie on Victory Garden. I didn’t like his newer show “The Outdoor Room” quite as much because it had the makeover format, but there were a few things about it I liked. I liked the horticulturist on the show….I think her name was Beth….she was always getting peeved at Jamie for making crazy demands, which I thought was sort of funny and real. I also liked how he’d go on trips to get “inspiration” for the garden he was making, even though he’d clearly taken the trip months before, it added a nice dimension to the show.

  4. I turned HGTV off when they quit offering Gardener’s Diary reruns. Now that was a gardening show. I’d love to have on DVD.

  5. Is it telling that I easily saw your Oscar Wilde literary allusion but I don’t “get” the show’s title – Going Yard? Is it supposed to be vaguely like “Going Rogue” and if so that is a game stopper right there! Maybe some less literal person can explain for me?

    • Far be it from me to explain or defend HGTV in this case, but “going yard” is a term I often hear during baseball games. A player “goes yard” when they hit a home run. I think this is HGTV’s attempt at being witty.

      • Ooooooooh….thank you Chad! I had a feeling I was missing something with the title….all I could think of was it was a weak play on “going rogue” but your explanation makes sense.

        Now, the fact that HGTV would use a baseball term as a title for a gardening show tells me that either a) they don’t understand their target audience or b) their target audience is actually weekend DIY warrior-type men, rather than actual gardeners.

    • Heather, it is telling because clearly people like us read but do not watch baseball. Luckily we have Chad, who is obviously more well-rounded than we are and knows about sports as well as gardening. Thank you Chad!

      • Since Scott’s is a “proud sponsor” of Major League Baseball I wouldn’t be surprised to see a heavy dose of product placement ads in this show.

  6. If they had a show in which the nursery that provided all of the plants was actually suffering from a popweed infestation, and the yard imploded with weeds the following spring, only a few renegade sunflowers surviving…which flower thieves totally lacking a moral compass stole…I’d watch that.

  7. Ah, “A Gardener’s Diary,” where a knowledgable women walked around a garden quietly showing us the details and talking intelligently with the owner.

    Living in Africa and getting 3 BBC channels via So. Africa satellite dish, I had thought that I would be getting lots of juicy British garden shows. However, BBC these days is 87% “Top Gear” (a car show), and the rest is a strange program about competitive dinner parties. They did briefly have an interesting show called “Landscape Man” (not a lot of time spent on that title either), which followed couples over several months as they tried to create overly ambitious gardens and wrecked their mental, physical, and financial health to (mostly) pull it off. The host (the landscape man — actually a landscape architect) would visit them occasionally to express doubts and advice them to scale back. It was pretty fun, but that was several months ago, and now we’re back to cars and cooking.

  8. Gave up trying to watch TV. Except for Netflix and Turner Movie Classics. Much as I’d like it, I discovered watching gardening TV won’t make a 67 year old man turn into a vaguely 30ish, vaguely hunky male specimen, which seems to be a lot of what those shows are about.

  9. I think you are right. HGTV could look to the Food Network for inspiration. They should at least have one show where a pretentious angry landscape architect travels to various gardens and dog cusses the owners for their design choices. Instead of whacking them with a wooden spoon as he ranted, the LA would have to use a trowel so release forms would need to be signed. Or they could use the History Channel (aka The Cracker History Channel) as inspiration and do American Planters where 2 dudes in a van travel around raiding gardens for unusual plants which they then resell to make a buck. – Gail (

  10. The HGTV formula works, otherwise they would not be re hashing it season after season.
    The makeover programs on Cable are actually about transformation.There is a huge audience around the world for “Cinderella” and “Princess and the Frog” stories. These universal narratives touch the soul of millions of viewers.

  11. My only other problem with this sort of show is that it doesn’t even come close to describing my sort of gardening. I spent Monday night getting my greenhouse in order after a big plant show, and the job just confirmed that my sort of gardening show would be a mashup of Doctor Who and The Red Green Show. I was even mumbling “So remember, if the Sontarans don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy” while sweeping up.

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