Just when you can’t even see your yard through all the snow, the lovely Chris Lambton, host of “Yard Crashers” on the DIY Network, is coming to town to put visions of green grass and blooming beauties into our heads.
He’ll be speaking, along with his colleague Jeff Devlin of “I Hate My Bath,” at the Capital Remodel + Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center THIS WEEKEND.
He was kind enough to answer several questions in advance of his trip.
You build a lot of elaborate structures on “Yard Crashers,” from a Mediterranean Patio to a party pavilion and outdoor movie lounge. Is that realistic for a typical small yard with a typical ranch style or colonial brick house?
On “Yard Crashers,” we build a lot of elaborate backyards, but in each design there are elements that you can take and use in any yard. If you have a small yard or a house of a particular style, you can still take away elements that you like and make it your own. Just make sure to plan for your space in advance to ensure you aren’t purchasing trees or plants that won’t fit or grow in your area.
When I crash a yard, we plan for weeks how to incorporate design pieces the homeowner wants into the yard while still making the styles fit the feel of the house and area where they live. If you do your homework, you can fit in anything from a movie theatre to a fully stocked bar!
Do you have a favorite annual and perennial that lends a great wow factor to a home’s landscaping?
Picking my favorite plants is a tough thing to do, but I’ll give it a shot. Since I’m a Cape Codder, I have to say I love blue hydrangeas and ornamental grasses.
I also love lavender, iris and impatiens. Those are the plants that you will find in abundance in my own yard because I love the colors, textures and scents they provide.
How do you choose the right kind of grass for your yard?
Research is key. First, find out what zone you live in by asking a local nursery or searching online. This will tell you what types of grass grow best in your area. It’s also helpful to know how the yard will be used. If you have kids or dogs or both, you want grass that can hold up to high traffic usage. You also can decide wether you want a grass that is drought tolerant or goes dormant in hot weather, thus saving water. It’s also important to pay attention to the sunny and shady parts of the yard, and plan your watering accordingly.
What is your favorite kind of hardscaping?
My favorite type of hardscaping is natural stone. I love the look and feel of real stone.
I’m putting in an irregular blue stone patio in my back yard. These stones are great and will last the life of your house without having to worry about replacing.
In terms of a homeowner’s design budget and the priorities on that list, where does landscaping fall?
Landscaping usually falls near the bottom of the list. I don’t know why, but the yard is always the last to get designed and taken care of. When building a home, the budget for landscaping is usually around 10 percent of the purchase price. My wife and I are in the process of building a home, and you can bet that the landscape design is a high priority on my list!
Describe the importance of curb appeal.
When pulling into a home, the first thing you see is the landscaping. Curb appeal is so important! Whether you are buying or selling a home, or just showing it off to friends and family, you want to make a good first impression, and the front yard is where that is done.
What are the most common misperceptions that homeowners might have about how their yard should look, or the plantings they might choose for that yard?
I’ve noticed that the majority of homeowners just don’t know where to begin. The most common mistake they make is to over plant, because they want instant gratification. When planting, always research what you’re planting, whether it needs full sun, part sun or shade, and how big the plant will get.
I have received plenty of business in taking out plants that have overgrown their original planting spot. This is especially important when planting items near your house. Remember that trees not only grow large above ground but the roots extend just as far below ground as well, which can impact foundations and driveways.
Thanks to Chris for all his insights—we need them to help us dream about our gardens at this time of year. He’ll be talking about these topics and more tomorrow (Friday) at 2 pm and 6pm and Saturday at 12 Noon and 4 pm. See more programming information here.